Real Madrid are set to take on FC Barcelona on Wednesday night at the Camp Nou, and there’s already drama brewing in the Barca dressing room.
Both FC Barcelona and Real Madrid have been first and second, respectively, in the league table over the past month, so El Clasico is the opportunity for one of these two historic rivals to make a statement at the top of the table.
Whenever La Blaugrana have dropped points, Los Blancos have likewise done so, including last week when Barca tied Real Sociedad and Madrid drew with Valencia at the Mestalla. So as it stands heading into Wednesday’s match at the Camp Nou, Barca and Real are tied on points with La Blaugrana in first by two goals in the goal differential column.
Real Madrid are the ones reeling with injuries, as star men Eden Hazard and Marcelo are out. James Rodriguez is also unavailable due to an injury from the November international break, while Gareth Bale may have to start at less than 100 percent due to a previous hamstring injury.
However, Barcelona are the ones dealing with some gameday drama in their dressing room. Per sources close to ESPN FC, Barca center midfielder Arturo Vidal “stormed out” of training after learning he would not be in the starting XI against Madrid for El Clasico.
ESPN reports that Vidal’s teammates tried to help him find calm, but Vidal would not calm down.
As it stands right now, Barcelona are expected to start familiar foe Sergio Busquets, fellow veteran Ivan Rakitic, and young star Frenkie de Jong in midfield against Los Merengues. That’s a solid trio, but the Vidal drama is an example of how on edge the Barca dressing room seems under Ernesto Valverde’s weak leadership.
This match will be bigger for Valverde than for Zinedine Zidane, who already runs a tight ship bound by respect. Zidane has won three Champions League titles with Real Madrid in the past, while Valverde is still trying to amend for last season’s blown second leg at Anfield.