Real Madrid vs. Barcelona: 5 players who must shine on Saturday

Real Madrid, Casemiro (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Casemiro (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Karim Benzema
Real Madrid, Karim Benzema (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images) /

Real Madrid CF Karim Benzema

A world-class striker who has no peer in La Liga on his day, Karim Benzema has been Real Madrid’s greatest individual performance to this point in the season. By this point last year, Benzema was turning in stellar performance after stellar performance. Thus far in 2020-2021, Benzema has one late goal against Levante and a whole lot of misses.

But Benzema is the kind of player who turns it around when he’s in the spotlight, too. He scored an all-important goal against Atletico Madrid earlier this year in a Derbi matchup, and he’s played a key role in many Clasico triumphs of the past.

Benzema must bring his finishing boots to this game. The onus is clearly on him to produce, because Zinedine Zidane won’t be counting on Luka Jovic, who has been a bit inconsistent, in these major matchups.

Against Barcelona, Benzema’s dribbling ability, work rate, and creativity tend to make the difference, too. So even if he doesn’t score a decisive goal, he could be the reason for that goal’s creation. You can always see how the other attackers lean on Benzema’s presence. He is the unquestioned leader of the front line, much like Sergio Ramos leads the back.