Goal Gazette

Watch: Jude Bellingham Scores Stunner From 40 Yards Vs Barcelona

Huge whistles from the home fans as Vinícius fails to keep the ball in play down the Madrid left. Ter Stegen; Araújo, Christensen, Martínez, Balde; Fermín, Gündogan, Gavi; Cancelo, Torres, Félix.

I’ve made a little amendment to what I said earlier, as I have it on good authority that Cancelo will be playing on the right of a front three, with Gavi in midfield. In a same vein, Barcelona has never tied a Clásico while Xavi was manager, albeit extra time was required in the 2021–22 Super Cup semifinal in Riyadh.

In his first Clásico in the dugout, the former club captain won 4-0 at the Bernabéu, but in his last two games, he lost 4-0 at Camp Nou. The former captain has won four and lost three of his seven meetings with Real Madrid.

As we’ve shown, there’s usually not much between Real Madrid and Barcelona, and Carlo Ancelotti’s record as manager of the two teams reflects this. Today marks the 14th Clásico for the Italian, with the previous 13 yielding six victories and seven losses.

What’s going on here, then? In case you’re wondering, it won’t be a coincidence when you spot the Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger and Ronnie Wood in the stands at Montjuïc and the band’s iconic sticky-out tongue logo on Barcelona’s jerseys.

A few years ago, we were speculating that Barcelona would be headed for a collapse akin to that of Manchester United, with several on-field problems (recall those two Champions League group stage defeats) and significant financial problems that ultimately led to Lionel Messi’s departure.

Though it was always going to be a tough ask, Xavi deserves credit for turning the club around rather fast in spite of criticism that they are not as entertaining to watch as they once were.

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