El Clasico 2013: Biggest Keys for Barcelona and Real Madrid in Epic Rivalry
Any time Barcelona and Real Madrid grace the same pitch, we're bound to catch some of the most exciting world football as the two Spanish giants face off in El Clasico.
Enjoying the lead in La Liga, Barcelona are looking to oust their bitter rivals at home to extend their lead further.
Coming off a 1-1 draw to AC Milan in the Champions League on Tuesday, Lionel Messi and company will be trying to get back to their winning ways.
Meanwhile, Madrid will be motivated by the prospect of tying up La Blaugrana in the standings with three points and the victory.
Let's take a look at what the match will come down to.
Barcelona: Get the New Guy Rolling
New Barcelona addition Neymar is off to an incredible start to his Spanish club career, but he'll be judged the harshest over the years by how well he plays in El Clasico.
He gets his first shot at doing so on Saturday at home, and he's already begun talking to Brazil teammate and counterpart, Real Madrid's Marcelo, per Sky Sports via Fox.
"Yes, Marcelo and I have talked a little bit about the Clasico," Neymar said.
"We have a fantastic relationship, he is a good friend, but I told him that Barcelona are going to win."
Neymar also wasted no time breaking down the significance of the rivalry.
The Clasico is the most important game for any player and is the match every player wants to play in. It is the game where each player wants to play his best football.
This will be my first Clasico and I hope to have a great debut, preferably with a victory.
The Brazilian hasn't been a goal-scoring machine in La Liga, frankly because the scheme isn't calling for it. He has just two goals in La Liga but has added five assists, which is good for second on the team.
With 20 shots thus far in the league slate, there's no doubt that Neymar is getting the looks, and converting some against arguably the best competition in the world would be a huge stepping stone for the budding star.
Just as well: Madrid will have an eye on shutting down Messi and keeping the typically dynamic attack of Andres Iniesta and Xavi quiet in the passing game. That will only allow Neymar to roam even more freely.
Real Madrid: Channel Recent Camp Nou Success
Home advantage proves to be a huge benefit in soccer arguably more than any other sport, but don't tell that to Real Madrid.
In their last five matches at Camp Nou, Los Blancos have pulled out two wins and two draws.
After a slow start to the Carlo Ancelotti era, Madrid have pulled within three points of Barcelona in La Liga and are off to a perfect start in the Champions League. It has Alvaro Arbeloa and his squad confident, per the club's website.
The match against Barcelona comes at a good time for us. We are improving and gaining confidence. We know it will be a very difficult match. I am sure that Barcelona will be at their best, but in recent matches in the Camp Nou we have got good results and put in some great performances.
Cristiano Ronaldo proves to be the odds-on bet to have the biggest game for Real, but highly touted summer signing Gareth Bale hasn't come on quite as quickly as Barcelona's Neymar.
What's the outcome?
Ancelotti has been quiet on the Welsh attacker but iterated he's ready to start matches and his dud of a performance against Juventus was just the result of him coming on late, per Telegraph Sport.
"Bale came on when the game lacked intensity and that didn't help him to play better. His physical condition is better and he is now ready to start a game," Ancelotti said.
This match should come down to much more than Bale, as Madrid will likely go to what's been working best in the starting lineup and that hasn't included him as of late.
As long as Ronaldo is rolling, Ancelotti won't do anything to get in the way of that as it's the only chance they have to beat Barcelona on Saturday.
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