Barcelona vs. Real Madrid: What a Victory Would Mean for Each Side
There aren't many matchups in world football that live up to the excitement of El Clasico, as Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid face off for league points and bragging rights on Saturday.
Any El Clasico match is full of talent and skill, but this year is exceptionally so as both clubs are on the brink of new eras.
Barcelona are in the introductory stages of a Neymar-featured lineup, while Madrid are still looking to incorporate Welsh sensation Gareth Bale into the fold and leaning on Cristiano Ronaldo to carry them to glory.
Let's break down how much a win would matter for each club moving forward.
Playing in front of their Camp Nou fans in a league they own, anything other than a victory and three points—even against one of the world's top clubs—will be considered a disappointment.
This is only amplified by the notion that Madrid are only three points down after La Blaugrana notched a draw against Osasuna over the past weekend. They also drew a road test against AC Milan on Tuesday in the Champions League.
Which side needs a win more?
Drawing two straight matches is a rarity in Barcelona, to say the least. And with Madrid coming to town, you can bet they'll be even more motivated than they normally would be after a relatively poor stretch of performances.
Coming out on top over Real Madrid would be a huge result, not only for the league standings but for the squad moving forward. La Liga is noticeably tight up top early on, with Atletico Madrid just one point back and Real surging after a slow start.
But if Neymar can make an impact on his first of many, many El Clasicos and succeed against a Madrid defense that features his Brazilian teammate Marcelo, it'll be a very promising sign moving forward.
With Bale still taking his time to get over injury completely and turn into the menace he was while in England, Real Madrid have turned things around after struggling early on.
Beating Barcelona on the road would be the cap to what has been a resurgent couple of weeks in Madrid.
After dropping the league opener and getting bludgeoned by Atletico a few weeks back, they've rattled off two straight wins in La Liga and sit just three points back.
Obviously, coming out with three points would tie Carlo Ancelotti's squad with the defending champions and only amplify the race for the trophy even further.
But as any El Clasico match goes, what it says about the future matchups is just as crucial as the implications from that result alone.
Will Bale come on and have success against one of the world's best foes? Can Ronaldo put the team on his back, even in the toughest of matchups? Will the Madrid defense fold against an elite offense—something they don't typically play?
The answers to these questions are much more important than the actual result of Saturday's match. Then again, many of them go hand-in-hand with a Madrid victory.
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