Real Madrid vs. Barcelona: Preview, Live Stream, Start Time and Schedule

Nicholas GossCorrespondent IDecember 8, 2011

BARCELONA, SPAIN - AUGUST 17:  Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid squares up to Andres Iniesta of Barcelona during the second goal during the Super Cup second leg match between Barcelona and Real Madrid at Nou Camp on August 17, 2011 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Barcelona and Real Madrid will battle at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday in a match that has the potential to decide the La Liga title before the new year.

Barcelona has won the last four El Clasico matches, and those wins were vitally important to their league titles the past two seasons.

There are so many reasons to watch this match. First of all, both teams play exciting, attacking football. There will be goals and plenty of them in this match. These are also the two best teams in the world, no doubt about it.

The two best players in the world will also go head-to-head. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will write a new chapter in their rivalry.

The managers also have some bad blood. Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho are two fantastic leaders, and both have had their past differences. Mourinho was even seen going after Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova at the Nou Camp last season and appeared to gouge his eye.

Madrid has a three-point lead in the league table right now with a game in hand, and a win at home versus their archrival would really make it tough for Barcelona to win a third consecutive Spanish league title.

Even if you don't follow football that much, you must watch this game. There is no more exciting matchup in world football than Barcelona and Real Madrid. We are in for a real treat this weekend. 

Let's look at everything you need to know about this epic clash of world football powers.


Where: Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain

Watch: GolTV USA, Sky Sports HD1

Live Stream: ESPN3

When: Saturday, Dec. 10 at 4:00 p.m. EST


Player to watch for Barcelona: Lionel Messi

Is there anyone else to watch for Barcelona in this match? Lionel Messi will look to prove he is better than Ronaldo by dominating at the Bernabeu and helping his club to a huge win. 

Messi is tied with Ronaldo for the league lead in goals scored with 17, and for Barcelona to win on Saturday, Messi has to shine. 

Not only does Messi do a fabulous job of creating his own scoring opportunities, his tremendous passing skills make David Villa and Pedro's jobs on attack much easier.

Messi shines in big games, and for Barcelona, it will not get any bigger than Saturday's match in Madrid. A loss could prevent the Catalan giants from winning the league.


Player to watch Real Madrid: Angel Di Maria

The exciting Argentinian winger really adds an attacking presence to the Madrid starting XI, and he should get the start versus Barcelona.

When injuries have not bothered him, Di Maria has created exceptional scoring opportunities for his teammates, and he leads La Liga in assists leading up to the match.

Di Maria is also capable of scoring some fantastic goals himself, and his dribbling and quickness could cause real problems for the Barca defense.


Key Matchup: Battle of the Midfield

Whoever wins the battle in the midfield will win this game. Barcelona will have the upper hand in possession, so Madrid midfielders Xabi Alonso and Sami Khedira must make sure they stop Xavi and Cesc Fabregas' supply to the Barca forwards.

Alonso has arguably been Madrid's best player this season, and his ability to pass the ball and defend superbly has been a real asset to Mourinho's side.

If Madrid can own the middle third of the pitch, they will set themselves up well for a victory.


What They're Saying

Barcelona legend Johan Cryuff has stressed that Saturday's battle with Real Madrid is not a La Liga title decider, and said the following to AS via Soccernet.

"The favourite to win? I can only say that Barcelona always play to win against Madrid," Cruyff told AS. "We'll see on Saturday who comes out victorious.

"The Clasico won't be decisive. There are so many games left. Nothing that happens on Saturday will be decisive in the title race.

"It's only a game and nothing more than that. A win for Madrid wouldn't all of a sudden mean that they are now the dominant team."


Prediction: Real Madrid win 3-2

Real Madrid have been in excellent form this season, and are a determined side out to prove they have risen to Barcelona's level.

With injuries to Gerard Pique and Carles Puyol this season, the Barca defense has not been the rock-solid group it has been in the past.

Madrid have so much attacking talent, and the stage for Ronaldo to shine against Messi will surely motivate him. French striker Karim Benzema is enjoying his best season as a Madrid player this campaign, and is another attacking threat Barca must be worried about..

Alonso and Khedira are capable of limiting Xavi's effectiveness in the midfield, and if Madrid score first, their confidence will be boosted heavily.

At the Bernabeu on Saturday, Madrid will take all three points and take a huge step forward in winning the league crown.