Barcelona have won the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup, but Real Madrid will be confident they can recover after losing their first game without Cristiano Ronaldo. This weekend’s clash is billed as ‘no fear’ for Barcelona ahead of it being El Clasico.
Barcelona will be playing their next match against Real Madrid at the Camp Nou, and it is expected to be a close contest.
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When Barcelona hosts Real Madrid in the first Clasico of the season on Sunday at Camp Nou (live on ESPN+ at 10.15 a.m.), manager Ronald Koeman claimed his team would play without fear.
Prior to the international break in October, Koeman was on the verge of being fired after a six-game losing streak. However, president Joan Laporta opted to grant him a stay of execution.
– El Clasico on ESPN+: How to Watch – Watch Barcelona vs. Real Madrid on ESPN+ at 10.15 a.m. ET on Oct. 24. (Only available in the United States)
Back-to-back victories against Valencia and Dynamo Kiev this week have taken some of the burden off Koeman, and a victory over Madrid would see them overtake Carlo Ancelotti’s side in the league.
The possibly greatest rivalry in world soccer, FC Barcelona vs. Real Madrid, returns on Sunday, Oct. 24, at 10:15 a.m. ET. Sign up for ESPN+ today to watch ElClásico.
“We’ve won two games in a row, and the feelings are excellent,” Koeman remarked during a Saturday press conference. “The Clasico is one of the most significant games of the season, and it gives us the opportunity to demonstrate that we are on the right track.” The outcome is significant, but it will not be decisive since there is still more work to be done.
“We need to be fearless when we play. We have faith in our abilities. We know what we’re capable of, and we want to demonstrate it. We’re at home, we’ll have our supporters cheering us on, and I’m not worried about the game.”
Barcelona has 15 points from eight games in LaLiga this season, two less than Real Madrid, who lost their last league game against Espanyol.
Koeman has already said that his Barcelona club, which is in transition after the summer departures of Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann, is not good enough to contend for championships this season, but he has also stated that there is no rivalry between his team and Real Madrid.
“The only difference between the two squads is that they have greater experience in certain areas,” the Dutch coach stated. “We do, however, have prior experience. They, too, have young people like us, so it’s a similar situation. I don’t think there’s a clear favorite in this game.”
It will be Barcelona’s first Clasico after the departure of Lionel Messi, with all eyes on youngster Ansu Fati, who has taken over the Argentina captain’s No.10 jersey, and his duel with Vinicius Junior of Real Madrid.
Ansu, who signed a new contract until 2027 this week, has scored twice in two games after returning from a 10-month layoff, but Koeman believes it’s too soon to have too much faith in the 18-year-old.
He remarked, “They [Ansu and Vinicius] are two young players who still have a lot to show.” “They’re on the right track, but I can only speak about Ansu, my player.”
“We must allow him time to properly heal from his injury and restore the match fitness that all players need, as I said in midweek. It’s impossible to believe that the Clasico is only about Ansu. He is a member of a group, which is usually the most significant factor.”
Pedri, Ronald Araujo, Ousmane Dembele, and Martin Braithwaite are all out due to injury for Koeman, who stated he appreciated Laporta’s support but understands his future “depends on outcomes.”
After injuring his foot in midweek, left-back Jordi Alba has joined the team, and Koeman hinted that he might start the encounter after “training regularly” on Saturday.
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