When you heard of El Classico, what often comes to your mind? Your guess is as good as mine. It’s a fixture between two Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid.
This isn’t just an ordinary game, it’s a fixture accompanied by career-threatening tackles, great skills, long-time rivalries, goals and many other intriguing factors.
The first El Classico of the season was played in October last year when Barcelona thrashed the Los Blancos by a surprising 5-1 scoreline in the Spanish league.
However, Santiago Solari’s side will be hoping to redeem themselves when they tackle the Camp Nou outfits later tonight (Wednesday) in the Copa del Rey semi-final first leg.
Ernesto Valverde is unsure of Lionel Messi’s fitness level ahead of the encounter. The 31-year-old forward picked up a slight injury in their 2-2 draw against Valencia on Sunday and he remains a doubt for tonight’s encounter.
The Argentine was also injured in Barcelona’s 5-1 triumph against their arch rivals in October, he might face the same fate later today as we patiently wait to know if he would pass a late fitness test or not.
As for Real Madrid, the Spanish Capital will rely solely on in-form Frenchman Kareem Benzema for goals and inspiration.
After Ronaldo’s departure, the team failed to score many goals as expected until recently when the 31-year-old striker regularly finds the back of the net.
In 27 appearances, Benzema has scored 13 goals and provided three assists, making him one of the players to watch out for in tonight’s encounter.
What are bookmakers saying?
Many bookmakers are carefully making some serious predictions ahead of the game and most of them are tipping the Catalan giants to emerge victorious due to their current form.
However, here is a run-down of some betting tips making headlines ahead of the crunch and much-anticipated fixture.
According to the betting site, Messi is likely to score the first goal of the game as he’s placed at 31/10 (4.10).
The same bookmakers equally tipped Luiz Suarez to score the first goal as he is priced at 26/25 (2.04). Philippe Coutinho is also tipped to be in the goalscorer’s market with just 11/5 (3.20) .
888Sport’s latest odd on ‘players to score anytime’
They priced Lionel Messi at 5/6 (1.83) to score at any time.
Kareem Benzema is tipped to also score at any time of the game with an odd of 11/5 (3.20), while, Madrid captain Sergio Ramos is priced at 21/4 (6.25) to also score.