Clásico number 246 will be only the second ever to be played behind closed doors. In number 244, Real Madrid restored the balance and in game number 245 they took advantage again. Madrid have 97 victories and 408 goals to Barça’s 96 wins and 400 goals, as well as 52 draws. Out of the 90 Clásicos to be played with Madrid as hosts, Los Blancos have recorded 53 home wins, with 15 draws and 22 away wins.
Di Stéfano makes its Clásico debut
The Alfredo Di Stéfano will be the twelfth stadium in which an official Clásico has been played. Among the other 11 include the Santiago Bernabéu (98 matches), Camp Nou (87) and Atlético Madrid’s old Vicente Calderón stadium (one).
Real Madrid and Barcelona have not faced each other so late in a LaLiga season (matchday 30 or later), since April 25, 2004 (matchday 34). Valencia went on to win the league that year with that particular Clásico ending in a 2-1 to Barça victory with goals coming from Solari, Kluivert and Xavi.
Barcelona have never won LaLiga after losing both league games against Real Madrid, while Los Blancos did win it on one occasion (1975-76 season) having lost twice to the Catalan club. Barça have been champions twice after losing the Clásico at home (1928-29 and 2015-16), something that Madrid has already achieved three times (1975-76, 2011-12 and 2016-17).
Barcelona’s rich vein of form
Barcelona have picked up a hugely impressive 51 points out of a possible 57 in the last 19 matchdays – only drawing three times along the way – against Valencia, Eibar and Cádiz. Koeman’s team have nine straight away victories in LaLiga (it’s the fifth best streak of all time) and are just four short of equaling the record for the Spanish league, set by Real Madrid between February and October 2017.
Lionel Messi Clásico run
Messi has not scored a single goal or given a single assist in the six Clásicos he has played since Cristiano Ronaldo left Real Madrid. The Argentine he has had thirteen shots, seven on goal and off target. In the six Clásicos prior to the Portuguese forward’s departure, Messi scored five goals and provided one assist. Messi has scored or assisted in 14 of the last 15 LaLiga games he has played (18 goals and eight assists in those 15 games).
Sergio Ramos misses out
Madrid club captain Ramos has played the last 22 Clásicos. Ramos has not lost a game against Barcelona since January 30, 2013 (in the Copa del Rey). Messi will take advantage of his absence today to equal him as the player with the most games played in the history of El Clásico – with 45 appearances in the fixture should Messi play as expected.
Referee Gil Manzano
Jesús Gil Manzano will referee his second Clásico after taking charge of Madrid-Barça on October 25, 2014 (3-1), in which he showed six cards (two to the home side and four to the visitors) and in which he gave a penalty for Piqué’s handball that Cristiano Ronaldo slotted home. Madrid have added 27 victories, three draws and four defeats with the Extremaduran referee, while Barça have collected 16 victories, six draws and five defeats under his watch.
Of the 108 refereeing decisions that have been corrected by VAR so far in LaLiga 2020-21 – eight have involved Barcelona – three in favour and five against. Eleven decisions have affected Real Madrid, four for Los Blancos and seven against. However, in terms of points, both teams would have the same points as they do now if VAR had not been used in LaLiga this season. One of the VAR corrections that affected both teams occurred in the first Clásico of the season, Lenglet’s penalty against Ramos, which the Real Madrid captain converted. Since then, 93 penalties have been awarded in LaLiga and none of them have been in favour of Madrid, but seven have come against them.