The game between Real Madrid and Barcelona is always a magnificent spectacle, but the ongoing protests from the Catalans and tension between the cities could give this clash an even bigger edge tonight.
Real Madrid have announced their starting XI and there are some interesting takeaways from it. Eden Hazard was injured so Gareth Bale has been drafted in, but there are some other interesting choices too:
— Real Madrid C.F. ???? (@realmadriden) December 18, 2019
We’ve all seen the boos and whistles being directed at Gareth Bale after the controversial flag he waved after playing for Wales, but this is the ultimate chance at redemption for him.
We know that Real Madrid fans are fickle, so scoring a decisive goal in the biggest game of the year in Barcelona would go a long way to regaining that trust with the fans.
READ MORE: Barcelona XI vs Real Madrid confirmed: A strong side but these fans react as stalwart gets dropped again
The main talking point for these fans on Twitter comes after Luka Modric only managed to make the Real bench:
Modric on the bench? Doesn’t make sense ?
— Tahsin Sagar (@TahsinSagar) December 18, 2019
Isco over Modric?
— David ?? (@davidr51892) December 18, 2019
I love Fede but Modric needs to start..
— Anthony (@adarynv) December 18, 2019
Valverde has become a big deal of late
— Kaliisa?? II (@kaliisa_5) December 18, 2019
Bale starts ?
— Christian Black?? (@crispus_mundua) December 18, 2019
Modric on the bench?!
— Jeroen. ?? (@rozijn040) December 18, 2019
imo Modric and Valverde is a better pairing in the Midfield.
— Matt Pascoe (@Mpascoe17) December 18, 2019
It’s a big call from Zidane to leave Modric out and it probably gives you an idea over what type of game he expects this to be. The pairing of Casemiro and Valverde looks suited to sitting behind the ball and trying to win it back, so this could be a game where Barca dominate.
It also shows some faith in the youngster Valverde, which can only be good news for the other young players who are around the team or out on loan. It’s rare to see Real show faith to a young player and play them in the biggest games, so this should act as an inspiration.
Time will tell if he’s got his selection right, but this could be huge if Gareth Bale can have another big moment against Barca.