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Oct 24, 2020 at 3pm UK
Real MadridReal Madrid
Fati (8')
Lenglet (29'), Alba (62'), Messi (90+1')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Valverde (5'), Ramos (63' pen.), Modric (90')
Casemiro (19'), Nacho (37')

Combined XI: Barcelona vs. Real Madrid

:Headline: Combined XI: Barcelona vs. Real Madrid:
Ahead of Saturday's La Liga clash between Barcelona and Real Madrid, Sports Mole picks a combined XI from both squads.
Sports Mole

One of the most eagerly anticipated fixtures on the football calendar will take place at Camp Nou on Saturday afternoon as Barcelona welcome Real Madrid in La Liga.

Both teams will be looking to bounce back from league defeats last weekend, with Barca suffering a 1-0 loss at Getafe while Madrid were beaten 1-0 by Cadiz on home soil.

Barca are currently ninth in the table with seven points to show from their four matches, while Madrid sit third in the table 10 points but have played one more game than Ronald Koeman's side.

Saturday's clash will be the 182nd La Liga meeting between the two teams, and Madrid lead the head-to-head 73 wins to Barca's 72, with the remaining 36 games finishing all square.

Some of La Liga's biggest talents will be on display here and with that in mind, Sports Mole picks a combined XI from both squads, using only players available for the game.

The fact that Marc-Andre ter Stegen is absent for this match through injury means that it is relatively straightforward to select the goalkeeping spot in the team. Neto will start between the sticks for Barca on Saturday, but the spot in this side goes to Madrid's Thibaut Courtois, who was in impressive form last term and has already kept three clean sheets in five La Liga outings at the start of the 2020-21 campaign.

Dani Carvajal would have been handed the right-back spot in this XI had he been available, but the Spaniard is currently out with a knee problem, while Alvaro Odriozola's troublesome calf issue is likely to see Nacho start on the right side of the Madrid defence this weekend. Barca's Sergi Roberto therefore gets the nod in this XI, while Madrid's Ferland Mendy is selected on the left as Jordi Alba is still a doubt for El Clasico with a hamstring problem despite training alongside his teammates on Thursday.

Sergio Ramos should overcome a slight knee issue to start on Saturday, meanwhile, and the Madrid captain absolutely sails into this XI due to his overall contribution and leadership qualities. Ramos is joined at the heart of the defence by teammate Raphael Varane, with the Frenchman edging out Barca duo Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet to feature.

Further forward, a two-man midfield includes Barca's Frenkie de Jong and Madrid's Toni Kroos. De Jong has been in impressive form for Koeman's side early in the campaign and his mobility would be needed alongside Kroos, who edges out Madrid teammates Casemiro and Luka Modric to start after recently overcoming a muscular issue. It would be fair to say that Los Blancos are in need of fresh blood in the middle of the park next summer, but Kroos's quality cannot be questioned.

Eden Hazard's ongoing absence through injury means that Ansu Fati gets the nod on the left, with the Spain international starting the season in excellent fashion. Just 17, Fati has scored four times and registered two assists in five appearances and looks set to have a brilliant career at Camp Nou.

Philippe Coutinho is also included, with the Brazil international impressing in the early stages of the season after being drafted back into the set-up under Koeman. The attacker has contributed two goals and two assists in five appearances for Barca this term and is expected to play as the number 10 in El Clasico.

Lionel Messi then takes the position on the right. The 33-year-old has actually only scored once in four La Liga appearances this season, and it would be fair to say that the Argentine is yet to show his best form in 2020-21. It might be the attacker's final season at Camp Nou, though, and he will be determined to star against Madrid.

The final position in the XI, meanwhile, goes to Karim Benzema. The 32-year-old has not been at his best in the early stages of the campaign, managing just one goal in six appearances in all competitions, but the Frenchman was so important to the team's success last term, scoring 27 times in all competitions. Luis Suarez's departure and Griezmann's struggles means that it is not difficult to select Benzema here. body check tags ::

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