The ‘El-Clasico’ of the 2018-19 could be the catalyst of a new era- one without Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo – two of the most decorated footballers in the history of the game. Winning five Ballon’Dor’s each between them, they are the only footballers to achieve the incredible feat. For ages, lines of expectations were drawn, and surpassed, time and again. However, the time without the presence of either of the superstars in the game can be sensed.
For the first time in over a decade, one of the most anticipated rivalries in the world of football will not feature their all-time top scorers, Cristiano Ronaldo having departed to Juventus to ply his trade in the Italian league, whereas Messi sidelined with a fractured arm.
Both the footballers were the most prominent figures in the match, perhaps in the history of the fixture. Messi holds the record of the all-time top scorer with a staggering 26 goals across 38 match in all competitions, while Ronaldo is the second-highest scorer in the fixture with 18 goals alongside a fellow Real Madrid legend, Alfredo di Stefano.
In the previous 30 matches between the rival clubs featuring both Ronaldo and Messi, there have been a total of 101 goals scored out which approximately 50% were contributed by the duo.
It is difficult to imagine, how the match will go down in their absence, but what is certain is that the magnitude of the fixture has certainly deteriorated in terms of expectations and anticipation.
Why? Because Surprisingly, both the giants have not got off to a great start this campaign- Barcelona have lost one and drawn in three games, whereas, Julen Lopetegui led Real Madrid has suffered the major share of the misery after going through three successive defeats and drawing twice against relatively smaller clubs.
The Galacticos are currently placed in the seventh position with just 14 points, meanwhile Catalan side, Barcelona lead with 18 points- a win for Real Madrid will reduce the gap by just one point and in that sense this would be a massive and a potential turning-point match of the season for both teams because a win for Ernesto Valverde ‘s side will extend their lead by a huge difference of seven points.
The El Classico existed and was as big as before Messi and Ronaldo as it was after their arrival, let’s hope this match comes to be no different in that sense.
Real Madrid (DLLLW)
Barcelona 2- Real Madrid 1
Let us know your predictions in the comments section, as we build up for this thrilling encounter.