Speaking to Movistar+, Barcelona summer arrival Raphinha has told Real Madrid that they are the team who need to be careful heading into this weekend’s El Clasico.
Real Madrid host Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday. Carlo Ancelotti’s men are currently trailing their bitter rivals in the La Liga table, level on points but behind on goal difference.
So, apart from the usual pressure that comes with El Clasico, there will also be the added pressure of the top spot in La Liga being on the line.
However, Raphinha reckons that it is Real Madrid who need to be worried heading into the game as Barcelona are at the top of the standings.
“We are the leaders. If there’s a team that needs to be careful, it’s them,” Raphinha said.
While they are yet to lose a single game in La Liga this season, neither team is in the best moment heading into Sunday’s blockbuster clash, with both Real Madrid and Barcelona somewhat losing their momentum after the international break.
Los Blancos go into the contest on the back of a 1-1 draw against Shakhtar Donetsk that helped them qualify for the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League.
Meanwhile, Barcelona played out a 3-3 draw against Inter Milan on Wednesday that left them on the cusp of another group-stage exit from Europe’s premier competition.
Despite the result in midweek, there will be some confidence in the Catalan camp, considering that they had thrashed Los Blancos 4-0 on their last visit to the Spanish capital in March earlier this year.
Needless to say, there will be intense pressure on both teams come Sunday and the atmosphere at the Bernabeu will be like a cauldron. Whoever clinches a win could get an early headway in the title race.
Official: Real Madrid starting lineup against Napoli | UCL GW 5
Real Madrid are back in the Champions League following their impressive win against Cadiz on the weekend as they host Napoli at the Santiago Bernabeu for gameweek five.
They have already secured qualification to the round of 16, and even a point today would secure first place in the group.
With several players still injured, Carlo Ancelotti has opted for his best available starting lineup, with Daniel Carvajal taking responsibility of the captain’s armband at right-back. He will be aided by Ferland Mendy, who starts on the other side.
Meanwhile, in between them, David Alaba returns to the fold as the starting centre-back, partnering Antonio Rudiger. This duo has the responsibility of screening Andriy Lunin, who continues in goal in Kepa and Thibaut Courtois’ absence.
With both Eduardo Camavinga and Aurelien Tchouameni out, Toni Kroos gets the chance to play as the holding midfielder for two games in a row. Federico Valverde retains his spot, as well, while Dani Ceballos comes in for the injured Luka Modric in central midfield.
Rodrygo will spearhead the team’s frontline as one of the two twin forwards, while Brahim Diaz gets the nod over Joselu. Jude Bellingham is the final, and arguably the most important piece of the puzzle, playing behind the front-two.
Confirmed Madrid XI: Lunin; Carvajal, Rudiger, Alaba, Mendy; Valverde, Kroos, Ceballos; Bellingham; Diaz, Rodrygo