Real Madrid News
Real Madrid protege prepared to face ‘hostile environment’ against Barcelona
The period between 2019 and 2022 saw Real Madrid dominate El Clasico like never before. In six games against Barcelona after December 2019, the Merengues were undefeated and even went on to win on five occasions.
During their period of dominance, the result seemed written in stone irrespective of the venue. The Merengues have not lost at Spotify Camp Nou since 2018 and are on a run of three successive wins in Catalonia. Yet, there is a sense that tonight’s clash will be different.
Reports from MARCA reveal that the Real Madrid dressing room is aware of the threat they face on Sunday. The Spanish outlet states that Vinicius Jr, in particular, is aware that he will be thrown into a hostile environment at the Camp Nou tonight. Yet, he is not afraid and awaits the challenge.
The Brazilian has not enjoyed a great time in recent Clasicos. Going up against Ronald Araujo has proven to be the ultimate challenge for the protege, and a big part of Sunday’s result will boil down to the battle on the left wing.
Vinicius is one of, if not the best player, in Carlo Ancelotti’s side and will undoubtedly be the target for the Catalan supporters on the night.
Yet, the already hostile atmosphere of the Camp Nou is expected to be aggravated on the night given Real Madrid’s stance in the Negreira scandal.
Los Blancos’ decision to publicly oppose Barcelona on the incidents and to testify in court has not gone down well in Catalonia and will fuel the atmosphere during the game.
Needless to say, Real Madrid and Vinicius Jr must bring out their A-game if Ancelotti’s side are to take three vital points in the title race.
In 24 league appearances for Real Madrid so far, Vinicius has scored eight goals and provided four assists. However, his last goal against Barcelona came over a year ago in January 2022.
Real Madrid News
Rival watch: Barcelona midfielder essentially ruled out of Real Madrid clash
In what could be a real deal breaker for Real Madrid ahead of their Copa del Rey semi-final second leg clash against Barcelona, it has been revealed that as many as three Barça will be absent from the game while another key player remains a major doubt.
The list includes the likes of Pedri, Ousmane Dembele and Andreas Christensen. The trio is certain to miss the game through respective injuries while a certain Frenkie de Jong is more or less ruled out, as per Javi Miguel.
It must be remembered that Barcelona are heading into the second leg with a 1-0 advantage. But the absence of the aforementioned players means Madrid can work on exploiting the frailties.
Despite the absence of such big names, Barcelona did pretty well against Elche in their previous outing, coming out 4-0 victorious, with the goals coming from Robert Lewandowski, Ansu Fati and Ferran Torres.
With options lacking in midfield, Xavi decided to use the likes of Sergi Roberto and Eric Garcia along with Gavi in the heart of the lineup. In any way, they do have Sergio Busquets and Franck Kessie as backups if needed.
The defence, on the other hand, was perfectly guarded by Jordi Alba, Marcos Alonso, Ronald Araujo and Jules Kounde.
One can expect Xavi to once again interchange Araujo with Kounde on the right since the Uruguayan has been rather successful in minimizing the threat of Vinicius Jr.
As far as Madrid are concerned, they are sweating over the fitness of three key defenders, namely, Antonio Rudiger, Nacho, and Ferland Mendy. Between these three, the Frenchman is out for about a month while Rudiger and Nacho are expected to be back before the Clasico.
If there are no casualties against Real Valladolid, Madrid will have a perfect midfield and attack, with only Mariano Diaz missing.