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Three talking points ahead of Osasuna vs Real Madrid



Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP via Getty Images

After a convincing hammering of Celta Vigo by four goals last weekend, Real Madrid take to the field for one last time tomorrow before the international break.

Real Madrid’s opponents for Saturday, Osasuna, have not had it easy this season in La Liga. They currently sit in tenth place on the league standings with 36 points, with ten wins and 12 defeats after 28 games.

When the two teams met earlier this season, Carlo Ancelotti’s men put four goals past them courtesy of a Jude Bellingham brace. Now playing at El Sadar, the story is entirely different.

Los Blancos do have a good record at the Pamplona-based stadium, but Osasuna have also won five of their last six fixtures at home. With Real Madrid also far from their best, the match-up on Saturday will be interesting to witness.

Madrid Universal brings you three talking points ahead of Osasuna vs Real Madrid.

The serious business must begin

Real Madrid’s season so far has seen the team lock horns with many a challenging opposition. Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, RB Leipzig, and Napoli have all given Los Blancos a run for their money, but the serious business is yet to come.

The UEFA Champions League draw held earlier today had an unpleasant surprise for the Real Madrid dressing room as they were drawn up against Manchester City in the quarterfinals of the prestigious competition.

Indeed, the Merengues are highly competitive and will fancy the challenge, but there is no denying that they would have preferred the fixture to be deeper in the competition.

One of Real Madrid and Manchester City must now bow out of the competition, and Los Blancos’ recent form is worrying on that front. After all, they have been far from convincing in recent games.

Real Madrid’s 4-0 win over Celta Vigo last weekend ended the team’s run of five tight games and is a start to them playing free-flowing football once more.

However, if they wish to challenge the defending European champions in less than a month, there is still a long way to go in terms of quality. Time is running out, and a dominant win against Osasuna tomorrow will go a long way in regaining the momentum.

Brahim’s moment

Brahim’s moment to shine. (Photo by ODD ANDERSEN/AFP via Getty Images)

Despite having scored a perfectly legal winner in Real Madrid’s clash against Valencia earlier this month, star midfielder Jude Bellingham was exiled for two games after being shown a red card.

The referee on the night, Gil Manzano, sent the youngster off for dissent, but his anger was perfectly reasonable given how the team had just been robbed in clear daylight.

Bellingham thus sat out Los Blancos’ clash against Celta Vigo last weekend, and his two-game penalty sees him miss tomorrow’s game as well. With the first-choice attacking midfielder out, Brahim Diaz is expected to take charge in his place.

The 24-year-old new Moroccan international has been in superb touch this season, scoring four goals and providing two assists in just 23 appearances for Los Blancos. His statistics are more impressive considering that he averages just 46 minutes per game.

Brahim started, and impressed, when Real Madrid took down Celta Vigo by a 4-0 scoreline last weekend, and will look to do the same tomorrow as he is guaranteed a starting position.

After all, competing with an in-form Jude Bellingham is demanding and requires any competitor to stay on his toes at any instant.

A strong performance at El Sadar may not be enough for Diaz to overtake Bellingham on the pecking order, but will go a long way in ensuring him regular starts and more minutes off the bench.

The right way to sign off

The past four months have been less stressful for players given the lack of international football. After the hiatus in November, there has been no break from club football allowing players sufficient rest between games.

The international window, however, returns later this month. Real Madrid’s clash against Osasuna will be the team’s final game before they disperse, and there is thus a lot riding on tomorrow’s result.

For starters, Real Madrid’s schedule after the return of club football is far from easy. With Athletic Club, Manchester City, Mallorca, Barcelona, and Real Sociedad all scheduled in April, Los Blancos will be put to a real test.

While their UCL clash is a story of its own, the key fixtures in La Liga could end up making or breaking their dream of lifting the title. Needless to say, dropping points just before the break will not help their cause.

It is thus essential that Los Blancos end the club stretch on a high before players head to their respective national teams, and a win over Osasuna would be the best way to do so.

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Real Madrid 3-2 FC Barcelona – Player Ratings



Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images

Still fatigued from their weary 120 minutes midweek against Manchester City, Real Madrid took on Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu earlier today in a fascinating clash.

Unlike the two previous games between the two sides this season, tonight’s Clasico was a very tight affair with both teams having their chances to steal the show. 

Andreas Christensen opened the scoring for Barcelona early in the night, giving the visitors the lead. A clean penalty conversion from Vinicius Jr, however, soon pulled one back for Los Blancos.

Fermin Lopez’s goal gave the Catalans the lead once more in the second period but the advantage was short-lived as Lucas Vazquez cut the deficit once more.

In the end, Jude Bellingham scored an injury-time winner for the men in white and Real Madrid got the result they required. The league title now appears written in their name.

Madrid Universal brings you the player ratings from El Clasico.

Andriy Lunin: 5

A relatively shaky night for the Ukrainian shot-stopper who never really looked confident with his saves. Was very poor in Andreas Christensen’s opener with his decision-making and came very close to conceding to a Lamine Yamal flick in the first half. 

Was directly at fault for the Blaugranas’ second goal of the night as he pushed the ball straight into the path of Fermin Lopez.

Lucas Vazquez: 10

A strong display from the Spanish full-back who once again showed that he is a potent force in the final third. Won the penalty for Real Madrid after some masterful trickery on the flank, setting up the team’s equaliser.

Found a stunning half-volley to stun Barcelona minutes after their second goal, levelling the scores once more. Was vital in the buildup for the team’s winner as well.

Sensational. (Photo by THOMAS COEX/AFP via Getty Images)

Aurelien Tchouameni: 6.5

The French centre-back was presumably chosen for his prowess in the air but was nowhere to be seen when Christensen netted Barcelona’s opener. Was regularly poor in defending against set pieces, especially at the far post.

Antonio Rudiger: 7

The German centre-back led the team’s defensive unit but was also far from his best on the night. Did not make any glaring mistakes, but fatigue is likely to have impacted his influence.

Eduardo Camavinga: 6

The young phenom started the game well and was a lively presence in the final third. However, he soon began to struggle to keep up with Barcelona’s Lamine Yamal who began running havoc down the flank.

Was caught napping for Yamal’s cross that set up Barcelona’s second goal of the night and was dribbled past twice. Replaced by Fran Garcia at the 70-minute mark.

Federico Valverde: 7

Real Madrid’s midfield machine was undoubtedly fatigued on the night, yet came out at the team’s most valuable asset off the ball.

Completed seven defensive actions and 92% of his passes, executing his duties well.

Toni Kroos: 8

Sitting deep in the defensive midfield, Kroos was instrumental in holding the fortress for Real Madrid on the break. Silky smooth as ever with his distribution and creativity, combined with some no-nonsense defending.

Luka Modric: 8

Showing his quality. (Photo by Florencia Tan Jun/Getty Images)

A good showing from the Croatian talisman who controlled the midfield alongside Kroos and Valverde throughout the first half. 

Jude Bellingham: 9

A much-improved performance from the Golden Boy who has been under scrutiny in recent weeks for his dip in form.

Bellingham was vital on the break for Real Madrid, dictating the attacking play of the team. He was immaculate with his passing range and completed 100% of his attempted dribbles.

Of all the Real Madrid players, Bellingham was likely the one who put in the biggest defensive shift when out of possession. Found the back of the net in emphatic fashion in the final minutes of the game to give his side the win.

Vinicius Jr: 8

Another Clasico goal. (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images)

Not the Brazilian phenom’s best night on the grasses of the Santiago Bernabeu as he struggled to conjure up much on the counters. Regardless, he scored a vital penalty and even came close to assisting Rodrygo twice in the first half.

Laid the ball on a platter for Lucas Vazquez, setting up the team’s second goal.

Rodrygo Goes: 7

While Rodrygo did not enjoy too much freedom in the final third either, his runs between the lines often created problems for the visitors. Yet, one felt Real Madrid should have capitalised more on the 23-year-old’s presence in the final third.


Brahim Diaz: 7

Brought life to Real Madrid’s counterattacks after coming on, although he did not really get into the game considering Los Blancos’ defence-heavy strategy.

Fran Garcia: 7

Did relatively well to defend against Yamal, and demonstrated more defensive awareness than Camavinga.

Eder Militao: NA

Came on too late to make a tangible impact.

Joselu: NA

Came on too late to make a tangible impact.

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