The Barcelona midfielder has been given the all-clear to play on Saturday, providing a timely boost for Luis Enrique’s side. In the absence of the veteran playmaker Barça have struggled for form and goals, losing against Manchester City in the Champions League and being held in successive Liga games by Málaga and Real Sociedad. In Iniesta’s absence, Barça have only found the net four times in four league games.
Alcácer / Ronaldo odds
Despite the former Valencia striker’s struggles in front of goal this season (zero goals in nine appearances so far), Paco Alcácer is priced at shorter odds than Cristiano Ronaldo to find the net first on Saturday. Leo Messi is the favourite to open the scoring at odds of 4.50, the same as Luis Suárez. Then comes Alcácer at 5.50, followed by Ronaldo and Neymar at 6.0.
Although El Clásico will be televised live in over 100 countries and will attract anything up to and including half a billion viewers, residents of the UK will not be able to watch the game live due to a long-standing ban on televising live football between 2.45pm and 5.15pm to protect attendances at stadiums.
Zidane and Enrique’s last Liga Clásicos
The current Real Madrid coach last featured as a player in a Liga El Clásico on April 2, 2006. The game ended in a 1-1 draw at Camp Nou (Barça had won the Bernabéu Clásico 3-0 earlier in the season) and Zidane was substituted in the 79th minute for Thomas Gravesen, which has a slight ring of ignominy to it. Of the sides on that day, only Andrés Iniesta and Sergio Ramos remain active. Luis Enrique’s came in April 2004, when he came on for the final 33 minutes of a 2-1 victory at the Bernabéu, replacing Marc Overmars. Xavi scored the winner.
There have been 231 competitive Clásicos overall with Madrid slightly ahead in terms of wins, 93 to Barcelona’s 90, with 48 ending in draws. The biggest win for Real came in the Copa del Rey in 1943, when Los Blancos dished out an 11-1 thrashing. Barcelona’s best result was 7-0 in an exhibition match in 1913. The odds of that being repeated on Saturday are 300/1.
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