Memorable Clásico debuts as several players await bows
Antoine Griezmann and Rodrygo Goes are among those in line to make their Clásico debuts at the Camp Nou, but which players have enjoyed that moment?
A group of players will add their names to El Clásico's rich history when Barcelona host Real Madrid at the Camp Nou on Wednesday.
Alongside seasoned names such as Lionel Messi and Sergio Ramos, the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Frenkie De Jong, Ansu Fati, Rodrygo Goes and Ferland Mendy are in line to make their debuts in the fixture.
Shining on the biggest stage at the first time of asking is not always easy, but here are four players who enjoyed notable recent introductions to European football's most captivating rivalry.
The dream scenario for Griezmann or Rodrygo would be to star in the manner Spain great Villa did at the Camp Nou in November 2010. In one of the defining victories of the Pep Guardiola era, Barcelona thumped José Mourinho's Madrid 5-0. Villa joined the most feared forward line in world football earlier that year and netted a quickfire second-half brace to take the game away from Los Blancos. In the 21st century, the former Valencia favourite is the only player to boast a Clásico debut double.
Barcelona's fabled MSN forward line was still a year away when Neymar made his Clásico bow. In fact, it was Alexis Sánchez - later phased out by the arrival of Luis Suárez - who scored what turned out to be the winner at the Camp Nou in October 2013. Neymar laid on that goal after notching the opener, meaning the Brazilian is the only player since 2000 to score and assist on his first outing in the rivalry.
Many celebrated attacking names have graced this match in the famous white shirts of Real Madrid. Close-season arrival Eden Hazard must wait for his introduction after being sidelined by injury. However, the first time is not always the most enjoyable where big-name Madridistas are concerned. Jesé Rodríguez pulled a late goal back after Neymar and Sánchez were on target in the 2013 Camp Nou match. Now at Sporting CP, with one goal to his name in 12 appearances this season after unsuccessful stints at Real Betis, Stoke City, Las Palmas and Paris Saint-Germain, Jesé is still the last Madrid player to have scored on his Clásico debut.
De Jong's arrival at Barcelona and the re-emergence of Ivan Rakitic has served to give Vidal a frustrating lack of recent first-team opportunities. Nevertheless, the tenacious Chile midfielder has fond memories of the corresponding fixture last season. He came off the bench to crown a 5-1 thumping of Madrid at the Camp Nou in October 2018, heading home 190 seconds after entering the field. No Clásico debutant has scored a quicker goal this century.
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