Clásico ends scoreless for the first time in 17 years

Clásico ends scoreless for the first time in 17 years

Barcelona vs Real Madrid: as it happened!

Lot of chances and maybe Real Madrid will feel like it's two points lost but at Camp Nou, they're probably happy enough. Bale had a goal ruled out for offside, Messi missed a fairly routine chance and both sides went at it before accepting that a draw was the best result for everyone.

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GAME OVER! Teams share a point.

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Looks like Barça are happy enough with the draw. Madrid sitting back too and don't mind a point too, it seems.

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Carvajal kicks the legs from under Fati on the counter attack, gets booked and is not happy. 

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Nice break from Barcelona but Suarez shot is headed back to Courtois. 

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Corner comes in and Suarez heads it wide.

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Fati with the cross and Carvajal blocks it for the corner.

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Ball down the Bale and he takes a heavy touch before racing forward trying to latch onto it. Ter Stegen out to save.

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Bale is back up and walks off after the clash of heads. Lenglet too as he refreshes himself with some good quality H20.

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Fati comes on for Griezmann.

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Bale down again. Cross in from Mendy and Lenglet heads clear with Bale clattering into him after.

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Isco off for rodrygo. Modric on for Valverde. Zidane makes his move.

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Bale down in a heap and it looked like his ankle was in trouble but he is up and runs it off. 

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Ramos with a foul on Messi as he fouls him and then grabs him to ensure he doesn't carry on.

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Isco finds himself in the referee's book now for a foul on Griezmann after he lays off a pass.

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Another foul on Suarez. It's Varane who pushes him and, kind of, catches him with a leg. Camp Nou want more than just the telling off he's getting. Referee just tells Varane to relax.

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Barcelona all the way up the other end. Vidal to Messi and then back and then out to Suarez and then over the bar. 

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Oooooh! That was close. OFFSIDE! Bale's goal ruled out.

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We are going to VAR now. Let's see if Mendy was offside.

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GOAL! Bale has it in the back of the net. Mendy with a perfect little dink inside to him from Casemiro's pass. Bale taps it home first time. Ruled out for offside.

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De Jong with a nice one-two with Messi and he shoots forcing a save. 

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Bale gets himself booked for catching Griezmann late. Second card for a Madrid player.

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Bale absolutely piledrives one wide. Madrid win the ball and attack. Valverde has men running off him and he sends it out to Bale after Vidal blocks the initial pass. Bale's shot just wide.

It hit Vidal's arm but no penalty because it was in beside his body.

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Casemiro gets himself a booking as he fouls Suarez. Quite silly as the striker was going nowhere. 

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Carvajal with a cross to the back post where Benzema heads wide.

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Messi sends a ball into Suarez. He heads down to Griezmann and the Frenchman drives it against a Real Madrid leg. 

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We have a quick VAR check on the challenge on Suarez from Ramos but the ref waves play on after a short stop.

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Messi with a very bas miss. Griezmann passes to him and he whiffs at it. Keeps it though and ball inside as Ramos challenges Suarez to prevent the goal.

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Sergi Roberto crosses and it's deflected up into Courtois' waiting arms. He has had very little work to do so far tonight.

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We have a disruption here as there are what look like inflatabale ballons being thrown on the field.

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Vidal on for Semedo. First change of the game. Need more muscle in the middle and Vidal is the man to provide it.

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Valverde with another shot and it's deflected out for a corner.

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Isco runs down a dead end. Alba back to Ter Stegen and Barcelona back on the ball but no way through for them.

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Ter Stegen to Lenglet and he sends a poor pass out the field. Madrid recover again.

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Mendy with a nice cross that bounces in front of Ter Stegen. He catches it but Madrid win it and bring it back up the field.

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Messi with another excellent run inside and there are a few Madrid players lucky he didn't go down or trip over their legs. Inside to Griezmann but it's cleared. 

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Messi gets hauled down now by Casemiro as they try to counter.

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Mendy with a deep cross to the back post. Barcelona recover and try to break. 

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We are back underway!

Barcelona arrive a few seconds later to meet them.

Real Madrid first back on the field. 

Impressive. Some of them from distance and not very dangerous but still...

HALF-TIME! Three Barcelona yellows. Two efforts cleared off the line - one for either side. Just all round fun really.

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Lenglet booked now for stopping Isco as he kicks the ball past him and tries to round the defender. Fairly standard.

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Ball across the right and Alba overruns it. That was very, very close and would have been a handy finish for him.

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Valverde with another volley. Lovely technique again as Ter Stegen saves it. Stings his gloves this time.

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Madrid attack now and it's over Benzema.

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Messi with a perfect pass and Alba hits it first time. The left-back did so well to stay onside and his effort is close.

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On the next play, Suarez gets himself booked for standing on Casemiro's ankle.

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Good move by Barcelona. Suarez with the pass inside and it hits Varane and then off the Uruguayan. Goalkick but Surarez obviously doesn't think so.

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Griezmann with a poor pass, one of his few touches. Ball goes to Bale and he shoots. Deflection up and over everyone but Ter Stegen grabs it.

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Barcelona fans whistle Madrid's possession. They want the ball back.

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Isco to Valverde and back to Kroos. Mendy gets it from him and returns it. Kroos shoots from distance but he lofts it up over the goals. Speculative.

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Real Madrid work it out from the back really well. They're back on the front foot.

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Mendy with a really dangerous pass into Casemiro. He scrambles and tries and tries to foul but can't and Real Madrid do eventually clear. Dodgy pass indeed from Mendy, who hasn't settled here at all.

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Casemiro with the pass long to Bale but it's straight to Ter Stegen.

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Valverde with a volley. That goes just wide of Ter Stegen's post. Lovely technique from the Uruguayan.

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Alba with the cross again. Lovely delivery as Roberto drives forward. Courtois punches clear and Messi shoots. Ramos clears off the line.

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Another Real Madrid orner and Ter Stegen with the punch away. Sent back in and Casemiro heads up into the air and Ter Stegen gathers.

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Semedo is offside but he had an incredible chance. Roberto threaded it to him and Madrid covered it and clared but a nice move from Barcelona.

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Corner comes in and Varane heads it wide.

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Benzema with a low cross and Ter Stegen throws a foot at it. Casemiro shoots and the German stops it from going in as he pushes it around the post. Really good from Real Madrid.

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Bale crosses and Ramos tries a little flick at the front post but it's hard to execute and it's out for a goalkick.

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Bale down the left and now and plays it backwards to Benzema. Sent inside and Pique puts it out for a throw. Bale seems to have switched to the left. 

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Messi puts some pressure on Ramos and he passes out for a throw. Barcelona back on the ball.

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Yellow for Rakitic as Isco skips past him and the Croatian kicks his leg. First of the game.

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Alba rubs his head along Varane's head after the Barcelona player is fouled. Completely unnecessary and the referee has a word with both.

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Benzema cross and it's headed out. Bale cross from the right. Headed out again. Madrid putting all sorts of pressure on Barcelona.

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Real Madrid applying a lot of pressure now.

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The referee had a check with VAR. The ball didn't cross the line but Varane got a foot to the knee. NO PENALTY as the corner comes in!

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Corner comes in and it's headed off the line! A lot just happened in that last few seconds. Casemiro heads down and it's off the line by Pique. Then Varane gets a stud to the knee as he tries to control it. 

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Casemiro tries a shot from way downtown and it takes a lucky deflection for a corner.

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Mendy almost loses the ball after a poor cross. But Real Madrid win it back and Isco beats Semedo down the left. He crosses and it's headed out for a throw. Madrid just growing into the game slightly.

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Semedo coughs up the ball quite cheaply as he looks for the pass inside. Barcelona swarm Benzema and win the ball back.

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Kroos delivers one into the box but it's over everyone.

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Alba again. Barcelona attack with men overlapping. Carvajal blocks the low cross inside and the Camp Nou want a penalty. No chance as it never even touched his hand.

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Isco lays it off unbeknownst to himself and Benzema strikes. Ter Stegen saves easily enough.

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Ramos' first touch of the all and the Camp Nou give him a warm, very whistle-y, welcome.

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Long and direct ball to Suarez through the middle. He lays it off to Sergi Roberto but it's off target. Real Madrid recover and Messi skips by a couple of players. Alba down the left and he centers but it's sent back out to him. Barcelona keep it and try to pry open Madrid's back line again.

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De Jong hauled down by Casemiro as he tries to skip past him. 

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Mendy tries to take on Semedo but it dribbles to Barcelona and they start again. Very cagey so far but Barcelona with a much better start.

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Real Madrid seeing very little of the ball. It's launched down to Griezmann and he wants a free for a push in the back by Real Madrid win the throw instead.

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Ball over the top to Alba and it is perfect. The left-back hits it first time and it blazes by Suarez. That was a great chance for Barcelona. Just too much speed on it for Suarez to do anything with.

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Real Madrid continue to soak up pressure. Alba down the left and he cuts inside before turning back. They go all the way back to Lenglet and then Pique as they probe another avenue of attack.

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Barcelona attack with Messi and the Camp Nou bursts into life. It's their first foray into enemy territory and fans at the Camp Nou want them camped up there all night.

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Ball sent into the box and Bale with a push on the back of Lenglet. Free to Barcelona.

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Slightly late given the postponement but we are finally underway for the first Clásico of the season!

Real Madrid are wearing their classic white shirts and Barcelona wearing their blaugrana.

The teams emerge onto the field, Barcelona fans sing their hymn and the players greet each other. 

The teams are gone back inside and the stadium is full! We are ready for action at Camp Nou.

Bale gets his second start since returning to action with calf issues. He started against Alavés too. Zidane starts him because he says he always shows up on the big stage!

The finals in Lisbon and Kiev, the Copa del Rey fial against Barcelona in Valencia. Or the last Clásico Zidance coached in May 2018 with Bale scoring the equaliser at 2-2. Zidane is fully aware of Bale's qualities including his aerial prowess, speed in open space and both his desire and ability to score goals. 

Curious quotes on the back of Real Madrid's bus that brought them to the stadium tonight. "May the force be with you"

From within Busquets' camp, they say he has a fever and is a sub because of that. 

Seems there is some confusion even within Barcelona's technical staff about Busquets' unavailability.

They're looking inside people's sandwiches at Camp Nou. The lines are gathering. Let's hope there is no delay to the game.

The reason given now is that Busquets is not feeling well enough to play and will be rested.

Busquets is still in the squad. Rakitic starts in his place and it appears as though Barcelona made a mistake of some sort with their team announcement.

There is a late change in Barcelona's starting XI. Ivan Rakitic will replace Sergio Busquets. It's unclear why as of yet. Updates to follow...

Rakitic started the last three games in LaLiga for Barcelona but is dropped tonight for Sergi Roberto. Lots of options for Valverde in midfield with Vidal and the Croatian to call upon if necessary.

Messi masks have been banned from the Camp Nou because the police don't want fans hiding their identity.

Barcelona XI: Ter Stegen, Semedo, Piqué, Lenglet, Alba, Roberto, Busquets, De Jong, Messi, Suárez, Griezmann.

Madrid's bench: Areola, Militao, Nacho, Modric, Jovic, Vinicius, Rodrygo

Zidane hinted that Bale might start. He said Bale "is with us, he is training well. He is an important player and has always shown that. Tomorrow he will be prepared like everyone, I don't have a doubt about that."

Real Madrid XI: Courtois, Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Mendy, Kroos, Benzema, Bale, Casemiro, Valverde, Isco.

Messi

Raphael Varane has explained the difficulty of stopping the Barcelona forward and said that a "collective effort" is the only key to success.

The two teams have now arrived as Real Madrid stroll up the steps and into the bowels of the stadium where they will get ready for the game.

The teams have arrived at the Camp Nou. A very relaxed Piqué strolling in with his white socks tucked into his tracksuit bottoms. You'd think he was walking in for a massage. Griezmann follows him and this is definitely the calm before the Clásico storm.

Some tough questions in here.

Barcelona and Real Madrid have played 179 games in LaLiga with both sides winning 72 times!

Jordi Alba has missed nine games in LaLiga this season due to injuries. He played in the first four but has failed to play three consecutive games since then. The left-back returned against Real Sociedad and lasted 74 minutes and his involvement tonight could help Barcelona unlock spaces on the left. He needs to get back to his best though in order for Barcelona's attack to thrive.

The teams will be leaving the hotel soon to travel to the Camp Nou.

Arturo Vidal has been dropping hints for a while about wanting to play more under Ernesto Valverde. He said he would have to assess his options in the winter if things didn't change.

According to ESPNFC, he is fuming after being told he wouldn't be playing tonight.

Sergio Ramos is set to become the all-time Clásico appearance leader with 43 tonight.

A look inside Real Madrid's dressing room ahead of the game.

Casemiro started every single game for Real Madrid this season until last Sunday. Zidane didn't risk him with one card needed which would have seen him suspended for the game tonight. He has been exceptional all year and one of, if not THE key to their good form. He is rested for the first time this season and ready for tonight. 

Real Madrid's full squad list.

Spanish politics is changing rapidly. The far-right party, Vox, won 52 seats in the most recent elevtion (the fourth in four years). This article in The Guardian discusses the issues facing Spain and, in particular, Barcelona.

"Key to Vox’s increasing appeal is the Catalan crisis (if we leave aside one-off factors such as the government’s exhumation of Franco’s body). During the election campaign Vox promised a crackdown on the Catalan secession movement, characterising the protests in Barcelona as evidence of a “permanent coup”. But here, too, the reality is much more nuanced than any morally charged black-and-white narrative of separatists versus unionists would have us believe."

Antoine Griezmann scored in his last outing against Real Madrid for Atlético. They lost that game 3-1 though. Can he score in his first game against the old rival again? 

He says: "At Barça and at Atleti we want to beat Madrid"

After the unrest in October in Barcelona, the city council have repaired most of the damage done. Ironically, Pedro Sanchez, Spain's Primer Minister, had a secret meeting with the Catalan separatist group, Esquerra recently. 

"Mr Sánchez is seeking the abstention of Esquerra’s 13 deputies in the national Congress. That would mean he could win the vote he needs to form a coalition government with Podemos, a party politically to the left of the Socialists," says this Economist article on the topic.

Bale and Zidane

Zidane said yesterday that Bale is a really important player and that he has "always shown that", which could mean a starting place for the Welsh attacker tonight. Zidane also said that he isn't concerned about having possession, which could mean a counter-attacking game tonight.

Pique Ramos

As St Etienne once famously sung, "Let's kiss and make up..." A Barcelona-based artist left this impression on a wall in the Ciudad Condal ahead of the game

But Sergio Ramos will remain one ahead, and the Real Madrid captain will become the player with most Clásico appearances in history this evening when he makes his 43rd, moving him one ahead of Xavi, Paco Gento and Manolo Sanchís... 

Real Madrid will be looking to Karim Benzema this evening to continue his scoring form, with the France striker popping up at several crucial moments so far this season to keep Madrid level with Barça at the top. 

Clásico security

However, the security forces aren't messing about. There are some 3,000 police, Mossos and private security forming an "iron ring" around Camp Nou ahead of the game. 

There are protests planned outside Camp Nou from 16:00 by pro-independence groups against the Supreme Court ruling on the 2017 referendum. For an in-depth explanation of the political situation, feel free to pop over here

Our Johnny has had a glance at the squads and tried to secong guess what Ernesto Valverde and Zinedine Zidane might come up with this evening in terms of starting XIs. There's also injury and suspension news and a bit of a preview in here. 

And here come Madrid, getting ready to settle in for a pre-game siesta. 

Barcelona have arrived at the Hotel Princesa Sofía - where Madrid will also be based - without incident. But who will get their paws on the good stuff at the buffet first? 

Messi

Leo Messi failed to find the net in any of the four Clásicos played last season (Liga and Copa) but still rules the roost in terms of overall goals scored in the history of the contest with 26. He's after a few more records yet... 

Valverde

Last season Barça thumped Madrid 5-1 in this fixture, signalling the end of Julen Lopetegui's brief reign at Real Madrid. 

As concerns the match itself, it should be an intersting encounter. It's been 17 years since Barça and Madrid played out a 0-0, on 23 November 2002 at Camp Nou.  

Valverde's Real Madrid counterpart, Zinedine Zidane, echoed those sentiments when he said in his pre-match press conference that "the important thing is that we play."

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Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said in his pre-match press conference that he felt the game should have gone ahead in October as planned to "give normality to the subject" bu added he felt there would be no issues today with the recheduled game. 

Among the many unusual situations arising from the political and social background to tonight's game is the decision by Real Madrid and Barcelona to share a hotel ahead of the fixture on the advice of both clubs' security staff

Today's match is a one-of-a-kind in many respects, with a massive security deployment of around 3,000 police expected in Barcelona after pro-independence protest groups stating their intention to stage further protests against the October ruling that saw leading Catalan political figures jailed for between nine and 13 years in prison after finding them guilty of sedition over the 2017 referendum and subsequent unilateral declaration of independence by Carles Puigdemont, who was at that time leader of the regional government. 

The Supreme Court's decision led to mass protests in Catalonia and clashes with police, which temporarily shut down Barcelona's El Prat international airport and led to Barça having to rearrange travel plans for their Liga game against Eibar. The game was finally rescheduled for 18 December

The first Clásico of the season was originally due to be played on Saturday 26 October, but the week-10 fixture was put back over security concerns in Barcelona, amid protests over the jailing of nine Catalan separatist leaders after a referendum on independence for the northeastern region was declared illegal by Spain's Supreme Court.

Hello and welcome to AS English's live build-up and coverage of the rescheduled Clásico between Barcelona and Real Madrid at Camp Nou.

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