Real Madrid RMA
Benzema 12',Kroos 27',Casemiro 89'
Barcelona BCN
Óscar Mingueza 59'

Real Madrid 2-1 Barcelona result, goals, summary, reactions: El Clásico, LaLiga

William Allen

Real Madrid 2-1 Barcelona result, goals, summary, reactions: El Clásico, LaLiga

Real Madrid 2-1 Barcelona: El Clásico as it happened

Real Madrid

Real Madrid 2-1 Barcelona: adiós!

OK, we’re going to draw this live feed to a close.

Real Madrid end the day top of LaLiga - and it’s now over to hitherto leaders Atlético Madrid, who will regain first place if they win or draw at Real Betis on Sunday night.

Madrid have brought Barça’s 19-game league unbeaten run to an end, stretched their own undefeated streak to 10 in the Spanish top flight, and elbowed ahead of their arch rivals as the chief candidate to chase down Atleti and claim the championship at Los Rojiblancos' expense.

Madrid's attention now turns back to the Champions League, as they bid to press home their first-leg advantage in Wednesday’s quarter-final return against Liverpool, and in the process reach the last four of Europe’s premier club competition for the first time in three years.

Up next for Barcelona, meanwhile, is the Copa del Rey final against Athletic Club in Seville a week today.

Thanks for reading!

(Photo: REUTERS/Sergio Perez)

Fancy a deep dive into the Clásico? Here's one thanks to Opta.


Real Madrid 2-1 Barcelona: Vinicius, Lucas Vázquez, Messi and VAR

Real Madrid provisional leaders and Barcelona raging at VAR - that's how Alfredo Relaño sees the Clásico, plus Vinicius speed demon, Messi ineffective, and a lot of rain at Valdebebas.

Zidane: "A good win, a deserved win"

Real Madrid worthy of Clásico win:

“It was a very good game. We started really well, then we found the going tougher because at the end of the day they’re a very good side, but we’ve got ourselves a good win, a deserved win. We had a number of chances to get the third, but in the end it’s a deserved win.”

Barcelona’s penalty shout after Mendy clash with Braithwaite:

“Everyone has their own feeling, but if the referee didn’t give a penalty it wasn’t a penalty. As for the amount of stoppage time [that Jesús Gil Manzano added on], that’s his decision. What’s most important is the performance we put in out there. We deserved the win.”

Real Madrid provisionally top of LaLiga:

“Its not going to change anything. We just have to keep going; there’s a long way to to go. But we also have to enjoy today and what we did the other day [against Liverpool], of course.”


Real Madrid - Barcelona: what are their next matches and how many points are left?

With the second LaLiga Clásico out of the way, we take a look at Real Madrid and Barcelona's league run-ins:

The lowdown on Real Madrid and Barcelona's games to come

Koeman not happy...

Koeman storms out of interview

That pitchside interview Koeman gave to Movistar+ concluded with the Barça boss storming off after he asked reporter Ricardo Sierra whether or not he thought it was a penalty - and came up against a diplomatic response.

When Sierra replied that it was "the referee's decision", Koeman fired back "if you want to sit on the fence, you sit on the fence", before walking off.

Koeman: "It’s a very clear penalty"

Speaking to Movistar+, a clearly unhappy Ronald Koeman hit out at the match officials for their failure to award Barcelona a penalty for Ferland Mendy’s challenge on Martin Braithwaite.

Annoyed with the referee:

“If you’re a Barcelona fan, I think you’re unhappy with two decisions by the referee [...]. I only ask the referees to get decisions right. It’s a penalty and only four minutes of stoppage time was given, despite the referee having [to stop for a period] because he had a problem with his headset."

Unhappy referee didn’t have a second look at the incident:

“It’s a very clear penalty. And if it had been given it’s 2-2. It’s such a clear penalty. I don’t know why we have VAR in Spain.”

Better from Barcelona after the break:

"In the first half we didn’t play well, neither in attack nor in defence. In the second half we improved."

Barcelona director Guillermo Amor speaks to Movistar+:

Barcelona deserved more:

“I think we were marginally the better side tonight.”

Was that Messi’s last Clásico?

“We hope not; we hope he decides to stay at Barcelona and plays many more Clácios with Barcelona […]. He played very well again tonight, and we now have to focus on the next game [the Copa del Rey final against Athletic Club], which is very important. It’s a chance to win a trophy.

Sergi Roberto speaks:

Close to snatching point:

“We tried right to the end, and it’s a  shame we couldn’t get the draw; we were so close to equalising right at the end.”

Second-half fightback:

“In the second half we gave it our all, we scored the goal with half an hour or so to go, but in the end it wasn’t to be.”

Barça’s title hopes now out of their hands:

“We’ll have to win every game we have left and hope our opponents drop points.”

Penalty shout:

“I was right in front of it; I think he [Mendy] touches him [Braithwaite] and it annoys me that it wasn’t looked at.”

Nacho speaks:

"It was a tough game. It's a big win for us, winning the Clásico is special. We've still got a lot of games left, even if some saw this as a final... We had a tough time of it over the 90 minutes, but coping with that and winning is what's important. We have a great squad and the coach believes in us."

"Winning the Clásico is special"

Nacho, Real Madrid
Messi no goals

That's seven Clásicos in a row without a goal from Messi... his last one came in Cristiano Ronaldo's last Clásico appearance.

Barcelona have never won the title in a season where they lost both fixtures to Real Madrid...


How the LaLiga table looks after Real Madrid's Clásico win

Here's how things now stand at the top of LaLiga after that Real Madrid win over Barcelona: Los Blancos go into first place, although Atlético Madrid will reclaim their lead if they avoid defeat at Real Betis on Sunday.

It's the first time since December that Atlético have not been top.

It really was some Clásico. Not the finest football you'll ever see under an absolute downpour in Madrid, but for excitement levels and general frenzied football it was up there.


Peeep peeep peeeep! And referee Jesús Gil Manzano brings an end to a frenetic Clásico in the Madrid rain.

Karim Benzema and Toni Kroos' goals earn Real Madrid the 98th win over Barcelona in the club's history, and Los Blancos move to the top of the table overnight, ahead of Atlético Madrid's clash with Real Betis on Sunday evening.


Ilaix hits the bar! Barça are so close to snatching a last-gasp leveller! It really has been all-action stuff right to the very end.

The youngster chests down Lenglet's knock-down on the penalty spot and volleys towards goal, but with Courtois beaten, the ball bounces back off the woodwork!


Ilaix has a chance to shoot from the edge of the area, but fires well over!

Up the other end, Marcelo suddenly finds himself in on Ter Stegen when Mariano flicks the ball on to the Brazilian, but he dallies on the ball a second too long, and Mingueza just manages to nip in and prod the ball back to the goalkeeper.


Messi bends his effort straight into Courtois' arms.

Four minutes of time added on.


And now Casemiro is off! He is very late on Mingueza on the edge of the Madrid box, and earns himself his second yellow in as many minutes.

The damage could be worse for Madrid: Messi is now standing over a highly dangerous free-kick 20 yards or so out from goal.


Casemiro is booked after absolutely scything Messi down on the halfway line. Ilaix looks to start a little bit of afters with the Brazilian, forcing Gil Manzano to snuff out the tension.


Barça are incensed. They want a penalty when Mendy appears to tug at Braithwaite inside the box, but neither the referee nor the video assistant feel the Frenchman did enough to warrant a spot-kick.

The Blaugrana surround the ref, Alba earning himself a yellow card for his backchat.

In the lead-up to that incident, Alba had latched on to Odriozola's short back-pass and touched the ball past Courtois and across the face of goal, before Mendy and Braithwaite came together as it ran out for a goal-kick.


Isco shoots over! Asensio looks up and clips the ball back to his compatriot at the top of the box, but the midfielder’s first-time strike is over.


Barça make a double substitution: Franciso Trincao and Martin Braithwaite are on for Pedri and Dembélé.


Messi is so soaked through that he's come to the touchline to change both shirt and undershirt.

The play had stopped while referee Jesús Gil Manzano sorted out some kind of issue with his headset, but re-starts without the Argentine.


Ilaix is straight into the action, heading a right-wing cross down but right at Courtois.

At the other end, Odriozola's cross almost catches Ter Stegen out when it veers off course and almost drifts in over the German, who has to touch the ball over.

The corner is finally worked to Marcelo, who controls on the edge of the box before thumping a shot well over.

By the way, Marcelo has slotted into a left-wing-back role, with Mendy stepping inside into a back three alongside Nacho and Militao.


Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane also shuffles his pack, bringing on Isco and Mariano Díaz for Vinicius and Benzema.


Barcelona make another substitution, replacing Araújo with Ilaix.


Nacho is booked after bringing down Messi just outside the box, giving the Argentine an inviting dead-ball opportunity.

Messi's effort is blocked, but moments later Mingueza goes close for Barça! The ball is worked out wide to the right-back, who barrels into the Real Madrid box and lashes in a cross-cum-shot that flashes just past Courtois' far post!


Now Vinicius takes a cross off Benzema's head at the back post, when the Frenchman looked better placed to head in from close range. Vinicius gets his effort all wrong, before Kroos sends his follow-up straight at Ter Stegen.


It is end-to-end at the Di Stéfano. When Madrid clear a Barcelona attack, Modric lifts the ball over the top for Vinicius to run in behind the Barça defence and into the box - but, when he should probably have gone it alone, the Brazilian opts to pass it to Benzema at the far post and Mingueza just gets a toe to the ball.


Up the other end, Alba gets to the byline, cuts towards the near post and tries to play it across goal with bodies waiting inside the six-yard box, but Courtois gets a vital touch on the left-back's pass! This is frenetic stuff.


And no sooner do Barça pull one back than Madrid go so, so close to getting a very lucky third! Mendy plays Vinicius into the box, the Brazilian lifting his head and attempting to turn it to Benzema in the middle.

However, Vinicius' ball takes huge touch off Araújo's boot... and, with Ter Stegen beaten, it bounces off the near post and out!


Real Madrid make their first change of the night, replacing Valverde with Marco Asensio.


Mingueza pulls one back for Barcelona!

It's hard to keep up with this game. Barça have got themselves right back in it, and it's a very enterprising finish from the defender!

Griezmann lets Alba's left-wing cross run through his legs and to the back post, where Mingueza does well to organise his feet to connect with the bouncing ball with the outside of his boot, and send it into the corner past Courtois.


Twice Benzema might score, but doesn't! First, Casemiro drives through the midfield and towards the Barcelona box, before being scythed down. However, Gil Manzano plays the advantage, allowing Odriozola to touch the ball across the face of goal towards Benzema, but he can't quite reach the pass! If he had, it was surely 3-0.

Moments later, Benzema advances into shooting space and strikes just over!


Griezmann goes close... but he was offside anyway. De Jong picks the ball up on the right-hand corner of the box and feeds a neat pass through to the Frenchman at the back post, but he turns it wide - and the flag was rightly up.


Kroos fires over! Once more Real Madrid break dangerously, Benzema leading the attack before slipping the ball inside to the German, who confidence is such that he hits it first-time from 30 yards or so out. He blazes his strike well off target, though.

Benzema emulates Van Nistelrooy, Ronaldo and Bale

Football stats specialists Opta note that Karim Benzema has become the fourth Real Madrid player this century to score in seven straight LaLiga games, following int he footsteps of Ruud van Nistelrooy, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.


It is absolutely teeming down in Madrid. Torrential.

Twice Dembélé delivers corners from the right, but Real Madrid deal with it. Los Blancos unsuccessfully look to get Vinicius breaking down the right, before moments later sending a high ball down the middle for Benzema to chase. Ter Stegen is out quickly to clear the danger, though.

Barcelona have made a half-time substitution, bringing on Antoine Griezmann for Sergiño Dest.

That change also sees Barça switch to a back four, Mingueza moving across to right-back.

Sergio Ramos wearing a 'Misma pasión' top (Same passion), in support of Spanish goalkeeper Misa Rodríguez who was subject to abuse on Twitter - but then given support from players from all round the game. 

Peeeep! We're back up and running in Madrid.

Real Madrid have their tweet of the first half. 


Koeman with his usual poker face when things are going wrong.

Fernando Hierro says it's "looking good" for Real Madrid right now, but reckons Zidane's side have produced more chances than decent football. 


How LaLiga table looks right now, with Real Madrid sitting pretty at the top. Atlético play Betis tomorrow at 21:00. 


Peeep peeep peeep! Real Madrid go in for the break two to the good and, as things stand, will lead LaLiga overnight.

Madrid have let Barça have most of the ball, and the visitors could well have come away from that first half with something to show for their efforts - most notably when Lionel Messi hit the woodwork straight from a corner.

However, Zinedine Zidane's men have given Barça a torrid old time whenever they've broken at speed, and had that Fede Valverde shot been an inch or two to the right, the Blaugrana would currently be assessing even greater damage than they are.


Messi hits the post straight from a corner! The Argentine's delivery bends over Courtois' outstretched hand is inches away from finding its way into the net.

He hasn't scored in his last six Clásicos; that would have been quite a way to end that barren run.

Moments later, Courtois has to get off his line quickly to close down the angle and block from Messi at the back post.


Two minutes of time added on at the Di Stéfano.


Vázquez is finally unable to continue after that clash with Busquets, and is replaced by Álvaro Odriozola.

If I were Ronald Koeman, I'd be exhorting my players to do plenty of attacking down the left. Odriozola hasn't played in a long time - since the start of February, I make it - and, let's be honest, is suspect at the best of times.


Messi picks the ball up and scurries at pace towards the Real Madrid box, but when he slips it wide to Dest, the American's return pass is misplaced and the chance is lost.

Barça come back at Madrid, Messi seeing a shot blocked before Dembélé receives in the area and attempts to twist and turn his way into a yard or two of shooting space, but is crowded out of it.


Griezmann is warming up for Barcelona on the touchline.

Vázquez and Busquets are both in need of treatment after a heavy collision involving the pair, but they both look like they'll be alright.



Oh my. Real Madrid are absolutely killing Barcelona when they break at pace, and are inches away from grabbing a third.

Vinicius leads a counter-attack that is worked to Valverde on the right - and he pings a strike towards Ter Stegen's far post that has the keeper beaten, but rebounds off the post!

Madrid get a second bite at the cherry when the loose ball falls to Vázquez who is following up at the top of the box, but Ter Stegen keeps his effort out!

Moments before that Madrid chance, Dembélé had failed to control when the ball was fed to him in space in the hosts' box. Had he managed to bring it under his spell, he would have had a very, very presentable opportunity to reduce the arrears.


...and Kroos' strike finds its way in, via Sergiño Dest and Jordi Alba! 2-0 to Real Madrid!

Kroos' free-kick is struck decently enough, but the German is aided by a big deflection off Dest's back that leaves Ter Stegen completely wrong-footed. Alba is on the post, though - but can't get his head to the ball properly, and succeeds only in helping it over the line.

Real Madrid firmly in the driving seat.


Vinicius heads for the Barça area and bursts past Araújo, who brings the Brazilian down right on the edge.

Kroos will take the free-kick...

LaLiga table

Madrid heading top as it stands

Here's how that Benzema opener affects the LaLiga table. If it stays this way, Madrid will go provisionally top, displacing Atlético by virtue of their superior head-to-head record over Los Rojiblancos.


Benzema skies it.

Midway through the first half at the Estadio Alfredo di Stéfano; the time has positively flown by.


Pedri is the first man to go into the referee's notebook after bringing Casemiro down as the Brazilian drove towards the Barcelona box. It's about the most richly-deserved yellow you could ever hope to see.

Madrid have a supremely enticing free-kick 30 yards or so out from goal, which Benzema looks like he fancies.


Modric skips his way into shooting space just inside the Barcelona area, but the Croat's strike is blocked.


Lionel Messi delivers a free-kick into the Real Madrid box from the left, and Barcelona are screaming for a penalty when Lenglet and Casemiro both tumble to the floor - but Jesús Gil Manzano blows for a free-kick to the hosts.


This is turning into a very lively game. Messi jinks his way to the left-hand byline before clipping a cross towards Dembélé, who must surely score if he connects. However, he can't quite get his head to the ball.


Goal! Benzema scores with the cutest of backheels!

It's great play from Valverde, who charges forward into the Barcelona box before releasing the ball to Vázquez wide on the right, where he crosses low towards Benzema's run to the near post.

It's slightly behind the striker - but that's no problem for a man in the kind of form he's in: he produces a deft, deft flick to turn the ball in past Ter Stegen at the German's near post!

First blood to Madrid, and that's nine in 10 for Benzema.


Pedri scurries towards the Real Madrid box and exchanges passes first with Ousmane Dembélé, then with Lionel Messi, but Ferland Mendy runs the Barcelona youngsters off it before he can pull the trigger.

Back come Barça, though, and Jordi Alba very nearly lays on the opener for Dembélé!

The Argentine is given far too much time and space to turn and scamper at a back-pedalling Madrid defence, before slipping Alba into crossing space on the left-hand side of the area.

The left-back pulls it back first-time, but with Dembélé waiting to turn it home at the far post, Thibaut Courtois just manages to get a hand to the cross to divert it away from the Frenchman!

Óscar Mingueza then blasts the loose ball over the bar.


Barcelona's players want a yellow card for Fede Valverde after the Uruguayan brings his midfield counterpart down, but referee Jesús Gil Manzano lets Valverde away with a minor ticking-off.


It's been all Barcelona ball so far... but Real Madrid are oh, so close to catching Marc-André ter Stegen out and getting Karim Benzema through on goal.

The Barça keeper plays a slightly lackadaisical ball out from the back that an alert Casemiro gets to before Sergio Busquets. He plays it first-time to Benzema on the edge of the box, but the Frenchman clearly wasn't expecting a gift of such epic proportions and can't get his feet sorted out in time to control.

If he had, he would have had a golden opportunity to give Madrid an early lead.

Given the scoring run Benzema's on - eight goals in his last nine games in all competitions - you wouldn't have bet against him doing just that.

Peeeep! The Clásico is underway!

Messi two off Gento's Clásico wins haul

As Lionel Messi prepares to equal Sergio Ramos' Clásico appearance record of 45 tonight, the Barcelona star also has the chance to go within one of Real Madrid legend Paco Gento's all-time high of 21 wins in the fixture.

Barça colleagues Sergio Busquets and Gerard Piqué can move on to 19, meanwhile.

All-time head to head

Real Madrid 97 - 96 Barcelona

Tonight will be the 246th Clásico, with the Estadio Alfredo di Stéfano becoming the 12th different stadium to host a meeting between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Currently, Madrid have the all-time edge over Barça, with 97 victories to the Catalans’ 96 - so tonight is also an opportunity for Ronald Koeman’s men to level things up in that regard.

Check out some more pre-match Clásico stats

Barcelona can equal club-record away run tonight; Madrid also on unbeaten LaLiga streak

Barcelona’s excellent run of LaLiga form has seen the Catalans win each of their last nine away games in the Spanish top flight - and they’ll equal a club record if they can claim a 10th successive victory on the road tonight.

The only other Barça sides to win 10 on the spin away from home in LaLiga were Pep Guardiola's 2010/11 team, and Tito Vilanova's 2012/13 vintage.

While Barça are currently in the midst of a 19-game unbeaten LaLiga run, Real Madrid have also set about accruing a nice little undefeated sequence of their own: Los Blancos now haven't lost in nine in the league, and in 12 in all competitions.

Tonight's teams are both in very decent nick.



What the coaches said: Ronald Koeman

Lionel Messi:

"Hopefully Messi will be decisive for us tomorrow. We need the best Messi, but above all we need the best Barça.”

Clásico impact on LaLiga title race:

"The result in principle is not decisive because there are still many games to go and it will be difficult to win every game. But it is true that the team that wins will see their morale increased.”

Clásico emotions:

"El Clásico is a different game from the others, there is always a lot of emotion. Barça are having a great season, with many points achieved that allows us to fight for La Liga, but Madrid is still Madrid and we have to respect them and be at our best.”

Barça improvement since first Clásico of the season:

"We have improved a lot from the last Clásico. Although in the last Clásico we played well, in my opinion. We were better in the first half, but we lost in the second half with the intervention of the VAR. But we have improved in effectiveness."

(Photo: Miguel Ruiz/Diario AS)


What the coaches said: more from Real Madrid boss Zidane

Lionel Messi:

"We know what a player he is, but they're a very good team and we'll have to try to stop them playing to their strengths and be as good as we can be on the ball and play as best as we can."

Injured captain Sergio Ramos, who is out of contract at the end of the season:

"Hopefully he's not played his last Clásico. He won't be fit tomorrow, which is a shame, but I hope he stays here”

Clásico decisive in title race?

"I'm not thinking about losing or losing ground. We'll see what the situation is at the end of the game; we're going to give our all, we're positive and want to play our best game."


In-form Messi's final Clásico? Zidane hopes not

Lionel Messi's 16 LaLiga goals since the turn of the year have been crucial in helping Barcelona put together a run of 19 games unbeaten in the league - a sequence that has taken them to within a point of Atlético Madrid in top spot.

Given that Messi is out of contract this summer, though, this could be the in-form Argentine’s 45th and last Clásico - but Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane hopes that’s not the case.

"I hope it's not [Messi's last Clásico],” Zidane told reporters on Friday. “I want him to stay at Barcelona, it's good for the Spanish league.”

Messi leads the 2020/21 LaLiga scoring charts with 23 goals, four ahead of Villarreal’s Gerard Moreno and Atlético Madrid’s Luis Suárez.

Real Madrid team announced!

Starting line-up: Courtois, Vázquez, Militao, Nacho, Mendy, Casemiro, Kroos, Modric, Valverde, Benzema, Vinicius

Substitutes: Lunin, Altube, Asensio, Marcelo, Odriozola, Isco, Mariano, Rodrygo

Valverde comes into midfield, Asensio drops to bench

Zinedine Zidane opts to sacrifice Marco Asensio, despite the forward scoring in each of his last four Madrid appearances, for the midfield energy of Fede Valverde. Having played in a 4-3-3 formation against Liverpooll in midweek, Los Blancos will set up in something more closely resembling a 4-4-2, one would imagine.

Barcelona team news in!

Starting line-up: Ter Stegen, Mingueza, Araújo, Lenglet, Dest, Busquets, Pedri, De Jong, Alba, Messi, Dembélé

Substitutes: Piqué, Griezmann, Puig, Braithwaite, Firpo, Roberto, Trincao, Umtiti, Ilaix, Tenas, Peña, Pjanic

Araújo in, Griezmann out

Barça boss Ronald Koeman restores Ronald Araújo to his three-man defence, with Frenkie de Jong returning to the midfield. Antoine Griezmann drops to the bench.

Fit-again defender Gerard Piqué, who is back in the Barça squad just over a month after his last Blaugrana appearance, is among the substitutes.

Clásico appearances

Messi to equal Ramos' Clásico appearance record

Lionel Messi is due to play against Real Madrid for the 45th time in his Barcelona career tonight, in the process pulling level with injured Madrid captain Sergio Ramos’ Clásico appearance record.

That will by no means be Messi’s first piece of Clásico history: he’s already the fixture’s highest ever scorer with 26, and has supplied more Clásico assists - 14 - than any other player.

He’s also one of only five men to have hit two Clásico hat-tricks.

Full story: Messi set for record-equalling Clásico appearance


Who is Jesús Gil Manzano, the referee for Real Madrid vs Barcelona?

Jesús Gil Manzano is the only referee to have sent Lionel Messi off in the entirety of the Barcelona skipper's club career.

In what was his most recent Barça assignment, the official gave the star his marching orders for lashing out at Athletic Club's Asier Villalibre in the Blaugrana's 3-2 Spanish Super Cup final defeat to the Basques.

Full story: Who is Jesús Gil Manzano, the referee for Real Madrid vs Barcelona?

Mateu Lahoz

Injured Mateu Lahoz replaced as Clásico ref

Antonio Mateu Lahoz was originally appointed as the referee for today's Clásico, only for the Spanish Football Federation to reveal on Friday morning that the 44-year-old has suffered a muscle injury that rules him out of the game.

Mateu Lahoz has been replaced by Jesús Gil Manzano, who takes charge of the second Clásico of his career.

Gil Manzano, 37, was the man in the middle for Real Madrid's 3-1 win over Barcelona at the Bernabéu back in October 2014.

Full story: Injury rules Mateu Lahoz out of Clásico

(Photo: Óscar del Pozo/AFP)

Barcelona to wear special shirt in El Clásico

Barcelona won't be playing their regular home shirt tonight. They'll pull on a special-edition jersey that blends their club colours with those of the Catalan flag, known as the 'Senyera'.

"The shirt combines in its design the roots of the Club and Culer pride, emphasizing the values ​​that unite us and everything that makes us who we are," Barça say on their website.

Here it is modelled by legendary former Barça captain Carles Puyol:

Laporta in Madrid for first Clásico since return as Barcelona chief

New Barcelona president Joan Laporta, who was elected as Camp Nou chief in a landslide victory in March, was among the travelling party that flew to Madrid earlier today.

In the lead-up to the Barça presidential elections, Laporta memorably hung a multi-storey-high campaign banner on a building close to the Bernabéu, with the slogan: "Looking forward to seeing you again." He gets his wish tonight!

Laporta, 58, was also Barça president from 2003 to 2010, a period in which the Catalans earned a good few away wins over their arch rivals, most notably a 6-2 drubbing in 2009 that he dubbed the "seventh trophy" of a calendar year that saw them lift six pieces of major silverware.

El Clásico

Real Madrid - Barcelona: possible starting line-ups for El Clásico

Ahead of tonight's clash, AS English's Andy Hall has looked at what the Real Madrid and Barcelona line-ups could be at the Estadio Alfredo di Stéfano - and he reckons we could well see two sides unchanged from their most recent games.

Full story: Real Madrid vs Barcelona: predicted starting XIs

El Clásico

El Clásico: Real Madrid - Barcelona: injured and suspended players

We've prepared an in-depth look at which Real Madrid and Barcelona players have been ruled out of this evening's clash at the Estadio Alfredo di Stéfano:

Who is unavailable for El Clásico? Full lowdown

Barcelona squad for El Clásico

The major Barcelona squad news is the return of Gerard Piqué and Sergi Roberto to Ronald Koeman's matchday group.

A knee injury has prevented Piqué from playing for the Blaugrana since their dramatic Copa del Rey semi-final win over Sevilla at the start of March, while Roberto has been sidelined for just over two months with a hamstring issue.

Neto (ankle), Philippe Coutinho (knee) and Ansu Fati (knee) remain out injured.

Real Madrid squad for El Clásico

Having been included in the Real Madrid squad for Tuesday's Champions League win over Liverpool, 'B'-team players Víctor Chust and Sergio Arribas drop out of Los Blancos' matchday group for El Clásico, which is otherwise unchanged.

Eden Hazard has been back in training after recovering from injury, but Madrid's clash with Barça comes too soon for the Belgian, with boss Zinedine Zidane unwilling to rush his return.

Raphaël Varane again misses out in the wake of his positive coronavirus test just before the Liverpool game, while fellow defenders Dani Carvajal (hamstring) and Sergio Ramos (knee) also remain in the Madrid sick bay.


Real Madrid vs Barcelona | El Clásico: time, date and how to watch on TV and online

If you're still wondering how you can tune into tonight's Real Madrid vs Barcelona clash, you may wish to take a look at our guide on how and where to watch.

LaLiga table

Clásico live build-up: preamble

Morning/afternoon/evening! Welcome to our live coverage of a Clásico that looks like having a big old say in the LaLiga title race - far bigger than had seemed likely a couple of months ago.

After a 4-2 win over Cádiz on 31 January, LaLiga leaders Atlético Madrid went into February a full 10 points clear of both Madrid and Barcelona at the top of the table - with a game in hand, to boot.

However, Diego Simeone’s men have won just four of their last 10 league games since then, while Madrid and Barça have put together runs that have allowed them to roar back into contention for the championship.

Having won 14 of their last 19 in LaLiga since a shock November home loss to Alavés, Madrid have closed the gap on Atleti to three points; Barça, meanwhile, have reeled Los Rojiblancos in to within just the one point, bouncing back from defeat at Cádiz in December to register 16 victories and three draws in the last 19.

All of which means today’s winner will lead LaLiga overnight, knocking Atlético off top spot - albeit provisionally - for the first time since December. Los Colchoneros visit Real Betis on Sunday evening.