How many Ballon d'Or nominees will play in 2021 El Clásico?
FC Barcelona welcome Real Madrid at Camp Nou on Sunday for the first clash of the 2021/22 season between the two giants of the Spanish game.
Second placed Real Madrid travel to FC Barcelona (7th) on Sunday for the first 'El Clásico' clash of the new season with Ancelotti's men aiming for a win that would propel the side from the capital back to the LaLiga summit with current leaders Real Sociedad in action later on Sunday night.
Back-to-back FCB wins
Barcelona face 'Los Blancos' after two consecutive victories, against Valencia last weekend in LaLiga (2-1) and against Dinamo Kiev on Wednesday in the Champions League (1-0).
"We go into the game in a positive mindset" said Barça defender Jordi Alba, after the victory against Dinamo.
"We are prepared to win the game on Sunday," stated under fire head coach Ronald Koeman who also warned of the room for improvement that his team still has.
A win over Real Madrid would be a massive shot in the arm for the Catalan club who have had problems this season both on and off the pitch.
Real Madrid go into the game following a comfortable 0-5 away win over Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League with Ancelotti's men having last weekend's LaLiga clash called off die to the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifiers.
Balon d'Or candidates
Despite many detractors pointing to the absences of key stars such as Leo Messi, Sergio Ramos and Cristiano Ronaldo having diluted the impact of the game as a global phenomenon, the match still reserves the bragging right as "the biggest game in the world in terms of domestic football" with both sides full of talented players.
Sunday's game (in normal circumstances) would have seen three 2021 Ballon d'Or shortlisted stars in action with one from Barcelona in the shape of Canary Islander Pedri and 2018 winner Luka Modric and outside favourite Karim Benzema from Real Madrid. Barcelona's teenager however may not grace the Camp Nou turf with Pedri expected to be ruled out as he is still not 100% fit after he picked up a thigh injury on 15 September against Bayern Munich.
The 2021 Ballon d'Or winner will be revealed at the annual ceremony which will be staged in Paris on Monday 29, November.
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