Every year, the matches between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona monopolize the attention of the whole world.
If the departures of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have impacted the dynamics of this "Spanish derby", the meeting has recently taken a second wind.
This season, the two teams have already faced each other twice: the first in the league, which saw Real win at home (3-1 on October 16), and the second time in the final of the Spanish Super Cup, ends with a victory for FC Barcelona (3-1), synonymous with the first trophy of the Xavi era.
Barça, then in full swing, was in full series of invincibility and deprived Real Madrid of a title.
La Liga fixtures and results
No revenge, but title objective for Real
On January 15, in the Spanish Super Cup final, FC Barcelona made short work of their rival (3-1) in a one-sided Clasico.
An oh so important victory, since Real Madrid, if successful, would have returned to equality with… FC Barcelona, as the most successful club in the history of the competition.
"In the Spanish Super Cup final, we lacked commitment, sharpness, we had made too many individual errors."
declared Carlo Ancelotti in a pre-match press conference.
When this team is close to a title, the pressure cooker heats up...
Carlo Ancelotti, Real Madrid coach
Despite this liability, this semi-final first leg is not a revenge on the side of Madrid.
Ancelotti simply sees it as an opportunity to win a new title.
“The desire, we don't have it because we want to take our revenge for the Spanish Super Cup.
We have it because we are very close to a title.
And when this team is close to a title, the pressure cooker heats up … ”
warned the Merengues coach.
Read alsoChampions League: Real offers a new legendary comeback against City and will find Liverpool in the final
It must be said that Real knows how to surpass itself.
Last year, the club from the Spanish capital had a historic Champions League campaign, knocking down some absolutely insane games, including against PSG and Manchester City.
A characteristic that is definitely inscribed in the club's DNA.
This year again, Benzema and his teammates were able to reverse the trend in the electric atmosphere of Anfield.
Led 2-0 after a quarter of an hour, Real will eventually win 2-5.
I have no words.
We are used to doing remounts.
We didn't give up, we were able to come back, score and then not concede goals said Camavinga after the match.
Barça in doubt
In Barcelona, barely ten days ago, the sun shone in the sky.
The Catalans topped La Liga, eight points clear of second-placed Real Madrid.
Better, the men of Xavi were undefeated since October 26, during the 0-3 defeat against Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
But since then, a few clouds have been hanging over the Camp Nou.
It all started on February 23, when Barça traveled to Manchester United for the decisive round of 16 second leg of the Europa League.
A match lost by Xavi's men, synonymous with elimination from the European Cup.
Three days after this setback, Busquets and his teammates went to the lawn of Almeria, modest 15th in La Liga.
What to regain the hair of the beast, knowing that Almeria does not
has never won a single match in its history against Barça.
Dominating but feverish, and even nervous, Barça was surprised (1-0).
First defeat in the league since October 16, against Real Madrid.
Xavi knows that the atmosphere around his team is not ideal.
“It's a Cup semi-final, plus it's a Clasico.
Real Madrid are the favourites, as they are Champions League and La Liga champions.
Whatever the result of the Super Cup (won by Barça on January 15), it comes at the right time.
Real are the favourites,”
declared the Spanish technician at a press conference, trying to put pressure on the opposing camp.
Robert Lewandowski will be absent against Real for the first leg of the King's Cup semi-final.
JORGE GUERRERO / AFP
The Blaugranas still have a seven-point lead in the league, but there is no doubt that a third loss in a row in all competitions would make the Barcelona sky roar, as well as its supporters.
Especially since Xavi will have to deal without Dembélé injured for a long time, Pedri
according to his own coach, affected in the hamstrings, and Lewandowski, injured after the meeting against Almeria.