Real Madrid are set to host Barcelona in a season-defining El Clasico match on Sunday. After the Blaugrana reclaimed the top spot last weekend thanks to an enthralling 5-0 win over Eibar, Los Blancos will consider this a must-win encounter.
Consequently, Zinedine Zidane is likely to field a strong line-up against the Catalans. Fresh off a Champions League loss to Manchester City, the players are bound to be deflated in terms of morale but the Frenchman will have to trust his men to hit back against their arch-rivals at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Ahead of the exciting fixture, we take a look at three Real Madrid players who could shine against Barcelona:
Casemiro, who is a fan favourite at the Bernabeu, is one of the key players who could influence the game in Real Madrid's favour.
The midfielder has had a quiet couple of matches since his groundbreaking performances against Atletico Madrid and Osasuna at the start of this month but he will be looking to bounce back and start March off on a good note.
The Brazilian has been one of Los Blancos' best performers this season which shouldn't come as a surprise considering the fact that he plays one of the most important roles in the team. As many of his midfield counterparts like to push further up the field, Casemiro is happy to cover the backline. While he does like to push forward himself, he understands that he will have to be sensible against Barcelona since they have talented midfielders.
Midfield battles have become an iconography of the all-important El Clasico fixture over the years and while the excitement may not be what it once was, the talent will always remain. Casemiro is tipped to play a pivotal role for Real Madrid and Zidane will be counting on him to be in his best form.
Isco has enjoyed a good run of form of late and Zidane will see it as perfect timing. Having scored against Osasuna and Manchester City recently, the midfielder will hope to add to his tally against Barcelona.
The Spaniard will likely be used as a left-sided forward which means he will come up against Nelson Semedo on Sunday. Semedo is a natural attacking full-back who likes to get forward and help his side out by crossing the ball into the box. As a result, Isco will attempt to keep up with the 26-year-old and utilise any space given to him.
Isco provides plenty of flair on the ball and he has the touch of a genius. Individual strokes of brilliance have proven to be the telling factor of El Clasico over the decades, which is why the fixture is world-renowned. This time, the 27-year-old has the ideal opportunity to etch his name in the books with a spectacular performance.
#3 Sergio Ramos
Sergio Ramos is a constant figure in the squad when Real Madrid meet Barcelona. He is one of the remaining players of El Clasico's golden generation and will do everything in his power to prevent Lionel Messi from having his say in the game.
The Spaniard picked up a red card in Madrid's Champions League defeat to Manchester City in midweek but will not miss Sunday's exciting La Liga clash.
Barcelona's Luis Suarez won't feature in this match due to injury, leaving Ramos with a comparatively easier task although it is unlikely that he would be fazed either way. Throughout his career, the notorious centre-back has established himself as one of the greatest defenders of all time and his tendency to also score goals in important fixtures has helped solidify this title.
Ramos will accompany Raphael Varane in the defence as the partnership has served Zidane well this season. Real Madrid have conceded only 17 goals this term, which is even less than the defensively-renowned Atletico Madrid. A clean sheet is what the defender will strive for on the night and he will stop at nothing to get what he wants.
Published 29 Feb 2020, 06:38 IST