The biggest and the most widely watched club encounter in football is back this Sunday- the El Clasico. Each and every El Clasico is unique in its own way. A football fiesta, it is a battle for pride and supremacy, one that is stained with sweat and blood. So what does this El Clasico bring us? What’s really at stake as Real Madrid and Barcelona come head-to-head on Sunday at the Santiago Bernabeu?

Well, for starters, the La Liga is at stake this El Clasico. Real Madrid is currently leading the table, 4 points clear of Barcelona and 3 clear of city-rivals Atletico Madrid. This is the first time in many years that the Spanish La Liga has been a three-horse race and Diego Simeoneai??i??s Atletico is one that cannot be trifled with this year. So if Real Madrid manage to beat Barcelona, they will open a 7 point lead over reigning Champions which means that the Catalans will have almost no chance of making a comeback. There are only 9 games left after this week which means that the room for error is almost negligible. Atletico Madrid face bottom-placed Real Betis and are expected to win 3 points this weekend.Ai??Ai?? Which means that a loss for Barcelona will prove to be fatal for their league campaign under Tata Martino as they will be 7 points behind Real and 4 points behind Atletico Madrid. It means Barcelona will be dangerously close to finishing third this season.

The stage is set for the world's best players

The stage is set for the world’s best players

On the other hand, if Barcelona manage to beat Real Madrid in their own back yard then the Catalans will only be a single point behind the Los Blancos and will keep neck-to-neck with Atletico Madrid, assuming Diego Simeone can earn 3 points against Real Betis. A win for Barcelona in the El Clasico will bring the chase for La Liga to a climactic finish. Real and Atletico Madrid will be tied for the first spot and Barcelona will only be a single point behind them. And lastly, if the El Clasico plays out to a draw, Real Madrid will still lead the table, but only with one point while Atletico will open a 3 point lead over Barcelona. With Atletico Madrid still due to play Barcelona this season, the race for the Spanish La Liga is sure to head towards a heated finish.

Apart from the fate of the Spanish title, another thing that is at stake in the El Clasico is Barcelonaai??i??s future. Appointed at the beginning of the season, Tata Martino has failed at Camp Nou if one is to judge him by Barcelonaai??i??s recent performances. He has failed to motivate his players and the result is clear for everyone to see. They dropped points against minnows and have failed to play in their usual style. The Barcelona of 2014 is not one that is to be feared but one that has shown chinks in itai??i??s armour. Added to the on-field problem is the off-field controversies that have dogged the Catalans. The Neymar controversy is only getting more complicated and has already resulted in Sandro Rosellai??i??s resignation. The Camp Nou has turned hostile and the fans have made their anger clear to the players and officials by not turning up for certain matches. Hence if Barcelona are to lose against arch-rivals Real Madrid, they will risk alienating their fans and further compounding talks of a ai???crisisai??i??.

(c)www(dot)aldia(dot)cr_Gareth-Bale-Neymar-Madrid-Barcelona_ALDIMA20131003_0045_3

Will they live up to their billing?

And lastly, the El Clasico is not just a battle for Spanish supremacy but it is a platform for players to showcase their talent and make headlines. The most watched club match in Europe, the Clasico is the stage where the worldai??i??s best players have written the script for their illustrious careers. It is not only about Ronaldo and Messi, but this time it will also be about Bale and Neymar, two important summer signings for both the clubs. Remember Varane, who rose to prominence after his fantastic display in last yearai??i??s El Clasicos. The 20 year old went on to establish himself in the starting eleven and also earned a spot in the national squad. Who knows whose turn it is this time?

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