Barcelona vs Real Madrid: Preview and Prediction
Barcelona has played twice this summer, drawing 1-1 with Olot before thrashing Inter Miami 6-0, but Real Madrid has not played since winning the Champions League final 1-0 against Liverpool at the end of May.
New signing Raphinha contributed a goal and two assists in his debut outing for the Blaugrana as goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Ansu Fati, Gavi, Memphis Depay, and Ousmane Dembele earned Barcelona their first win of the pre-season schedule.
Barcelona’s pre-season squad has been boosted with the arrival of Robert Lewandowski from Bayern Munich. The Poland captain signed a four-year contract with the Catalan club and could make his first bow for La Liga giants against Real Madrid on Sunday.
The Blaugrana’s other signings, Frank Kessie and Andreas Christensen, also made their debuts for the 26-time Spanish champions.
Meanwhile, current La Liga and UEFA Champions League champions Real Madrid begin their three-match pre-season 2022-23 tour against Barcelona. Los Blancos have made a solitary addition in defender Antonio Rudiger, who arrived on a free transfer from Chelsea.
In turn, Real Madrid saw seven players depart the club including long-serving players Marcelo, Isco and Gareth Bale. The trio, who won multiple domestic and continental titles during their stay at the club, left the Galacticos following the conclusion of their respective contracts.
With his move to the Blaugrana now official, Lewandowski could make his debut for Barcelona, though it is unlikely that he will start. Instead, the striker could come off the bench.
Gerard Pique and Ferran Torres will both be hoping to play for the Catalans after missing out against Inter Miami due to fitness issues, while Sergio Busquets, Ronald Araujo, Jordi Alba, and Gavi could all return after missing out against Inter Miami.
Due to speculation surrounding his future, Frenkie de Jong is unlikely to start, with Pedri, Gavi, and Busquets expected to play behind Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Ferran Torres, and Raphinha, with Ousmane Dembele and Memphis Depay potentially featuring off the bench for the Catalan outfit.
Summer signings Rudiger and Tchouameni could both start El Clasico for Real Madrid, with the former potentially playing alongside Eder Militao in the middle of the defence.
As a result, David Alaba could start at left-back, with Toni Kroos and Casemiro possibly joining Tchouameni in a midfield three. Eden Hazard, Rodrygo, Vinicius Junior, and Karim Benzema are among the players in a strong squad, with all four expected to play at some point during the competition.
Despite being strongly linked with a summer exit, Marco Asensio is also in the squad, and it remains to be seen how involved he is over the summer amid the speculation surrounding his future.
What have they done so far?
Barcelona began their pre-season preparations with a 1-1 draw against Olot on July 13 before travelling to the United States last weekend for their pre-season tour. On Tuesday night, the Catalan giants defeated Inter Miami 6-0, with goals from Aubameyang, Raphinha, Ansu Fati, Gavi, Memphis, and Dembele against Phil Neville’s side in Florida.
Xavi’s team will play Real Madrid, Juventus, and the New York Red Bulls in their final three summer friendlies before facing Pumas in the Joan Gamper Trophy on August 7; the team’s 2022-23 La Liga season will then begin at home against Rayo Vallecano on August 13.
Barcelona made four signings during the summer window, bringing in Andreas Christensen and Franck Kessie on free transfers, as well as Raphinha and Robert Lewandowski in big-money deals, demonstrating the club’s ability to make some statement acquisitions despite financial difficulties.
Last season, Barcelona finished second in La Liga, 13 points behind champions Real Madrid, who won 2-1 at Camp Nou in the league near the start of the 2021-22 season. Barcelona, on the other hand, thrashed Los Blancos 4-0 at the Bernabeu in March, with Xavi’s team sending a message with the dominant victory in El Clasico.
While the 2021-22 season was a disappointment for Barcelona, the same cannot be said for Real Madrid, which won the La Liga and Champions League double.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side was too strong for the rest of the competition in Spain’s top flight, finishing 13 points ahead of second-place Barcelona with 26 wins, 8 draws, and 4 defeats from 38 matches.
The Spanish champions strengthened their squad this summer with the additions of Aurelien Tchouameni and Antonio Rudiger; Kylian Mbappe was also expected to arrive on a free transfer, but the France international chose to sign a new contract with Paris Saint-Germain instead.
Ancelotti recently stated that the club’s transfer business is complete but it would not be surprising to see them add another new signing before the window closes, as a number of first-team players are currently linked with moves away from the club.
Head to Head Record
In terms of head-to-head competition, Barcelona leads with 116 wins in 282 matches across all competitions – including exhibition games (friendlies). Real Madrid, on the other hand, has a record of 104 victories.
However, when it comes to the El Clasico head-to-head in official matches, Real has won 100 games to Barcelona’s 97 in 249 meetings.
Predicted Starting XIs
FC Barcelona (4-3-3): Marc-Andre ter Stegen; Sergino Dest, Ronald Araujo, Andreas Christensen, Jordi Alba; Gavi, Sergio Busquets, Pedri; Ferran Torres, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Raphinha
Real Madrid (4-3-3): Thibaut Courtois; Dani Carvajal, Éder Militão, Antonio Rudiger, David Alaba; Aurélien Tchouaméni, Casemiro, Toni Kroos; Rodrygo, Karim Benzema, Vinícius Júnior
Matches between Barcelona and Real Madrid are always important affairs, and despite the fact that this is a pre-season friendly, there are a number of talking points surrounding this fixture. It has all the makings of an open and entertaining match, and we anticipate a high-scoring 2-2 draw in Las Vegas.