Today’s Clasico between Real Madrid and Barcelona is integral in deciding the destination of La Liga. Both coaches, Zinedine Zidane and Ronald Koeman, will want to have the maximum number of troops available to them with, as noted by Mundo Deportivo, several men fighting to get up to speed ahead of the first whistle.
Gerard Pique has made it into Koeman’s squad, although he only trained with the group in full on Friday. Koeman spoke pre-game about the importance of having characters like Pique in the team, but he’s not expected to be in the starting eleven. Sergi Roberto is also in the squad despite not having really gotten up to speed since his injury. He’s been training more with the group than Pique, but it’s unlikely he’ll start from the beginning.
Dani Carvajal looked as if he’d be back to start for Madrid, with the defender training with the group on Wednesday. He suffered a slight setback the next day, however, and didn’t make it into Zidane’s matchday squad. Eden Hazard is in a similar boat. The Belgian had been working with the group for the week, but Madrid want to re-introduce him cautiously rather than risk him.
Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane are longer-term absentees for Madrid, while Ansu Fati, Philippe Coutinho and Neto are their Barcelona counterparts. Even with their absences, however, there’s still plenty of talent on show from both teams.