El Clasico 2017: Real Madrid vs Barcelona team news and starting XI

Deepak Vikraman
Neymar, Barcelona, El Clasico 2017, Real Madrid, suspension

Will Neymar play for Barcelona in the El Clasico or won't he? Is Gareth Bale fit enough to take the field for Real Madrid? Plenty of team news questions to be answered as we head into the crucial El Clasico at the Bernabeu on Sunday.

Neymar was handed a three-match ban earlier this month by the Spanish federation, for a red card and his subsequent sarcastic reaction. That meant the Brazilian would miss the match against Real Madrid.

However, now, with lawyers and officials and a lot of others getting involved, arguing the validity of the of the ban, and a sneaky timing of the appeal by Barca, there are doubts over whether Neymar will be available for this big match.

The likelihood remains that Neymar, who has travelled with the Barcelona team, will miss out, and what Barcelona need to do is find a way to move on and score goals even with the Brazilian out of the lineup.

They certainly have the players to do that, starting, of course, with the main man Lionel Messi. With Luis Suarez and the rest of the Barcelona players as well desperate to bounce back from being eliminated by Juventus in the Champions League, expect the Real Madrid defence to be tested on Sunday.

While doubts remain over Neymar, Aleix Vidal and Rafinha are definitely out, with the Argentine Javier Mascherano a doubt.

Zinedine Zidane, Gareth Bale, Real Madrid, Barcelona, El Clasico 2017

Real Madrid are hopeful of having Bale fit and ready for the El Clasico, with the Welshman returning to training after missing the last few games with a muscle injury.

Zinedine Zidane's side entered the semifinals of the Champions League under controversial circumstances with a big win over Bayern Munich in midweek, and with Real Madrid doing that without Bale, it will be interesting to see if the French manager goes with the same playing XI.

That would mean Isco playing with Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored a hat-trick in the quarterfinal second leg against Bayern to go with the two he scored in Munich in the first leg.

Zidane is short at the back at the moment, with Pepe and Raphael Varane still on the treatment table.

Expected playing XI:

Real Madrid: Keylor Navas; Dani Carvajal, Nacho, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo; Luka Modric, Casemiro, Toni Kroos; Isco; Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo.

 

Barcelona: Marc-Andre Ter Stegen; Sergi Roberto, Gerard Pique, Samuel Umtiti, Jordi Alba; Ivan Rakitic, Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta; Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Arda Turan.

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