Whether it be the engine of Luka Modric, the intelligence of Sergio Busquets or the feet of Lionel Messi… Guillem Balague runs through what makes El Clasico’s ultimate player.
Sky Sports’ Spanish football expert runs us through the best traits from the current crop of Real Madrid and Barcelona players ahead of Saturday’s Clasico at the Bernabeu.
Barcelona currently lead Real Madrid in the La Liga standings by three points, but lost this fixture 3-1 last season in October.
Real take on Barca from 5pm live on Sky Sports 2, while you can watch theSaturday Night Football clash between Manchester City and Liverpool simultaneously using our split-screen function in HD by pressing the red button on Sky Sports 1.
Intelligence – Sergio Busquets (Barcelona)
GUILLEM SAYS: I am spoilt for choice but Busquets is one no manager would argue against. For years he was undervalued by non-Barcelona fans, but now everybody who knows the game agrees he is the perfect central midfielder. His positioning, decision-making and passing is brilliant.
Vision – Andres Iniesta (Barcelona)
GUILLEM SAYS: He has brilliant vision when there is just no space, he can also find a gap while he is running, trying to beat defenders at pace. Nothing he does is for effect, but he is elegant as well as very efficient in picking out players.
Engine – Luka Modric (Real Madrid)
GUILLEM SAYS: He will not stop running and as the modern midfielder he is, he uses his quality to beat players with dribbling or a pass, but will put a huge amount of work rate to close down the opposition. He does not need to tackle to recover possession, as his positioning is very intelligent.
Goalkeeping – Claudio Bravo (Barcelona)
GUILLEM SAYS: Efficient and hardly ever spectacular. He does everything well; he’s fantastic one v one, he gets down to his right or left quickly, and he is strong on aerial balls. If I had one criticism, he could improve with his passing range.
Strength – Javier Mascherano (Barcelona)
GUILLEM SAYS: He finishes every game with pains everywhere. He does not hide from any physical battle and despite his size, he has been fighting with centre-forwards for years and has come out on top more often than not.
Aggression – Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)
GUILLEM SAYS: Sergio would not get sent off so often in England, but in Spain his physical strength gets punished. He rushes to decisions sometimes and his constant pain in his shoulder could make him lose focus in the Clasico.
Skill – Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
GUILLEM SAYS: The man with the 360 vision. He has the ability to dribble in the smallest of spaces with that skill of touching the ball double amount of any other player. He is creative and has explosive pace, and it makes him so hard to defend against. The world’s best-ever player.