Real Madrid v Barcelona: La Liga – live | La Liga

Key events

11 min Madrid knock it about outside the Barca box, Modric moving and dictating. He feeds Lucas Vazquez, whose cross is cleared, the Bellingham plays into Rodrygo, whose backheeled return asks too much of his mate.

10 min Yeah, Madrid are pushing the pace now, Camavinga charging down the left and running out of pitch. Back to the goal, Lunin is the latest to prove my unarguable footballing truth: dodgy keepers save penalties.

8 min The game hadn’t got going yet; well it has now! And back coem Madriud, Tchouameni flipping into the box, where Luka Ormondroyd wins the flick-on … and on the stretch, Vinicius sends his shot over the top! He made decent contact there, and that little passage showed how easy it can be to carve out a scoring opportunity.

GOAL! Real Madrid 0-1 Barcelona (Christensen 6)

He’s a goalmachine! One in Paris and now, when Raphinha swings in a brute, Lunin flaps underneath it and Christensen nods into the unguarded net! The title race is still alive!

5 min Barca win a corner down the right, Araujo and Christensen tramping forward.

4 min We’ve not got going yet but Madrid suddenly swarm forward, Valverde leading the charge, but when the ball reaches Vinicius on the edge, his shot is blocked at source.

2 min Mistake from Lunin, dipping shoulder to evade Lewandowski before passing straight to Raphinha; he can’t control and Tchouameni sweeps clear.

1 min I guess Xavi is looking to nick this, staying solid and hoping his attackers can conjure sufficient. That feels like a forlorn hope, but if his back four play well, Barca have a chance.

1 min And away we go!

We’re ready to go…

Our teams are tunnelled … and here they come! What a feeling this must be, walking up those stairs and out into this. Enjoy it, boys.

Is tonight a good time to play Madrid? They expended a lot of energy at City, physically and emotionally. The experience of Modric and Kroos might help in that aspect, especially because Barca’s midfield doesn’t look equipped to run them out of it.

In the studio, Albert Ferrer is talking about Raphinha’s new hybrid attacking midfield/winger role. He’s looked good recently, but it’s the lad on the opposite flank who we’ll all be watching; Lamine Yamal is a potential superstar, and will fancy himself against both Madrid full-backs.

How funny that while Kroos and Modric are in tandem once more, Casemiro is chipping penalties straight to Champo goalies. I wonder if Ancelotti is anticipating a slow-paced game after both sides exerted themselves so ferociously in midweek; I guess Marca’s midfield isn’t the most physical, so he’s trusting class and nous above legs and physicality.

“Had not seen the Bernabeu redesign until today,” admits Sean Orlowicz. “It looks like a very large external hard drive. What an atrocity.”

I dunno. I think it looks quite sleek, though not like Archibald Leitch designed it, and inside I’m sure it’s still one of, if not the greatest footballing theatre in the world.

Email! “I have no horse in this race,” says Adam Griffiths, “but Barcelona putting out their line-up in squad number rather than position order means I want them to get a) fired from a catapult into a volcano and b) a right doing tonight.”

I am, of course, impartial, but also I can’t argue with facts.

I guess what Christensen might give Barca is a passing option. Both he and and De Jong can drop in between the centre-backs and move the ball forward, but it means there’s a lot of creative responsibility on Ilkay Gundogan.

Back to Pedri, I really, really hope he can get himself fit enough to be the player he should be: the best or among the best of his generation. The combination of eye, technique and intelligence is sensational.

The Bernabéu looks swish from on top, it has to be said. Not much like a football ground, more a space station – or, put another way, they might’ve copied the Reebok.

Photograph: Don Mcphee/The Guardian

As for Barca, they make one change from their midweek horror: Pedri drops to the bench, with Andreas Christensen taking his place in midfield. That feels a bit like replacing your strimmer with a brick, but there you go.

Those teams, then. Real Madrid welcome back Aurélien Tchouaméni, who’ll play centre-back; he replaces Nacho, who served his earthly purpose in midweek. At right-back, Lucas Vázquez is in for Dani Carvajal, who might still be tired from his exertions well into next month; at left-back, Éduardo Camavinga moves out of midfield to replace Ferland Mendy; and into the gap in midfield arrives Luka Modric.

Aha, it appears our pre-match presentation amounts to … nothing? But Atlético are 1-0 down to Alavés with two minutes left – great news for Girona who, if the score remains the same, will be very close to the Champions League.

I’m just back from Wembley, 6 years older than I was this morning and am now getting myself sorted with a sub to the relevant channel. After which hen we’ll talk properly about what all this means.


They couldn’t could they? Barcelona begin today eight points off the top and by any measure are less good than Madrid, their European fortunes illustrating the gap: Barca lost a tie they might’ve won, Madrid won a much harder one they should’ve lost.

However! After ploughing through 90 minutes and extra time chasing the ball, it might just be that the euphoria and dump – physical and mental – extract a toll. And if they do, Barca absolutely have the players not only to win tonight but to make the title race a race again.

Because make no mistake, this Madrid side are not there yet, their presence at the top of the league and in the Champions League last four a reflection not of their coherence but of the incredible individuals who have defined their club since the fifties. Thing is, Barca are over-furnished in the same department, their attackers good enough to devastate any opponent and their defending improving.

As such, there’s plenty of added heat to a contest that requires no such thing. Let’s get involved!

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