Real Madrid will square off against Barcelona in what promises to be a thrilling clash at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano on Saturday, April 10. The LaLiga fixture between the two teams is scheduled to commence at 9:00 PM local time (Sunday, April 11 at 12:30 AM IST). However, social media has been abuzz over whether or not Barcelona's Lionel Messi will feature in the game against Zinedine Zidane's side.
Real Madrid are currently in third place on the LaLiga table, just two points behind second-placed Barcelona and three behind league leaders Atletico Madrid. Zinedine Zidane's men unbeaten are in LaLiga since the end of January and the defending LaLiga champions have won seven and drawn three of their last 10 league matches to claw themselves back into title contention.
Meanwhile, Barcelona have enjoyed a six-game winning streak in LaLiga, a run that has propelled them to second in the league standings. Ronald Koeman's men earned a crucial 1-0 win over Real Valladolid in LaLiga on Monday night with Ousmane Dembele scoring in the 90th minute of the game. A win for either team on Saturday night will see them move to the summit of the LaLiga table for at least 24 hours and possibly longer.
So far, there have been no reports stating that Messi sustained an injury prior to El Clasico. However, he entered the game against Valladolid on four yellow cards and another booking would have seen the Argentine suspended for the massive game on Saturday. Messi was spotted training with his Barcelona teammates this week and looked in good spirits.
Barcelona will be hoping for Messi to continue his scintillating form heading into the fixture against Real Madrid. The six-time Ballon d'Or winner has scored 29 goals and racked up 10 assists in all competitions for the Catalan giants this season. He is expected to start in attack for Barcelona at the Spanish capital on Saturday.
Astonishingly, Messi has not scored in a Clasico since the 2017/18 campaign, when Barcelona drew 2-2 with Real Madrid at the Camp Nou. However, he is still the all-time top scorer in this fixture with 26 goals to his name. He will be looking to add to that tally at the weekend.
The visitors, however, will be without the services of Philippe Coutinho and Ansu Fati, who are ruled out with knee injuries. Although centre-back Gerard Pique has made huge steps forward in his recovery from a knee problem, the defender might start the game on the bench.