Barca, Real clash in El Clasico minus demigods Messi and Ronaldo
When El Clasico is played it is more than just a football match, it is a clash of cultures, a wrangling of ideologies and, of course, a showdown between the best footballers in the world.
But on Sunday when eternal rivals Barcelona and Real Madrid clash at the camp Nou (kick off 6:15pm Kenyan time) the world’s biggest club football rivalry will miss the two names that have dominated this fixture for the last 10 years.
With Real Madrid’s all-time leading scorer, Cristiano Ronaldo, long gone to Juventus and Barcelona captain Lionel Messi sitting out the fixture with an injury, this weekend’s El Clasico will for the first time since December 2007 miss both players.
The El Clasico has for the past 10 years practically been a personal playground for two larger-than-life global icons.
Cristiano Ronaldo, departed for Juventus last summer after a nine-year stay in Madrid that yielded 450 goals and 15 trophies including four Champions League crowns.
Messi, on his part, scored and then went off injured with a fractured arm as Barca thrashed Sevilla 4-2 at Camp Nou last weekend.
Indeed, Messi has missed just two Clasicos since making his Blaugrana debut in 2004, neither of which have ended with a Barcelona win.
With 26 goals in Clasico, Messi is the highest scorer in the history of this bitter rivalry, eight strikes ahead of both Real Madrid icons Alfredo Di Stefano and Ronaldo (18 goals each).
Messi absence has hit hard at Camp Nou, while it is clear that in Madrid life without Ronaldo continues to disappoint after Los Blancos slumped to their fourth defeat in five games on Sunday.