Supporters of Barcelona have taken to social media in their numbers to praise one player this afternoon, during the first-half of their matchup with Real Madrid.
Spain’s two biggest sides are currently locked in action in a crucial La Liga clash at the Bernabeu, with the potential for a hammer blow to reigning champions Los Blancos’ title hopes.
Zinedine Zidane’s men came into today’s clash sitting a full 11 points behind their fierce rivals in the Spanish top-flight table (with a game in hand), with many already claiming that a loss for Real will effectively put an end to any hopes that the capital giants have of retaining their crown.
The lineups of each side were announced earlier this afternoon, with Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde having been forced to once again opt for Thomas Vermaelen alongside Gerard Pique at the heart of his side’s defence, with Sergi Roberto maintaining his place at right-back, and Paulinho primed for his first taste of El Clasico from the first-whistle:
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) December 23, 2017
Zinedine Zidane, meanwhile, opted for strength in the middle of the park for his side, with all of Casemiro, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Mateo Kovacic (who was sensational versus Barca in the Spanish Super Cup) given the nod, meaning Isco somewhat surprisingly had to make do with a spot on the bench.
Los Blancos’ strength in depth was aptly showcased by the embarrassment of riches on their bench this afternoon, with all of Gareth Bale, Marco Asensio, Lucas Vazquez and Isco ready to be introduced in the case that the hosts require an attacking boost:
— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadrid) December 23, 2017
After Cristiano Ronaldo had a goal correctly ruled out for offside with just 2 minutes on the clock, proceedings turned surprisingly cagey for the 20 minutes that followed this afternoon, with most of the action taking place in the middle of the park.
Chances were few and far between throughout the opening 45 minutes, with the most clear-cut falling to Paulinho and Karim Benzema, the latter of whom was unlucky to see his header come back off the post.
Though their side were far from their best, Barcelona’s fans took to Twitter throughout the first-half to heap praise on one player, in the form of Gerard Pique:
pique is on point 💥
— Okanlawon ganny Sola (@Sexygilo) December 23, 2017
Pique clearing everything out!!
— Fire Fist Ace (@RathiRomil13) December 23, 2017
Piqué is Barça’s best player this half, bar none.
— Juan (@socraticjuan) December 23, 2017
Pique has been fantastic
— . (@_BarcaEdition_) December 23, 2017
All our players bat Pique have been piss poor
— Tchisty. (@__VIRTUOSO) December 23, 2017
— Sabina Subedi (@imcurious_f) December 23, 2017
Pique with an absolute master class today 🔥
— més que un club (@basicallyney) December 23, 2017
Pique had been excellent 👏🏼👏🏼#ForcaBarca
— Muhammad Harith (@mdhxrith_) December 23, 2017
PIQUE I LOVE YOU
— VISCA BARCA (@mesquebarcelona) December 23, 2017
Pique has really stepped up his game. #ElClásico
— Khalid (@KH17ID) December 23, 2017
Pique’s been so good
— Z (@koenigafc) December 23, 2017