Real Madrid have been handed a major blow ahead of the kick off of El Clasico as it has emerged that star striker Karim Benzema is unlikely to play any part in Sunday's encounter.
It has been a tale of mixed fortunes for the Spanish giants this season. Real Madrid, on the one hand, sit atop La Liga under Carlo Ancelotti, and a spirited performance from them saw Los Blancos defeat PSG to advance to the quarter-finals of the Champions League, where they face Chelsea in a repeat of last season's semi.
Barcelona, by contrast, have fallen into the Europa League for the first time since it was rebranded, and while they have progressed to the quarter-final stage of that competition, they are far from where they want to be under new manager Xavi.
In La Liga, meanwhile, they have made up ground on those in the European places after an awful start, currently sitting 3rd, but remain 15 points behind Real, although they do have a game in hand.
Other than for pride, then, this game means little to either side when it comes to table position.
Benzema to sit out
Now, however, according to reports coming out of France Xavi's side have been dealt a major boost, and Los Blancos a massive blow, as Benzema will not be fit for the game after picking up a calf injury.
Julien Maynard reports that, due to this injury, the Frenchman will not be able to take part in the clash, leaving Luca Jovic to lead the Real Madrid line.
Of course, there is still plenty of firepower in the ranks of Los Blancos, including Vinicius Junior, but Benzema will be a massive absence.