Less than a week to go until El Clasico!
Saturday December 23, 2017 has long been an important date on the La Liga calendar: The first El Clasico of the season in the Spanish top flight.
Real Madrid host Barcelona at the Bernabeu and Los Blancos really need to win to put pressure on the La Liga leaders.
It seems safe to say that Christmas for many fans of Real Madrid and Barcelona could well be ruined by a poor result in El Clasico.
Real Madrid win the Club World Cup
Real Madrid’s preparations for the Club World Cup have been mostly spent in the UAS.
Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid are the first side in football history to win successive Club World Cups.
This feels like a record that could last for some time, with the Champions League so difficult for European sides to retain.
A Barcelona “Pasillo” for Real Madrid?
Barcelona play their final match before El Clasico on Sunday, when they clash with Deportivo La Coruna in La Liga.
Thanks to Real Madrid becoming champions of the world, we already appear to have our first El Clasico story of the week.
As soon as Real Madrid won the Club World Cup, a number of Madrid-based publications have called for Barcelona to give Los Blancos a guard of honour before next week’s El Clasico La Liga match.
The precedents for a Barcelona guard of honour for Real Madrid
Due to the El Clasico rivalry, the guard of honour is a subject that has been raised on plenty of occasions before.
Most famously, in 2008, Real Madrid received a Barcelona guard of honour after winning the La Liga title. Ronaldinho and co. were then thrashed 4-1 by a delighted Real Madrid.
This is the only time there has been a guard of honour in a modern El Clasico.
There is precedent for teams receiving a guard of honour after winning the Club World Cup in recent seasons.
Valencia produced one for Real Madrid in January 2015. Real Betis did the same for Barcelona the following year.
Cristiano Ronaldo on Barcelona’s guard of honour
It seems almost certain that Barcelona will not produce a guard of honour, especially in the current political climate in Spain.
Cristiano Ronaldo was asked about the guard of honour after Real Madrid’s 1-0 win over Gremio on Saturday.
Ronaldo: “It would be nice and I would like Barcelona to make for us the guard of honour.”
On El Clasico itself, Ronaldo added: “I hope we can beat Barça so that the League is alive, we have to enjoy every moment because we do not know what can happen tomorrow, we are gaining confidence and we are going to improve and finish very well.”
Cristiano Ronaldo in 2017:
UEFA Super Cup
Club World Cup
UEFA Player of the Year
UCL Top Scorer [16/17]
2018 WC Qualification
⚽️ 53 Goals
— 101 Great Goals (@101greatgoals) December 16, 2017