The week leading up to the Clásico

Here’s a recap of the week leading up to this Sunday’s Clásico at the Camp Nou. Barça come into the match with an eight-point advantage over Los Blancos

Even though a Clásico always attracts attention – it’s estimated that 400 million people will watch the match, and there are 680 accredited members of the press representing 28 countries to cover the game at the Camp Nou – the team led by Tito Vilanova was able to put the distraction aside and focus on the second game of the Champions League group stage – against Benfica – which ended with a victory for the Blaugrana (0-2). After a recovering from the match on Wednesday, the team enjoyed a day off on Thursday. On Friday, the team started to focus on its match against Real Madrid.

The week started with the team’s visit to Lisbon, where they played in the Champions League group stage against Benfica. The end result was perfect for Barça’s interests (0-2), but the bad news was Carles Puyol’s injury. The Barça captain has been ruled out of action for the next eight weeks.

On Wednesday, with the team focusing on the Liga, the Club unveiled the mosaic design for the Clásico. The mosaic, which will be made up of 98,000 individual pieces of cardboard, will read ‘Barça’ with the Senyera as a back drop. Seeing that interest in Barça-Madrid matches grows each year, the Club is offering multiple ways to follow the all-important game online.

Games between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid almost always leave the fans with unforgettable goals. Neeskens, Quini, Linker, Koeman, Stoichkov, Romário, Luis Enrique and Rivaldo are but a few of the men highlighted in this video overview of 20 goals scored in Clásicos between the 1921/22 season and the 1999/2000 season. It’s also worth noting that FC Barcelona come into this Sunday’s match as the only European team that has won all of its league and Champions League matches.

The eight-point gap that separates Vilanova’s team from Mourinho’s is a good sign for Barça supporters. First, because it’s a considerable advantage after only six matches in the league, and second, because it means history is on Barça’s side: whenever Barça has hosted Madrid with an eight-point advantage the Blaugrana have always gone on to win the title. Here’s an overview of the stats from both teams ahead of tomorrow’s match at the Camp Nou.

This Friday, Barça TV interviewed five ex-FC Barcelona managers – Laureano Ruiz, César Luis Menotti, Louis van Gaal, Llorenç Serra Ferrer and Radomir Antic – about their Clásico experiences for the ‘Recorda Míster, els Clàssics’ programme.

On that same day, Barça’s first team took to the pitch for a training session. All available 19 first team players and Barça B’s Tello and Sergi Roberto prepared for the showdown with Real Madrid. Xavi Hernández talked to the press after the session, and he warned that Barça will stay true to its philosophy and style of play against Los Blancos.

The team will train once again this Saturday for what will be the penultimate session before the match at the Camp Nou. After the session, Tito Vilanova will hold a press conference. On Sunday, the team will take to the pitch one last time before the game for a closed-door training session at 11.30.