Our El Clasico Combined XI

Ahead of Sunday’s El Clasico, we pick the best players from Barcelona and Real Madrid for our Combined Team. Recent injuries mean that several players are unavailable, but this 11 aren’t bad!

Marc-Andre Ter Stegen (Barcelona)

Ter Stegen claims the number one jersey in our team despite similar stats to those of counterpart Thibaut Courtois. The German has saved 24 of the 35 shots he has faced so far this league campaign (68.6%), while the Real shotstopper has a save rate of 69.2%. Nonetheless, Ter Stegen is the more settled of the two, to which his recent saves against Sevilla attest.

Nelson Semedo (Barcelona)

A calf injury keeps out Dani Carvajal out and, although replacement Alvaro Odriozola is undeniably talented, he remains inexperienced at the top level. Semedo played a big part in two title-winning campaigns at Benfica before his move to Spain, where he made 24 appearances as Barcelona reclaimed La Liga. He also has 20 Champions League appearances to his name.

Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)

The Catalans will be without Samuel Umtiti for Sunday’s showdown, which hands the visitors the advantage in central defence. Ramos is a legend of the game and does not appear to have lost any of his qualities this season with three goals so far. An interesting stat: he is also the most carded player in La Liga and Champions League history.

Raphael Varane (Real Madrid)

Varane joined the small group of players to win the Champions League and World Cup in the same summer earlier this year. He joined Real at just 18 years of age and has since made a combined total of 214 appearances in the league and Europe. He has started in the final in three of Real’s last four victorious Champions League campaigns.

Jordi Alba (Barcelona)

After Marcelo limped from the field of play on Tuesday, Jordi Alba is our choice at left back. He moved to the Nou Camp from Valencia in 2012 and has been a regular ever since. He currently boasts 66 international caps for Spain and claimed a hat trick of assists against Tottenham three weeks ago.

Luka Modric (Real Madrid)

Modric has enjoyed a stellar 2018 in which he lifted the Champions League trophy for a fourth time before playing a leading role for Croatia as they reached the World Cup final. His achievements were recognised as he won the Men’s Player of the Year at the Best FIFA Awards last month, and he is the favourite to receive the Ballon d’Or.

Sergio Busquets (Barcelona)

Busquets was only 20 when he tasted European glory for first time in 2009. He will play his 500th game for Barcelona next month, while his honours include seven La Liga titles, six Copa del Rey successes and three Champions League winners’ medals. Oh, and a World Cup and European Championships too.

Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona)

Like Modric, Rakitic was a key component of the Croatia team that finished second in Russia. He has been anointed as Xavi’s natural successor and has kept his place in Ernesto Valverde’s side despite the arrival of Arturo Vidal, Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho in the last year.

Gareth Bale (Real Madrid)

The big news is that Lionel Messi will miss El Clasico, which means that this fixture will be without the Argentine and Cristiano Ronaldo for the first time since 2007. Bale’s goals in the Champions League final in May highlighted his importance to this Real side, particularly since Ronaldo’s departure. He has featured heavily this season with four goals and three assists in 11 games this season.

Luis Suarez (Barcelona)

Suarez shows no signs of slowing down with four goals and four assists in nine league games this season. He remains a complete centre-forward and has over 150 goals in four seasons at Barcelona.

Philippe Coutinho (Barcelona)

Having already operated in a number of roles for Valverde’s side, Coutinho finally finds himself deployed on the left of a front three, just as compatriot Neymar did before he left for PSG. He has three goals and one assist in La Liga this season, while his ability to score from distance brings a new facet to this Barcelona team.