One of, if not the biggest club game in World Soccer is taking place this Saturday at the Nou Camp, as plenty of new faces will adorn this seasons first ‘El Clasico’ between Barcelona and Real Madrid.
New managers have arrived for both Spanish giants, with Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino taking the reigns in Catalan and Carlo Ancelotti leading Real Madrid’s resurgence from the capital.
And two new superstars in Gareth Bale and Neymar (more on them coming up soon) will get their first taste of ‘El Clasico’ this weekend.
It should be a game to savor.
However, it’s two established stars of both Barca and Real who will likely steal the show once more, as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo square off with the world fixated on their every move.
Both players are up for FIFA World Player of the Year… is this the year Ronaldo finally knocks Messi off his perch?
The infographic below breaks things down, as the two best players in the world go head-to-head on Saturday night in the Catalan capital. So make sure you tune in on Saturday at 12pm ET to watch live on BeIN Sport in the USA. Enjoy.
Premier League Preview: Southampton vs. West Bromwich Albion
Both teams are struggling for form heading into the match. West Brom is winless in its last seven games while Southampton has just one win in its last five, coughing up a chance to defeat Newcastle a week ago.
It’s a big boost for Southampton though that Manolo Gabbiadini is back on the scoresheet after scoring twice against Newcastle. It was Gabbiadini’s first goal since the second week of the Premier League season.
At the other end, West Brom have a worry with both of its top two goalkeepers, Ben Forster and Boaz Myhill. recovering from injuries.
What they’re saying
Southampton manager Manuel Pellegrino on his team: “The reaction of the team was really good, but we have to start from the beginning with this spirit. Sometimes you have to be patient, because at the beginning teams have more energy, they are fresher and they can press you better. I think we feel comfortable with the ball. If we are precise with the ball and with our tempo, we can create more problems – it doesn’t matter who we are playing. We know that West Brom are really strong physically, and dangerous from set plays and on the counter-attack. That’s something we’ve been working on this week. Every single week we are learning from our last few games, and I feel that my players are better prepared.”
West Bromwich manager Tony Pulis on facing Southampton: “They’re a good footballing team. Pellegrino has come in with his own ideas and the way he wants to play. From watching them in a couple of games away from St Mary’s they seem a little more relaxed. They look a little more uptight at home. But I’m sure they’ll become the team everyone knows they can be.”
West Bromwich doesn’t look closer to stopping its slide down the table, especially on the road. Even with Jay Rodriguez returning to his former club, Southampton should find the offense to put Tony Pulis and West Brom away. Southampton 2-1 West Bromwich Albion
Both teams have just eight points from eight games, and are looking to move up in the table with a win.
Manuel Lanzini makes his second consecutive start, playing behind Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez in West Ham’s 4-2-3-1 formation. On the other side, Tomer Hemed sits his final match of his three-match suspension, with Glen Murray playing atop the 4-4-1-1 Brighton formation.
“There are so many issues that have popped up over the years because the world is changing, immigration is changing,” Montagliani said. “There are nationality issues that pop up all over the world, in Africa, there are issues in Asia and CONCACAF, so its a good time to have a look at this and see if there are solutions, without hurting the integrity of the game.”
Changing the rules would have a big impact on nations with diverse populations or nationalities with large diasporas.
The report states the Cape Verdean FA requested relaxing the rule of cap-tying a player after playing a competitive game, if that player drops out of the player pool and likely wouldn’t be called up again. Cape Verde relies on a lot of Portugal-based and raised players with Cape Verdean heritage.
A relaxation of the rules could have an affect on U.S. Men’s National Team players as well. In theory, if Kenny Saief decided he wanted to play for Israel again, under a relaxation of the rules, and some sort of proof that a new USMNT coach wouldn’t call him up, Israel could potentially use him. In addition, players such as Cristian Roldan or Jesse Gonzalez could in theory be lost should they fall down the depth chart and other countries they’re eligible for.
The Hornets have had an amazing start to the season and currently occupy fourth place on 15 points, two points ahead of fifth-place Chelsea, which has lost two-straight Premier League games. The Blues have struggled without N’Golo Kante and Alvaro Morata and there have been reports of grumbles from the squad about dissatisfaction with Antonio Conte‘s training methods, but the Chelsea coach has brushed those rumors off.
Meanwhile Watford is coming off a confidence-boosting win last weekend against fellow Londoners Arsenal, and the club is looking to take down another big club for a second-straight week.
What they’re saying
Watford manager Marco Silva on his team’s start: “I want everybody to be really calm. We did really in the first eight matches but it’s too early. We want to continue to work hard every day. Everything changes fast and you need to keep going and treat the next game as the most important. But of course I feel proud.”
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte on being under pressure: “‘Do I feel the pressure? Every manager feels pressure, but I try to give all of myself into my job, so I’m happy when I go home because I know in every moment I give all of myself for the fans, the players and the club. In football you know anything can happen, but the most important thing is to work.”
Chelsea has its back against the wall but the team’s overall quality should be enough to see them through with all three points against Watford. The Hornets luck runs out in Stamford Bridge as Chelsea hold on for a late win. Chelsea 2-1 Watford