Copa del Rey: EL Clasico: Real Madrid vs Barcelona Preview

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Madrid, Jan 30: Barcelona visit the Santiago Bernabeu to face Real Madrid in the first El Clasico of 2013 as two of the world's best players Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo square up against each other.

Copa del Rey: EL Clasico: Real Madrid vs Barcelona Stats

Messi, 25, is in brilliant form scoring four past Osasuna in the league and has netted in the last 16 games he has started, while Ronaldo has scored 10 goals including two hat-tricks this month.

El Clasico: Real Madrid vs Barca Preview

Barcelona will look to take a lead when the two sides meet for the return leg at Camp Nou. Away goals will be key for Tito Vilanova's men but Real Madrid will not let their guard down so easily.

The Catalans have already taken over the league while Real have a chance to salvage some pride in the Copa Del Rey.

Meanwhile, Real Madrid have to deal with injuries and suspensions to key players. Defenders Sergio Ramos and Fabio Coentrao will miss the classic due to suspension, alongwith Angel di Maria.

Center-back Pepe and captain Iker Casillas will miss the clash due to injuries. The Portuguese defender has played a vital role in stopping Lionel Messi bombing down the penatly area.

While Real face injuries and suspensions, Barcelona, on the other hand, have a full squad to choose from. No doubt Vilanova will field his best XI but Barcelona have a healthy bench strength. The Catalans are enjoying their best season in recent years and will show no mercy against Madrid.

This cup tie will be the third straight meeting between the two Spainish giants. Madrid beat Barcelona in the 2011 final, while Barcelona knocked Madrid out inthe quaterfinal last season.

The last time these two sides met in the league in October it ended 2-2 with both Messi and Ronaldo each scoring twice.

Trivia:

*The first El Clasico between Real Madrid and Barcelona (1-3) was played in 1902.

*A total of 221 matches were played between the Spanish rivals with 88 wins for Real Madrid while Barcelona remain at 87 after losing 2-1 in the Spain Supercopa on Wednesday.

*Real goalkeeper Iker Casillas has made 41 appearances in El Clasico, the most by any player in El Clasico history.

*Largest victory in El Clasico was when Real Madrid beat Barcelona 11-1 in 1943.

*Real Madrid have scored a total of 367 goals while Barcelona have netted 359. Out of 221, 46 matches ended in a draw.

Probable Lineups:

Real Madrid (4-2-3-1): Lopez-Essien, Varane, Albiol, Arbeloa-Alonso, Khedira-Higuain, Ozil, Ronaldo-Benzema

Barcelona (4-3-3): Pinto-Alves, Pique, Puyol, Alba-Xavi, Busquets, Fabregas-Pedro, Messi, Iniesta

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