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Mascherano wary of too many El Clasicos

FC Barcelona centre-back Javier Mascherano has complained that the Catalans have played bitter rivals Real Madrid ‘too many times’ in the past few seasons, with Sunday’s clash at the Camp Nou the 14th meeting between the Spanish giants in just two years time.

The two La Liga giants faced each other four times in three distinct competitions — the UEFA Champions League, the Copa del Rey final and La Liga — back in the spring of 2011, an unforgettable memory that the Mascherano does not recall with any fondness whatsoever.

“Those four Clasicos will never be forgotten. It was terrible for what happened. We played too many times,” Mascherano told El Periodico.

The two sides’ familiarity with one another is undeniable, and fourteen meetings in two seasons surely has something to do with that.

“The more familiar you are, the worse it is – it is harder to find the weaknesses. It will be hard on Sunday,” confirmed Mascherano.

Barcelona head into Sunday’s clash with Los Blancos yielding a perfect record in all competitions in 2012-13.

In contrast, Madrid’s poor league form, resulting in a 3-1-2 record, has them eight points behind the Catalans in the La Liga table.

The 28-year-old Argentine went on to praise the Catalans’ midfield quality, while hailing Spain international defensive midfielder Sergio Busquets.

“I am not Sergio Busquets, to play in the midfield for Barcelona is almost impossible. You need an almost perfect sense of positioning. For some games I can play there, but I always want to play,” added Mascherano.

La Liga Betting Odds | FC Barcelona v Real Madrid | 7 October 2012

FC Barcelona (17/20) v Real Madrid (14/5); Draw (3/1)

Total Goals | Over 2.5 (19/40) | Under 2.5 (8/5)

Goalscorers – FC Barcelona | Lionel Messi (8/15) | David Villa (11/10) | Cesc Fabregas (5/4)

Goalscorers – Real Madrid | Cristiano Ronaldo (5/6) | Karim Benzema (13/8) | Gonzalo Higuain (15/8)

FC Barcelona v Real Madrid Players to Watch

For the visitors, in-form winger Cristiano Ronaldo, who has netted back-to-back hat-tricks, is surely the man to watch. The Portuguese talisman has bagged 12 goals in 10 appearances for Los Blancos this season, and has managed to find the back of the net in five consecutive matches against Barcelona.

Meanwhile, Argentine ace Lionel Messi has tallied 10 goals and five assists in 10 appearances for the Catalan Conquerors in 2012-13, while adding 11 goals and two assists in nine international caps for his country.

Ancelotti fancies Ibra-Ronaldo partnership at PSG

Paris Saint-Germain manager Carlo Ancelotti believes that a partnership between Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic would thrive ‘without any trouble’.

“I don’t think it could set any trouble of egos. At Milan, I had a lot of players with strong characters, and we built an amazing team,” Ancelotti told L’Equipe

Ibra has bagged seven goals and one assist in six league appearances for Les Parisiens this season.

Now then, would you like to see Ronaldo team up with Ibrahimovic at the Parc des Princes?

Sat 6 October, 2012
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