Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Barcelona v Real Madrid: Rafinha preferred to Dembele, Marcelo fit to start

SoccerNews in La Liga 28 Oct 2018

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Rafinha has been preferred to start ahead of Ousmane Dembele as Barcelona deal with Lionel Messi’s injury absence against Real Madrid in Sunday’s Clasico.

Barca captain Messi broke his arm in last week’s win over Sevilla and, with Cristiano Ronaldo having departed Madrid, the biggest domestic club game in European football has been given a very different complexion.

That sees Rafinha, who started and scored against former club Inter in the Champions League, keeping his place and supporting Philippe Coutinho and Luis Suarez in attack.

Dembele replaced Messi against Sevilla, but there is no room for the France international in the side as he waits to make his Clasico bow.

While Barca line up with the same team that defeated Inter 2-0, there are two changes to the Madrid side that scraped past Viktoria Plzen in midweek.

Thibaut Courtois and Raphael Varane come back in, with Keylor Navas and Lucas Vazquez making way, while Marcelo is fit to start.

The Brazil defender left the field late in Tuesday’s 2-1 triumph with a knock as Madrid ended the game with 10 men.

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