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El Clasico of honour, as Real Madrid battles Barca

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Real Madrid’s defender Sergio Ramos (L) kicks the ball past Barcelona’s German goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen during the Spanish league Clasico football match Real Madrid CF vs FC Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on April 23, 2017. GERARD JULIEN / AFP


Real Madrid can transform their own season by beating Liverpool in this month’s Champions League final, and tomorrow, they can dent Barcelona’s by becoming the first team to defeat the Catalans in La Liga.

GOtv subscribers will have the opportunity of watching the world’s biggest club football rivalry between La Liga champions, Barcelona and UEFA Champions League finalists, Real Madrid, at the Camp Nou.

The game, which is the 176th meeting between both teams, will be broadcast live on SuperSport Select 4 (channel 34) at 7.30pm to GOtv MAX subscribers. Speaking on the game’s coverage, Martin Mabutho, General Manager, Sales and Marketing, MultiChoice Nigeria, said: “MultiChoice Nigeria is thrilled to bring football’s greatest club rivalry to Nigerians. The rivalry between Barcelona and Real Madrid goes back decades, with both clubs boasting some of the most passionate fans around the world.

“Nigeria is no different, as the country has one of the biggest representations of both clubs. The game is widely regarded as one of the biggest in league football globally, and our GOtv viewers can tune in to GOtv Max this weekend to catch all of the action.”

This ‘clasico’ at Camp Nou will have minimal impact on the league, with Barca already crowned champions and Real’s passing interest in piping Atletico to second place diminished by their ambitions in Europe.

But there is still much at stake in what Madrid’s daily newspaper Marca has billed “the clasico of honour”. It could even be argued this match will go some way to defining the seasons of these two teams.

Barca, in particular, has been careful in celebrating their domestic double, their players aware of the disappointment that lingers from their Champions League crash in the quarterfinals.

Even as they ordered pizza and slurped beer from the top of their open-top bus down Las Ramblas this week, it was noticeable how many interviews still referenced the disappointment in Rome.

“The elimination in the Champions League, it hurt us because it was unexpected,” said Barca coach Ernesto Valverde. “But it is very difficult to do what we have done and now what are we going to do? We keep trying.”

To soften the blow, Barca’s best response was to win the Copa del Rey and La Liga and finish unbeaten in the league for the first time, while hoping Real do not go all the way in the Champions League. The latter two are still to be decided.

Real’s march towards a 13th European triumph has certainly weighed heavily on Barcelona, whose sense of absence has been heightened by the progress of their rivals.“It’s amazing to be in a Champions League final for the third time in a row and have the chance to win it for the fourth time in the last five years,” Real midfielder Toni Kroos said.

“It’s hard for me to find words to describe that. When it comes to the Champions League, we have extra motivation.”Barca are looking to avoid defeat tomorrow, and in their last three league games against Villarreal, Levante and Real Sociedad to seal a historic season.

But if Real snatch a victory at the Camp Nou and also see off Liverpool, perhaps the balance is tipped in their favour.It will certainly be the last ‘clasico’ for Andres Iniesta as a player while Gareth Bale may also wave goodbye to this fixture, with the Welshman expected to consider his future at Real in the summer.


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El Clasico
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