Barcelona have several important fixtures every year, but very few compare to El Clasico. The storied rivalry between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona is a thing of footballing folklore. Twists and turns at every end, the teams from Madrid and Catalonia always battle it out in a contest of footballing philosophies as well as political differences.
Taking the El Clasico seriously is a given, and it only adds to the fuel of the game when a title is on the line. Not exactly the decider just yet, but this El Clasico holds significant weight in La Liga. With three points separating both Barça and Real, this game could make or break the future of that gap.
Unwilling to take the risk
However, despite all the hype and importance, Barcelona will not take one particular risk. According to Spanish outlet SPORT, it seems that 20-year-old Barcelona star Pedri is likely to start on the bench against Los Blancos.
Currently recovering from his injury, SPORT have their reasons to believe that he will not start from the get-go.
Primarily, Pedri will have only just returned from a significant injury. Having suffered an injury to his right quadriceps in August, it will be almost two months since he has last played for Barça.
Expected to receive minutes against Athletic Bilbao and Shakhtar Donetsk to test the waters, it seems unlikely that he will be completely match-fit by the time Real Madrid visits the Montjuic Stadium on the 28th of October.
Moreover, regular MRI scans are ongoing for the player every 7-10 days, as per SPORT. With a new update set to be received next week, it currently looks unlikely that he would be fit to start on the 28th.
However, that would simply mean that Barcelona prefers to exercise caution in the short run to focus on Pedri’s development and participation in the long run.
The Other Casualties
Apart from Pedri himself, several other key players are also currently injured. Out of the seven players currently sidelined, it is believed that Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, Alejandro Balde, and Lamine Yamal are the most likely to return against Los Blancos. On the other hand, both Frenkie De Jong and Jules Kounde are expected to remain sidelined.
The Spaniard himself is also expected to be among the very first to mark their return for Barcelona. His absence has been sorely felt, and Pedri’s reintegration into the team could prove to be vital.
A player of unparalleled technical quality, understanding of the game, and intelligence, Pedri remains a fan favorite for not just the fans but also the coaching staff.
Giving a returning player adequate time to get back into their rhythm and form is essential. As such, his minutes against both Bilbao and Shakhtar will be essential to allow Pedri to regain momentum.
His arrival into El Clasico is expected, but whether he starts or initially stays on the bench is a question that the coming days will answer once he begins training with the group.