It may only be preseason, but El Clasico in Las Vegas has turned into quite the affair ahead of a La Liga season where Barcelona are pushing to topple Real Madrid for the title. After Real Madrid missed out on Kylian Mbappe with him staying with PSG, they were still able to strengthen the team by adding Antonio Rudiger and Aurelin Tchouameni. While Los Blancos have an aging squad on the surface, they’re preparing for life after midfielders Luka Modric and Toni Kroos evenutally ride off into the sunset and Eduardo Camavinga will likely be in for a bigger role this season. With Gareth Bale’s wages finally off the books, Real Madrid will also have spending power to chase whoever they want moving forward.
Speaking of spending power, Barcelona came into the summer with none, but through a myriad of deals were able to net quite the haul in the transfer market. Xavi’s side has already added Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, Franck Kessie, and Andreas Christensen. Even after adding this quartet, they aren’t done as Jules Kounde and Cesar Azpilicueta could still join the fray.
The amount of turnover in Barcelona makes this an important preseason which is why this edition of El Clasico means something even if points and trophies aren’t on the line. Sergino Dest and Memphis Depay are a few names who come to mind who will need to impress if they’d like to spend more time at Barcelona. Dest won’t be able to get forward as much behind Raphinha so he’ll need to be better on the defensive end while Depay now finds himself as the third choice forward or winger.
For Xavi, the match will be a good litmus test for where his players are after a scrimmage versus Inter Miami where they scored six goals and Raphinha opened his Barcelona scoring account. Round robin friendlies with Real Madrid and Juventus won’t hurt revenue either.
Here’s our storylines, how you can watch the match and more:
How to watch and odds
Date: Saturday, July 23 | Time: 11 p.m. ET
Location: Allegiant Stadium — Las Vegas, Nevada
TV: FS2 | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Real Madrid: It’s hard to see how Real Madrid will attack this game. It’s a good opportunity for younger players to test themselves against Barcelona as the starting lineup is mostly settled for Carlo Ancelotti heading into the season. There are reports that in training Ancelotti has been testing Eden Hazard as a false nine so that could be something to watch. Otherwise, it’s just another match to get fitness before defending their league and Champions League titles.
Barcelona: While lineups don’t really matter in friendlies, all eyes will be on Xavi and Frenkie de Jong. With the midfielder still attracting interest from Manchester United, he was used as a center back during the Inter Miami friendly but will be needed in midfield if he stays at Barcelona this season unless Xavi looks to change to a back three formation. Seeing how Barcelona attack the game will be important as Xavi is figuring out his rotations for both the league and Champions Leauge.