Friday, November 30, 2012

Madrid's derby the highlight of the weekend in Spanish football

Christiano Ronaldo vs Radamel Falcao

There is no question which is the biggest game of the weekend in the Spanish Primera Liga. Football fans only have to go as far as Real Madrid's Santiago Bernabeu Stadium where the home side take on rampant neighbors Atletico Madrid on Saturday night.

Hardened by coach Diego Simeone and fueled by striker Radamel Falcao, Atletico Madrid appears poised to finally break Real Madrid's dominance of the Spanish capital derby with a long-awaited victory its fans have been coveting for 13 years.

Atletico enters Saturday's game at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in second place and a commanding eight points ahead of its crosstown rival after its best start in club history with 11 wins a draw and one defeat.

Mourinho had to listen to boos from sections of the crowd on Tuesday night after last weekend's 1-0 defeat against Betis and a summer departure from the Bernabeu looks increasingly likely.

However, Atletico have to overcome the weight of history if they are to defeat their neighbors - their last win against Real Madrid came in 1999 and Real keeper Iker Casillas has since played 23 Madrid derbies without tasting defeat.

Regarding teams, both sides should be almost at full strength with Gonzalo Higuain and Marcelo still missing for Madrid, where the only doubt is whether Luka Modric or Mesut Ozil will play in the advanced midfield role.

Perhaps a draw in the Madrid derby would be the best result for FC Barcelona, who entertain Athletic Club Bilbao two hours before the derby kicks off. A win for Barca would see them temporarily go 14 points ahead of Real and six clear of second place Atletico.


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