Luis Suarez: 'Our turn to win El Clasico'

Real Madrid sack Lopetegui as Solaris takes over

El Clasico will take on a new flavor on Sunday when Barcelona and Real Madrid meet for the 238th competitive edition of Spanish soccer's showpiece derby.

When Barca went three games without a win last month, the feeling was both clubs were in crisis.

Lopetegui said Messi's absence was not a big factor in his preparations for the game.

With Messi out, Valverde could bring in Ousmane Dembele at the Camp Nou, the 21-year-old who enjoyed a bright start to the season but has lost his place in recent weeks.

El Clasico minus Messi minus Ronaldo = 49.5% fewer goals.

To say that Madrid are finding it hard to come to terms with the summer departures of Ronaldo and equally legendary coach Zinedine Zidane is putting it mildly.

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde has said the absence of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in a Clasico for the first time in 11 years takes none of the gloss away from Sunday's match.

They included excellent stops to deny Luis Suarez and Clement Lenglet, while Philippe Coutinho hit the Inter crossbar midway through the second half.

It was December 23, 2007, and Julio Baptista's Christmas cracker of a strike found the top corner to sink Frank Rijkaard's Barcelona, Madrid triumphing by the solitary goal.

They have nine points from three games and now sit top of Group B. Messi was watching in the stands with his son Thiago and his fractured right arm in a sling.

Barcelona emerged victorious from their Champions League clash against Inter Milan on Wednesday evening, with Rafinha, the player drafted in as Messi's replacement, scoring the opening goal in the 32nd minute.

The Real Madrid shot stopper will surely be having nightmares from his last visit to the Camp Nou with Chelsea. Lionel Messi then scored to give the home side the lead, but Gareth Bale had other ideas.

"We need to gain a little tranquillity bit by bit: we have to keep going".

However, failure to beat Inter just four days before they entertain Real Madrid in "El Clasico" would sow the seeds of doubt ahead of one of their biggest games of the season.

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