El Clasico 1st Time Without Messi, Ronaldo Since 2007
Date Posted: October 22, 2018
On Sunday, October 28, Spanish teams FC Barcelona and Real Madrid C.F. will be facing each other for yet another El Clásico match which will be held during the La Liga. Unfortunately, both of the teams’ star players, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, will not be participating on Sunday’s match.
Since 2007, this will be the first time neither star will play at El Clásico. The reasons are Barcelona’s Messi has been advised to sit out for three weeks after having his arm fractured and Ronaldo has transferred to the Italian team Juventus.
El Clásico is considered as one of the biggest and most viewed football games in the world, for it is the match between two Spanish powerhouse teams, FC Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Barcelona’s forward and captain, Lionel Messi, injured himself with a right arm fracture during his team’s match against Sevilla at the La Liga last October 20. The treatment for his injury requires him to be out of the field for three weeks which leaves Barcelona to play at Clásico without their all-time top scorer.
FC Barcelona announced in a tweet:
“Tests carried out on the first team player Leo Messi have confirmed that he has a fracture of the radial bone in his right arm. He will be out for approximately three weeks.”
❗ [INJURY NEWS] Tests carried out on the first team player Leo Messi have confirmed that he has a fracture of the radial bone in his right arm. He will be out for approximately three weeks. #FuerzaLeo pic.twitter.com/kpNcspnfqo
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) October 20, 2018
Ernesto Valverde, Barcelona’s coach, has expressed his dismay about the team’s star player being hurt. He said:
“Obviously it’s a considerable loss. We know what he gives us and what we miss when he is not around. We have to deal with it and we will be prepared. It’s clear that we will notice his absence, but we will cope and we have resources, even though we will be facing some very difficult teams.”
Messi’s absence gapes a hole into Barcelona’s team structure. This season, Messi contributed six assists and 12 goals. Now, the team’s plan is to play as if Messi is on the field with them.
Ivan Rakitic, Barcelona’s midfielder, said:
“We will try to make sure Leo’s absence is noticed as little as possible.”
Gerard Piqué, Barcelona’s defender, added:
“Psychologically we know that when he is there we are stronger but we cannot allow his absence to affect us. It makes a big difference to have or not to have him but we have enough cover so as not to worry about whether he is there or not.”
Ronaldo Now with Juventus F.C.
After almost 10 years with Real Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo yearned for a new challenge in his career. He transferred and signed with the Italian club Juventus on July 10, 2018.
So even if Messi did not get injured during Barcelona’s game against Sevilla, a Ronaldo-Messi match-up at El Clásico would still not be possible.
Ronaldo and Messi have played against each other for nine years of El Clásico already. Seeing a Ronaldo-less Madrid, Messi noticed Madrid’s decline in performance. In a radio show last September, he said:
“Real Madrid is one of the best teams in the world with a great squad [but] it’s evident that the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo makes them less good and makes Juventus [one of the] clear favorites to win the Champions League.”
On the other hand, Atletico Madrid’s midfielder Koke thinks that Real Madrid has settled into the idea of Ronaldo leaving. With Real’s new manager Julen Lopetegui’s methods and systems, they can still be a great team. Koke said in an interview last September:
“Obviously, Ronaldo is one of the best players in the world and he’s not in the team, but Real are still a great team. He used to score a lot of goals, but I think now maybe they will actually do more teamwork, rather than just (rely on) the individuality of Ronaldo scoring the goals.”
Considering the absence of Messi and Ronaldo from the rival teams, the odds of Barcelona winning on October 28 is 11/10 according to Bethard. These odds are significantly higher than Madrid’s 49/20.
The teams’ significant difference in odds is mainly because of Barcelona’s season record of 4-2 win against Madrid’s 1-2 defeat record.