In a little under four weeks, the biggest clash in the La Liga calendar will greet the fans as reigning champions Barcelona will welcome arch-rivals Real Madrid for the first El Clasico of the 2023/24 campaign.
Given how tight things are close to the top of the table at this point, the encounter, set to take place at Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys, could have major repercussions on the standings.
Real Madrid set to be without Nacho
In what could be a boost for Barcelona, Real Madrid will be without their captain Nacho Fernandez for the season’s first El Clasico on October 28.
This is because the veteran defender is set to be handed a three-game suspension following his sending-off in Real Madrid’s last league game against Girona, reports MARCA.
Nacho was shown a red card after a horrific challenge on Portu in stoppage time, which led to the latter being stretchered off the pitch.
There had been initial speculations that the veteran Spaniard could be handed a four-game ban, but it appears that he will be serving a three-match suspension now.
As such, Nacho will miss Los Blancos’ next three La Liga matches against Osasuna, Sevilla, and Barcelona.
Given that Eder Militao is already out injured and David Alaba is also on the sidelines, Nacho’s absence could come as a big boost for Barça, as it would leave Carlo Ancelotti with just one fit senior centre-back, although there is a chance Alaba could recover in time for the Clasico.
Who else will be absent?
Apart from Nacho, Real Madrid will also be without Thibaut Courtois, Eder Militao, and possibly Arda Guler for the trip to Barcelona while there is uncertainty about David Alaba’s involvement.
As far as Barcelona are concerned, they are hoping to recover key midfielder Pedri in time for El Clasico while Raphinha is also expected to return from injury in time for the blockbuster clash. However, Frenkie de Jong’s involvement remains unlikely.