First Clash of 2012: Real Madrid vs. Barcelona

Enriched with an incredible amount of history, these two teams share a unique rivalry unlike any other. That is why every meeting between the two is lead up by endless amount of information and exciting highlights from past encounters.

The Catalan giants of Pep Guardiola got the last laugh last year when they eliminated Real Madrid from the semifinals of the UEFA Champions League. In this tournament (Copa del Rey), however, Real Madrid beat Guardiola's men in the final and celebrated the cup basking in their glory. Leading up to the first clash of 2012, Barcelona will seek a victory in both the home and away game in order to reverse the Merengues' victory last time they met in the Copa.

Both teams, however, face important injuries. Madrid has to replace starter and defender Pepe after having been injured in their La Liga meeting against Mallorca. Barcelona face the injury of youngster Fontas, in the clash against Osasuna, tore a ligament in his right knee and faces up to 6 months without playing time. In the same match, Pedro Rodriguez has been ruled out for 10 days after pulling his hamstring. Even more concerning for the blaugranas is the injury of their star striker David Villa who broke his leg and is reportedly out for approximately 5 to 6 months.

The topic of Messi vs. Ronaldo will sure come up in many newspapers around the world. The players are probably used to seeing this comparison but overall Messi has a better record in Clasicos than the portuguese striker. Statistics will only be numbers on a page when those two step on the field and we will no doubt see tremendous efforts by the two international stars.

Wednesday, January 18th is the day of the first meeting of 2012 between the two, which is coincidently coach Pep Guardiola's birthday. Hoping to please their coach, the blaugranas have slightly more pressure due to their past loss against Madrid in their last meeting in the Copa.

Also footy fans, be on the lookout for my first podcast! I have no doubt that I will have a lot to say about this match (as I always do when these two greats meet). Be sure to follow us on Facebook for more immediate coverage of the game at 4pm eastern time (3pm central).

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