There isn’t a football match quite like the Clasico, yet Barcelona could be in the rather novel position on Saturday of having eight players who could make their first ever appearance in the famed clash with Real Madrid.
For a young footballer, being able to play in such a match is the stuff of dreams, but very few get to imagine it in reality, especially over the last decade when the teams at both clubs were so settled and full of quality.
Now though, there is a degree of unpredictability about both teams, you can’t be sure which personnel will be selected and even then you can’t be sure what they will play like.
Unless it was in the Copa del Rey, Neto’s chance of being involved in a Clasico was almost zero, yet with Marc-Andre ter Stegen getting an injury he will be between the posts for the mammoth clash.
The American international has just arrived and this will be one of those matches that he will remember for a long time, be that a positive or a negative.
Jordi Alba is rushing to be back in time to play, but as things stand it will be Dest who plays from the start.
In principle, the Uruguayan won’t be part of Ronald Koeman’s starting XI plans with both Clement Lenglet and Gerard Pique available. If either of those players suffers an injury either before or during the match, Araujo will be drafted in, given he is now the team’s third-choice central defender.
Firpo is still behind Dest in the pecking order, even with the American on the wrong side, but if he somehow is involved it will be his first Clasico appearance.
Barcelona’s marquee signing of the summer impressed in the midweek victory over Ferencvaros, completing 92% of his 80 attempted passes, and now he will be tasked with carrying that form into his first ever Clasico.
It isn’t likely that he will be a starter with Sergio Busquets and Frenkie de Jong both available, but Pjanic has a lot of experience at the top level and knows how they should be played.
Prior to the start of the LaLiga Santander season, Koeman informed Riqui Puig that he wouldn’t get a lot of minutes in the senior team, but the player opted to stay. This gives him a chance of getting his first taste of Clasico action, although it’s difficult to see that chance being anything other than remote.
One of the sensations of the current Barcelona team, the 17-year-old is showing himself to be extremely capable of playing for Los Cules, irrespective of the scale of the fixture. Koeman is responding to his efforts and trusts him enough to hand the Spaniard senior minutes.
Now, giving him the same minutes in a Clasico is another matter, but it wouldn’t at all be a surprise if he was the first substitution made.
Another player who benefitted from the Champions League clash with Ferencvaros, Trincao has excited supporters with how he has settled into life at the Camp Nou. The right-wing position seemingly belongs to Antoine Griezmann, but Trincao’s form is making it harder and harder for the Dutch coach to leave him on the sideline.