By: Kofi Owusu Aduonum
As part of our build-up to the clash at the end of November, we look at those making their first appearance in the fixture
The great classic of Spanish football is a special meeting, and there is so much at stake for everyone involved, for all the interest that it generates.
However, some of the players who will feature have not yet experienced the match first-hand.
In the case of Real Madrid, up to eight players are set to debut in El Clasico: Ricardo Carvalho, Angel di Maria, Sergio Canales, Pedro Leon, Mesut Oezil, Sami Khedira, Mateos, and of course, coach Jose Mourinho.
Barcelona on the other hand has only three debutantes: Adriano, Javier Mascherano and David Villa. So, a total of 11 players on either side have never experienced the match before.
Of course, even though they have never played through El Clasico, there are players on either side who know what the opposition is capable of.
The most striking example of this is that of Jose Mourinho, who returns to the Camp Nou after eliminating Barcelona in last season’s Champions League semi-finals. The image of him celebrating in front of the Blaugrana has already entered into history.
Sami Khedira also visited in last season’s tournament, but does not hold very good memories, being defeated 4-0 at the Camp Nou when with Stuttgart.
Ricardo Carvalho, although a newcomer to los Blancos, has measured himself against Barcelona before. He was present in the shocks against Frank Rijkaard’s side that has previously gone down in history.
And of course, Pedro Leon and Sergio Canales know the Spanish champions from their spells at Santander and Getafe respectively. In fact, the latter was in the Racing side defeated 4-0 at the Camp Nou last season, while Leon played in the 2-0 defeat to Guardiola’s side at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez.
Across the divide, there are some players who are making their debut but have experience with Real Madrid.
Mascherano was part of the Liverpool team that eliminated los Blancos two years ago, with a resounding 4-0 win at Anfield.
Furthermore, last season Adriano was one of the architects of the first defeat of Real Madrid under Manuel Pellegrini, and while David Villa was part of the Valencia team that lost 3-2 at the Mestalla, but ‘El Guaje’ still managed to score past international team-mate Iker Casillas.
It will be especially strange for Madrid fans to see Villa turning out for the Blaugrana, when he was about to sign with Real Madrid two seasons ago.
Thus even those making their debuts in the match are hardly new to the Clasico. It is a game designed to get the best from great players, whether it is your first time or not.