Xabi Alonso vs Xavi
On his return from suspension, Xabi Alonso will almost certainly be the man in the Madrid midfield set with the task of suffocating Xavi’s influence in pulling the strings in the Barca side. Alonso has been in brilliant form since his switch from Liverpool last summer, and will have to shut down his Spanish teammate’s passing avenues to the front men, and in particular Lionel Messi, if Real are to stand any chance of winning the game.
Marcelo vs Lionel Messi
The Brazilian Marcelo is the unfortunate full back in Spain assigned with Mission Impossible this weekend, up against the man for whom currently no superlative can do justice. Lionel Messi is top scorer in both La Liga and the Champion’s League this season, and in the unlikely event that Marcelo can stop the world player of the year from adding to his tally, he will need the rest of Madrid’ rearguard to be at top of their games to keep out the Catalan club’s wealth of attacking talent
Gonzalo Higuain vs Gerard Pique
Just behind Messi in the scoring charts, is his Argentine counterpart Gonzalo Higuain. Higuain has been one of Real Madrid’s most consistent performers this season, their Mr.Dependable, with a goal a game ratio in La Liga, and three assists. Pique’s defensive performances have been equally impressive, and he will fancy his chances of keeping Higuain quiet once more, just as he did when the two sides met back in November.