Sergio Ramos looks in need of divine inspiration during Real Madrid’s Champions League defeat by Manchester City. ‘The hour of truth has come,’ he said.

Barcelona have scored 16 goals more within the league alone. The Bernabéu, where Jorge Valdano said opponents routinely suffered “strange fright”, is now an area where Ramos admits “the lack of tranquillity the fans have reaches players too”. Madrid have won only nine of 17 home games this season.

Nor is it only this season. Barcelona have won their last four league visits, eight of their last 11 trips altogether competitions. That run includes a 6-2, a 2-0, a 3-0, a 3-1 and a 4-0. Add another defeat and Madrid would be five points behind, plus the head-to-head record, with 12 games to travel . As for Setién, this might be his first clásico but he has been to the Bernabéu 3 times and not lost, winning his last two visits with Betis. agen judi bola

All of this is often being remembered now, thrown into the mental mix. Barcelona are presented with a chance to deliver a potentially decisive blow. Madrid are presented with an obligation, Marca calling this is often a clásico “with no safety net”. Madrid cannot lose, even as they might not lose on Wednesday. “After a tough night I see two options: we will believe yesterday’s defeat or work towards tomorrow’s victory,” Ramos wrote on social media. “I chose the latter. Head and heart immersed within the clásico as of now.”

“White panic,” cheered the duvet of El Mundo Deportivo. “Panic at the white house,” declared Sport, gleefully. Pride before a fall may be a lesson they stubbornly refuse to find out which euphoria had not been there the day before. City’s win brought a wave of optimism not provided by Barcelona’s own performance, a 1-1 draw at Napoli. The leaders, too, have their problems, more even than their rivals. it’s not as if they’re reliable, still adapting to new methods having sacked a teacher mid season for the primary time in 17 years.

These are old teams – a dozen over-30s between them – and at Barcelona the division between board and squad runs deep, the institutional crisis, too. “The team has propped up the club,” Gerard Piqué said. Doing so now’s harder than ever. Piqué will play despite an ankle problem but Jordi Alba, Sergi Roberto, Luis Suárez and Ousmane Dembélé are out, leaving Barcelona with 16 first-team footballers; within the second leg against Napoli, it’ll be 13. “That’s the design , unfortunately,” Sergio Busquets said, pointedly.

Messi admitted that at the instant Barcelona aren’t ok to win the Champions League, where they need won two of their last 10 knockout games away. Wednesday posed the question of whether Madrid are either. For now the difficulty is more immediate: are they ok to win the clásico? If “good” is that the word. this is often alleged to be the best game there’s but neither team seems to suit that bill now. On Thursday night two radio shows ran an equivalent debate. Not: “Who comes into the clásico within the better shape?” but “Who comes into the clásico within the worse shape?” Sunday’s meeting, Valdano suggested, is sort of a race between two injured men limping towards the finishing line .

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