Real Madrid will make the short journey across town to the Vicente Calderon possibly for the last time on Saturday as they meet Atletico Madrid for the final La Liga derby to be contested at the storied stadium.
Saturday’s derby pits the best attack in the league against the best defense. While Real Madrid have scored 53 goals in all competitions this season, Atletico have only given up nine.
Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has received a boost on the injury front with defender Sergio Ramos and Karim Benzema having returned to full training this week. Both are likely to start against Atleti, while Pepe, Toni Kroos, Casemiro and Alvaro Morata remain sidelined by injuries.
Benzema is likely to spearhead Madrid’s attack along with the other two members of the “BBC,” Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale. Although Atleti have proved a difficult nut to crack for Ronaldo who has failed to score in his last six encounters with them.
Six is also the number of league meetings with Madrid that Atletico have now gone unbeaten by their rivals. That discounts the hurtful loss of last season’s Champions League final of course; the second Atleti had lost to Real in just three years.
But while Atleti no longer hold the same sway over Madrid they did a couple of seasons back, they haven’t lost to their crosstown rivals at the Calderon since 2013. With Atleti set to relocate to the new 70,000-capacity Estadio La Peineta next season, this final clash with Real at their historic ground carries extra weight for Diego Simeone’s team.
The combative Argentine manager of Atletico has also received good news on the injury front. Leading attacker Antoine Griezmann suffered a foot injury while on international duty with France this week. However, scans revealed no broken bones and the leading scorer for Atleti is expected to be fit to start on Saturday.
Madrid are in the midst of a 28-match unbeaten streak currently, while Atleti have lost just twice this season – on both occasions they were playing on the road. While it would be an overstatement to call Saturday’s game a must-win for Simeone, with his side sitting in fourth place, six points behind Madrid, he at least must not lose.
Don’t miss the final installment of the Madrid Derby to be played at the Vicente Calderon, Saturday November 19 at 2:45 p.m. one BeINSports.