Pitchside Europe

European Match of the Weekend: Barcelona-Real Madrid

Pitchside Europe

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A huge weekend of football across the continent features a Milan derby and the resumption of the ever-fiery PSG-Marseille rivalry.

But top billing goes to the biggest game in club football as Barcelona host Real Madrid in El Clasico.

Remarkably, a home win could effectively end the title race even before the clocks have gone back.

Barca have won six from six, and lead a stuttering Madrid side by eight points already.

If they extend that gap into double figures, then Real might as well leave the Liga trophy at the Camp Nou when they go home on Sunday night.

Barca dropped a total 15 and 18 points repsectively in their their title-winning campaigns in 2009-10 and 2010-11.

Lose this weekend, and Real would pretty much have to win all 31 remaining games to retain the title.

Jose Mourinho's improving side, and have won their last four games in all competitions.

Their 4-1 Champions League win over Ajax on Wednesday featured Cristiano Ronaldo's second hat-trick in four days.

A similar performance on Sunday could be enough to clinch the Ballon d'Or for Ronaldo, who is looking to unseat his great rival Lionel Messi.

Messi has gone three games without a goal - a lifetime by his staggeringly prolific standards - but coach Tito Vilanova's bigger concern is at the back where Carles Puyol is set to miss eight weeks with an elbow injury.

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Live minute-by-minute commentaries:

Saturday
Real Valladolid v Espanyol - 19:00
Genoa v Palermo - 19:45
Real Betis v Real Sociedad - 21:00

Sunday
Siena v Juventus - 14:00
Barcelona v Real Madrid - 18:50
AC Milan v Internazionale - 19:45

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