Barcelona and Real Madrid renew their rivalry in the two-game Spanish Supercup series this weekend in what should be an early indicator of each teams’ form ahead of the new season.
The teams met five times last season and this preseason series between league winner and domestic cup champion provides two more clashes, starting with Sunday’s first-leg at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium followed by the return at the Camp Nou on Wednesday.
Madrid are waiting on the health of defender Sergio Ramos (back) but new midfielder Nuri Sahin is out with a knee injury. Turkey midfielder Hamit Altintop (back) also misses out.
Lionel Messi returns to the comfortable confines of his club team to lead Barcelona after a disappointing Copa America tournament with Argentina. New signing Alexis Sanchez is expected to make his debut while the Catalan club closes in on Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas, whose return to his boyhood club looked imminent on Friday.
But Barca could be without key players such as Xavi Hernandez, Gerard Pique and Sergio Busquets because of injury. Xavi (leg) and Pique (leg) trained with the team but Busquets worked out on his own Friday.