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Combined XI: Real Madrid v Barcelona (Current)

One of the most famous rivalries in world football, the latest El Clasico meeting of Real Madrid and Barcelona will see Los Blancos look to extend their commanding eight-point lead at the top of La Liga.

Real Madrid v Barcelona

Real Madrid's Jude Bellingham was the hero in the last El Clasico at the Estadi Olimpic back in October, with the Englishman netting the second of two goals in injury time to seal a 2-1 victory for Los Blancos after Ilkay Gundogan had given Barcelona an early lead.

Despite the eight-point deficit between the two rivals in Spain's top flight at present, both Carlo Ancelotti and Xavi's squads are packed with quality.

In anticipation of this weekend's spectacle in the Spanish capital, we have pieced together a combined XI featuring players from the two La Liga adversaries.

Focusing on players who are fit and available for El Clasico on Sunday, our selected team is assembled in a 4-3-1-2 formation...

GK: Marc-Andre ter Stegen

Joining Barcelona as a 22-year-old from Borussia Monchengladbach in 2014, Marc-Andre ter Stegen has developed into one of the best goalkeepers in Europe over the past decade in Catalonia.

Still only 31, relatively young as far as goalkeepers are concerned, Ter Stegen is a dependable figure who Barcelona can always rely on between the sticks, boasting impressive athleticism and shot-stopping ability.

Missing three months of this campaign due to a back injury, Ter Stegen will hope to fend off stiff competition from Manuel Neuer to enter this summer's Euros as Germany's number one, with the Bayern icon having not featured for his country since breaking his leg in December 2022.

RB: Dani Carvajal

A five-time Champions League winner with Real Madrid, the evergreen Dani Carvajal has enjoyed a terrific campaign for Los Blancos this term - registering four goals and two assists in 24 La Liga appearances.

The 32-year-old provides this Real side with invaluable experience and knowhow from right-back, with Carvajal both a formidable defender one-v-one and capable of providing attacking thrust on the overlap going forward.

Although not getting any younger, Carvajal is a seasoned operator who embodies Real Madrid's famed winning mentality.

CB: Ronald Araujo

Making his first team breakthrough in 2020/21, Uruguayan central defender Ronald Araujo has grown into an increasingly authoritative figure on the pitch for Barcelona in the past few years.

At 6ft 4in, Araujo is an imposing presence at the back who also possesses the quickness and ball-playing ability of a top level modern defender.

Although prone to a lapse in concentration from time to time, as demonstrated when sent off in Barcelona's Champions League quarter-final exit to PSG, at 25 Araujo is a defender with vast potential.

CB: Antonio Rudiger

Arriving at Real Madrid on a free transfer from Chelsea in the summer of 2022, Rudiger struggled to dislodge a centre-back partnership of Eder Militao and David Alaba in his first season at the Bernabeu.

With both Militao and Alaba struck down by ACL injuries this term, Rudiger is currently the cornerstone of a Real Madrid defence which has conceded the fewest goals in La Liga this season.

An aggressive defender who never shirks a physical exchange on the pitch, Rudiger is also exceptionally quick on the ground and comfortable in possession.

LB: Joao Cancelo

Previously an important cog in Pep Guardiola's Manchester City winning machine in the Premier League, Portugal international Joao Cancelo has been an important player for Barcelona since signing on loan from the Citizens last summer.

Equally capable at both right-back and left-back, Cancelo is one of the most technically impressive defenders you are ever likely to see, and has contributed four goals and four assists in all competitions for Xavi's side this season.

Although brilliant on the ball and capable of creating countless chances for his team, Cancelo can be exploitable from a defensive perspective.

CM: Aurelien Tchouameni

Making 33 La Liga appearances last term after an £85.3m move from AS Monaco, 24-year-old midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni is continuing to grow in influence for Real Madrid.

A well-rounded midfielder who is typically deployed as a number six, Tchouameni has been forced to fill in as an auxiliary centre-back for Los Blancos recently following long-term injuries suffered by Eder Militao and David Alaba.

A fully fledged France international - scoring a memorable long-range goal against England in the quarter-finals of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar against England - Tchouameni looks set to be a key player again for Les Bleus at the Euros in Germany in summer.

CM: Ilkay Gundogan

Captain of Manchester City's Treble-winning side last season, Ilkay Gundogan opted to embark on a new challenge ahead of this campaign by signing for Barcelona on a free transfer.

33-year-old Gundogan has made a positive impression in Catalonia, recording 11 goal contributions in La Liga as a regular starter in Xavi's midfield.

An exceptionally intelligent midfielder capable of both dictating the tempo of possession and making clever late runs into the box, Gundogan will captain Germany in their home Euros finals this summer.

CM: Federico Valverde

The fact that no Real Madrid player has made more La Liga appearances than ever-present midfielder Federico Valverde underlines the Uruguayan's importance within Carlo Ancelotti's side.

A tireless operator who can play both centrally and out on the right flank, Valverde is a complete midfielder who aids this Real Madrid team both defensively with his work-rate and offensively with his technical quality.

The ultimate team player, at 25 years of age Valverde has the capacity to improve even further and become a mainstay at the Bernabeu for many years to come.

CAM: Jude Bellingham

Although much was expected of Jude Bellingham following his £88.5m switch from Borussia Dortmund last summer, the 20-year-old Englishman's impact at Real Madrid has been nothing short of sensational.

In the absence of a recognised world-class striker following Karim Benzema's departure to Al-Ittihad last summer, Bellingham has been charged with assuming major attacking responsibility in an advanced midfield position in his maiden season in Madrid.

This tactical approach employed by Carlo Ancelotti - which typically sees Bellingham positioned just behind inside forwards Rodrygo and Vinicius Jr - has proved dividends, with the England international Los Blancos' top scorer in all competitions this season on 20.

RF: Rodrygo

A player who seems to increase in prominence for Real Madrid with each passing year, 23-year-old Brazilian winger Rodrygo has enjoyed his best goalscoring season in La Liga this term - with 10 goals to date in Spain's top flight.

A typically Brazilian forward with lightning speed and tremendous skill, Rodrygo is one of the most watchable players in Europe at the moment, and gives this Real Madrid side great balance with his compatriot Vinicius Jr often deployed on his opposite flank.

Rodrygo's quality has also been conspicuous on the Champions League stage this season, with the Santos youth product scoring four goals in nine appearances in Europe's premier club competition in 2023/24.

LF: Vinicius Junior

Developing into one of the faces of Real Madrid in recent seasons, 23-year-old Brazil international Vinicius Jr is now widely recognised as one of the top attacking players in world football.

A fearless forward renowned for his direct running and ever-improving finishing, Vinicius is a nightmare for opposition defences to contend with.

One half of a devastating Brazilian forward duo alongside Rodrygo for Los Blancos, Vinicius has registered 28 goal contributions so far this season in all competitions - 18 goals and 10 assists.

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