This weekend, the two biggest clubs in world football collide in one of the most-watched games globally every year.
But this time, the narrative is a very different one.
When Real Madrid head to the Nou Camp to face Barcelona in the first Clasico of the season they won’t be greeting with the usual fiery welcome from thousands of fierce Catalans draped in maroon and blue.
In fact, they won’t be greeted by anyone at all. The Nou Camp will have 99,000 empty seats watching these two giants, both currently fighting on one knee.
Rarely have either of these two sides come into this famous fixture in so much turmoil, one of them off the pitch and the other on it.
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‘Heading for the Europa League’ the headline of one Spanish paper sarcastically read following Madrid’s dreadful 3-2 defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk on Thursday morning (AEDT), a scoreline which gave the 13-time champions far more credit that they deserved.
One journalist accused Zidane of choosing his team and formation simply by throwing oranges in the air and seeing where they landed in what was Real’s second consecutive defeat, following the shock defeat to recently-promoted Cadiz on the weekend.
And despite Barcelona’s 5-1 Champions League win covering up the blemish of defeat to Getafe in their last LaLiga outing, there is genuine feeling that someone else could win the league this year.
It was the first time both rivals had lost without scoring on the same day since May, 2000, when Deportivo La Coruna won the league, with the two Clasicos finished 3-0 to Madrid and 2-2 that season.
Zidane’s headaches are not helped by yet another injury to Eden Hazard, while Martin Odegaard is also on the treatment table, as he has switched from a 4-3-3 with two wingers to a 4-4-2 with no wingers so wilfully.
There are also problems in the boardroom, as the club went without making a signing in the transfer window for the first time in 20 years, but those issues seem much smaller than the ones on the field right now.
But for Barcelona, the shoe is on the other foot.
While there are still problems on the field with Ronald Koeman lacking an out and out centre forward to complement the likes of Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele, Ansu Fati and Philippe Coutinho, the financial crisis gripping the club is far greater.
The club is projecting a £271m shortfall in revenue this season which will likely be tackled with the continued slashing of what was the largest salary bill in Europe.
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Frenkie de Jong, Gerard Pique, Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Clement Lenglet have all agreed to new deals where they receive the same amount of money but over a longer period, but others have not been so easy to persuade.
And then there is the looming exit of Messi unless he changes his mood towards the club before his contract expires next year and the petition to force a vote on whether the current board should be able to see out their term of office until March 2021.
When the two sides kick off in front of no fans in the early hours of Sunday morning (AEDT), there will be nowhere for anyone to hide, especially Zidane, with the tide beginning to turn against him despite winning LaLiga just a few months ago.
Lose again and the Real Madrid hot seat could become rather uncomfortable.