By Greg Robertson
Welcome to the big one as La Liga takes a big step up when these two teams meet… El Clásico with Real Madrid doing battle with Barcelona. It’s the first of the season at Real's Santiago Bernabeu stadium.
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LIVE COMMENTARY… Final Score: Real Madrid 1 Vs Barcelona 3
90 mins - A couple of minutes stoppage time and Ronaldo has once last chance to salvage some pride for Real Madrid. He puts the free kick straight into the wall however and that about sums up Real's night. Barcelona run away with this one, final score - Barcelona 3 Real Madrid 1.
85 mins - Barca winding this one down now, they look to have this one locked away after a frantic start from Madrid it's been all Barca since then.
83 mins - Alexis Sanchez makes way for David Villa, quality to bring off the bench for Barca...Ohhh! Real go close at the near post, that could have made things spicy for the final ten. Video coming.
80 mins - We head into the final ten minutes of the first el clasico of 2011...Barca look to have this one secured, can they put any more past Casillas in this final period.
78 mins - Fabregas takes a well earned rest for Barca, Real Madrid lacking imagination on attack at the moment.
75 mins - Video updated of the latest action and the Barcelona goal, check it out...Real need to make a move soon if they are getting back into this one....Awww! Benzema goes close he has a crack from the left side of the box and just can't curl it enough, good effort.
71 mins - Barca with all the ball and all the momentum at the moment...Real just aren't converting their chances like Barca.
69 mins - Ramos goes in late and studs up on Messi, he gets a yellow card for his efforts and the ref gets an ear full form the Real players...
66 mins - GOAL! Barca extend the lead with a quality finish from Fabregas...A diving header from him latching onto a pin point Dani Alves cross. This team is insane! Video up soon.
65 mins - Awww! A golden chance for Ronaldo, he had a free header from six yards out, could pick his spot....But he didn't hit the target! Should have done better really with that one, video up soon.
62 mins - The cards come out once more, Pepe gets a yellow for a loose challenge on Messi, Barca with a free kick from distance, Messi takes it and just goes wide of the mark, a decent effort though. To be fair to Casillas it looks like he had that covered, video up soon.
58 mins - Aww! Messi cooking up more on the edge of the box, he slips a ball through but Casillas is there to clean up...Barca looking good after that second goal, Kaka is on for Real Madrid.
55 mins - Nearly another back pass malfunction from the Barca side, no drama though as Real Madrid look to strike back, they have a corner kick now....
52 mins - GOAL TIME! Barcelona have scored and it's a bit lucky! Xavi took a shot that was going wide from just outside the box, but it took a massive deflection and completely wrong footed Casillas and snuck inside the goal, video coming soon.
50 mins - On target from Ronaldo but lacked any real power...easy save for Valdes.
47 mins - Both teams get an early touch, Pique goes in the referee's book for clipping Ronaldo on the move, Real to have a free kick from 25 yeards out...Ronaldo slams it straight into the wall and then it's going to be a virtual replay, Benzema is taken down and we will have another Real free kick.
45 mins - Second half kicks off, will we have another goal 20 seconds in?!
Players make their way back onto the pitch, get ready for an action packed second forty minutes.
46 mins - One minute of added time but no more action, it's a deadlock at the break, 1-1 in the first el clasico of the season, see you soon for the second half, in the break check out our video highlights of the first half.
43 mins - Awww! Messi with an awkward tackle there near the halfway mark and the crowd cry out for a second yellow, it's not forthcoming from the ref and Messi was quick to get his hand up in apology!
40 mins - Five minutes out from the break...Barca enjoying the last few with the bulk of possession....Not bale to do much with it though, Stringing the passes together a struggle...
37 mins - Video updated of the goal, Barca have another free kick on the edge, goal scorer Sanchez going down in a heap and rolling about with the amateaur dramatics...The free kick comes to nothing. Looks like Messi was booked also perhaps for arguing with the ref...
36 mins - Things starting to get a little heated on the pitch, players contesting a lot of the refereeing decisions, expect some cards...
32 mins - That's what Barca can do to you, one swift attacking movement and they are right back into this one with a spring in their step.
30 mins - GOAL! Barcelona have struck back through Sanchez but it was all Messi in the buildup...He slipped past a few Madrid defenders and got the ball through to Sanchez in the clear, he put his right foot shot past a outstretched and diving Casillas to even things up in El Clasico. Video up soon.
28 mins - A yellow card for Alexis for a tackle from behind, a few disputes from the Barca players but they can't be too upset really...Nothing comes form the free kick for Madrid.
26 mins - Ronaldo makes a run into space but his shot is well wide, he puts his head in his hands with disappointment. Cheer up mate, it's 1-0.
24 mins - Xavi takes the free kick and forces a punch from Casillas, the ball flies away from danger...Video up now.
21 mins - End to end stuff, both teams lacking the clinical touches and passing we are used to. Barca with the ball now, they have a throw in on halfway...Free kick on the edge of the area, a loose tackle from the Madrid defence and this could go close...
19 mins - Messi bundled off the ball centre field, Real break with Ronaldo taking the ball 35 metres and then letting rip with the right boot, on target but Valdes was equal to the occasion, video up soon.
15 mins - Interesting to think how Real Madrid will play this one now, they have the goal lead, are they willing to sit back a bit now? A dangerous ploy against the star studded Barca side one feels...Messi's men make their way into the Real box but the ball is too heavy for Iniesta and goes for a goal kick.
13 mins - More drama at the back for Barca, this time Valdes skies a clearance and Ronaldo tries to chip him with the scraps...Can't get it on target though, very loose play at the moment. Video updated of the Benzema header.
11 mins - Benzema in the action again, this time he gets a header on target but Valdes is there to take the ball, video up soon.
8 mins - Steady rain falling at the Bernabeu as Messi has a free kick cleared from danger by the Real Madrid defence.
6 mins - Awww! Messi goes close for Barca...A searching run from the magician into the box he pulls the trigger but is denied by a Casillas hand who knocks it away for a corner.
4 mins - Game settles down after that frantic start, Madrid with the lion's share of possession just banging it about in midfield...The game has changed!
1 min - GOAL! WE HAVE A GOAL AFTER ABOUT 20 SECONDS....A shocking back pass and Valdes isn't able to clear further than the top of the box... Real Madrid on the board and what a start to el clasico! VIDEO UPDATED of the goal. Benzema was the man who latched onto the ball and smashed it into the roof of the goal, Valdes left helpless.
Kickoff - We are underway and an awful back pass puts Barcelona in trouble...
VIDEO UP...Kick off moments away.
Not far away from kick off, we have started to take our live pictures now and will bring you them shortly. This will be watched by millions, el clasico 2011! We will also have progressive HIGHLIGHTS from the match as they happen.
Kick off is not far away so in the meantime watch a blast from the past as Barcelona nets five against Real Madrid (sorry Madrid fans)
Real Madrid - Casillas, Arbeloa, Ramos, Pepe, Marcelo, Xabi Alonso, Diarra, Khedira, Di Maria, Benzema, Ronaldo.
Barcelona - Valdes, Alves, Puyol, Pique, Abidal, Busquets, Xavi Hernandez, Iniesta, Messi, Sanchez, Fabregas.
Pre game banter:
With Barcelona having won only two of six away games this season, Real Madrid have a great chance of breaking their rivals' recent dominance when the teams meet in the first 'Clasico' of the league season at Real's Santiago Bernabeu stadium on Saturday (European time).
Under coach Pep Guardiola, Barcelona have seven wins and three draws against only one loss to Madrid in all competitions.
In that period, the Catalan side has won two Champions League and three Spanish league titles among 12 trophies, compared to Madrid's single Copa del Rey victory.
But while Barcelona are struggling away from the Camp Nou in the Spanish league this season, Madrid coach Jose Mourinho is enjoying the best winning run of his highly successful career with his team victorious in 15 successive games overall.
Guardiola acknowledged that his players faced a huge challenge
"In order to win [against Real Madrid] you need to play the perfect game. Because they have a lot of virtues and very little weaknesses. That is why they have achieved such an impeccable record so far this season. Hence we need to go out to the pitch with the exact tone of intensity. But I think that will be already placed upon us there at the Bernabeu stadium," Guardiola says.
Guardiola was asked what impact the game would have on the rest of the season.
But he was reluctant to engage in that sort of speculation.
"I don't think right now on how we will end up in terms of points difference between us and them. I can't prepare a game based on winning or losing speculations whether the distance between the two teams will be insurmountable or not. We have centred our strategy in knowing how Madrid is in contrast to what they were last year. The physical tone of their players and the possible tactical variations they can do," he says.
The Barca coach suggested that his team faced more pressure on Saturday given that Real are three points ahead of them with a game in hand.
"The team behind is the one under more pressure. When you are the leader then you can afford to lose but when you are the second and have to play against a rival such as Real Madrid the going gets tougher. We have a lot at stake tomorrow. Nothing will be definitive either if we win or lose. But evidently it is a very important game," he says.
The 'clasico' between these two teams is by far the biggest clash in Spanish football.
Guardiola said the nerves were part and parcel of the occasion.
"There is the usual tension related to this game. I suppose tomorrow my hands will be sweatier than today. It is both normal and necessary. If we didn't have that sensation it would be a sign that this "clasico" thing is over. You have to feel this well intentioned anxiety before playing over there," he says.
Barcelona edged Madrid over two games to win the Spanish Supercup to start the season, and Saturday's game will be the eighth meeting between the two teams since the arrival of Mourinho at Real Madrid in the summer of 2010.
This run of recent "clasicos" has been marred by bad tackles, accusations of refereeing favouritism and spats that culminated in Mourinho poking the eye of Barcelona assistant Tito Vilanova the last time the two powerhouses met
Right after this game the Catalans will fly to Japan from Madrid's Barajas airport to participate in the FIFA Club World Cup.