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Dublin: 3 °C Sunday 19 January, 2020

El Clasico watch: 10 things to expect from tonight's game

Busquets will roll around clutching his face a lot, writes Paul Ring in a preview which will probably make him seem like Nostradamus by this time tomorrow.

By the look of things, Paul Ring is not the only one who can't stand the sight of Busquets.
By the look of things, Paul Ring is not the only one who can't stand the sight of Busquets.
Image: Paul White/AP/Press Association Images

1. A gigantic, fantastic mosaic.

THEY KNOW HOW to do them in Barca, and tonight they have prepared this.

The text reads “Thank you, team” and not “Thank you, UEFA” which presumably Jose would think is appropriate

2. Sergio Busquets to be mysteriously felled.

It must be hard for the midfielder. In every game he plays he is attacked, often in the face by some ghostly presence.

Perhaps Florentino Perez has a voodoo doll of him.

3. Lionel Messi to score.

Well the odds would suggest it, wouldn’t they? 51 games this season, 52 goals. Messi must be able to relate to Dr Cox in Scrubs: “Lord, my brilliance is now becoming a bit of a burden.”

Of course, he wouldn’t have beaten half the Real team last week for his second had Pepe been on the field, right?

4. The ref to be surrounded.

It won’t matter what the decision is. There will be a shriek, most likely from Dani Alves and half of each side will look for bookings. The ref will contemplate opening a crèche, Alves will be on his fifth roll, and Sergio Ramos will feign innocence.

5. Ronaldo will throw his hands in the air.

Like he cares. You thought we were joking when we said he’d turn you into a right-back eh, Cristiano? Not quite there yet but last week he was in the Dirk Kuyt defensive striker role. He wasn’t happy and he complained and Sergio Busquets fell over.

6. Sky commentators to refer to Pique as ex-United.

He left them three years ago and has won two la liga titles, one Copa Del Rey, one Champions League, one Club World cup and the World Cup.

He is also dating Shakira. All downhill after Old Trafford, son.

7. Victor Valdes to do nothing, really.

He may take the odd goal kick. Xavi may play a ball back to him if he seems cold but that will be it.

He will definitely be on the pitch in case you are wondering. The reserve keeper Pinto got sent-off last week after hitting Alvaro Arebola with a slap that may have killed Busquets.

8. Busy laundry baskets for Real.

Jose got around his last touchline ban from UEFA by sneaking into Chelsea’s dressing room in a laundry basket. He may deploy a similar tactic tonight. How else will Di Maria know how to dive or Ramos know how to foul?

He can also remind Cristiano of his defensive duties and remind Káka that even though he is on the bench he is contributing as much as one Barca player – Valdes.

9. Rome 2009 to be mentioned.

Barca won that game don’t you know. United are out for revenge and they may have Darren Fletcher this time.

One Sunday paper suggested Jose would hand over his tactical dossier to Fergie to help combat the Catalans. Let me save you a phone call, Alex: kidnap Messi, foul, dive, cheat, hope Cristiano scores.

10. Someone will get sent-off.

In each of the last four clasicos, a red has been shown. To a Madrid player. Expect similar tonight.

Two yellows for Carvalho? Straight red for Marcelo? Either way, Busquets will fall over.

Join Adrian for minute-by-minute coverage of tonight’s Champions League semi-final second leg >

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Paul Ring

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