The final chapter of the El Classico will be played out at the Nou Camp as Barcelona hosts Real Madrid in the second leg of the Champions League semi final.
After three classicos failed to live up to the tag of the 'world's biggest game', hopes will be pinned on this final fight between these two giants to deliver a performance worth all the hype.
The first leg was such a letdown that the tie was dubbed 'hell classico' after a capacity crowd at the Santiago Bernabeu, all hoping for a footballing spectacle, were treated to a display of rubbish histrionics as tempers got the better of the players, the managers and the technical staff of both sides. Half time saw Barcelona substitute keeper Pinto receive a red card for his role in a melee, while the second half saw Pepe sent off for a challenge on Dani Alves, though replays suggested Alves was guilty of diving and theatrics. Madrid manager Jose Mourinho was sent off to the stands for his protests and he will have a place reserved in the stands today as a punishment for his vitriol and subsequent accusations of Barcelona, UEFA and suggesting a conspiracy theory. There were allegations of racial abuse as well, as Madrid accused Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets of calling Marcelo a mono (monkey).
The whole encounter will not be remembered for the right reasons; of which there were was just one instance. Lionel Messi scored twice in the game to all but secure Barcelona's progress into the finals bar a miracle Madrid comeback in the second leg today. Messi's second goal was one which oozed class and it served to light up an event which was otherwise a shame.
The 2-0 lead for Barcelona sets them up nicely for the second leg. Mourinho will have to shed his 'parking the bus' strategy and use his attacking wealth to good effect if he wants Madrid to become the first team to overthrow a 2-0 first leg home deficit and progress to the Champions League final. However, opening up will only allow space for Barcelona to exploit with their own attacking maestros, especially since Madrid will be without their best cover in front of their defence as Pepe is suspended.
Madrid will hope to score an early goal and then strike Barca on the counter. Barca will look to dominate possession, score an early goal themselves and kill off any inspiration held by Madrid.
For the sake of football, it should be hoped that these two sides shed the shoddy tactics and play the game the way it's meant to be played.
Click here to watch - Is Sergio Busquets calling Marcelo a mono (monkey)?