Real Madrid vs Barcelona: Los Blancos look to secure first cup in...

Real Madrid vs Barcelona: Los Blancos look to secure first cup in treble bid


Real Madrid will look to secure the first title of the Carlo Ancelotti era as they take on arch-rivals Barcelona in Valencia in the final of the Copa del Rey.

Los Blancos will try to ruin the Azulgranas season, as Tata Martino’s men rely on this tournament as their chance to lift at least one trophy this year.

Madrid seek their 19th Copa title, which could also be the first step to win the treble, if they also manage to succeed in the Champions League and La Liga.

Ancelotti will have to cope with the big loss of Cristiano Ronaldo, who has not recovered on time from his physical problems and will be replaced by Isco. Alvaro Arbeloa, Jese Rodriguez and Sami Khedira are also sidelined due to injuries.

With Marcelo having recently returned to regular training after injury, the Brazilian was the only doubt for Ancelotti, but he will finally miss the game as well, leaving the left-back for Fabio Coentrao.

Meanwhile, Martino will struggle to decide his defence line, as he will probably miss Gerard Pique and Carles Puyol, who are still at the end of their recovery process. Marc Bartra is also a doubt. Against Granada on Saturday, Martino opted to line-up Sergio Busquets as a centre-back alongside Javier Mascherano, with Alexandre Song in midfield.

However, that didn’t work and Barca lost to the Andalucians 1-0. Thus the Argentinian manager might be considering other options in case Bartra cannot play, such as featuring Adriano Correia as centre-back or switching Busquets and Song’s positions.

Victor Valdes is also sidelined due to injury and Jose Manuel Pinto will play his fourth Copa del Rey final. He was the goalkeeper back in 2011, when Real Madrid beat Barcelona 1-0 in Jose Mourinho’s first season at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Los Merengues will try to take advantage from Barcelona’s defensive problems to repeat that result and take the trophy home.

Possible line-ups:
Real Madrid: Casillas; Carvajal, Pepe, Ramos, Coentrao; Modric, Alonso, Di Maria; Bale, Benzema, Isco.

Barcelona: Pinto; Alves, Mascherano, Adriano, Alba; Xavi, Busquets, Cesc; Neymar, Messi, Iniesta.