Real Madrid will begin their preparations for the 2022-23 campaign with a pre-season clash against bitter rivals Barcelona at the Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on Saturday. Barcelona have played twice this summer, drawing 1-1 with Olot before thrashing Inter Miami 6-0, but Real Madrid have not been in action since beating Liverpool 1-0 in the Champions League final at the end of May. Barcelona started their preparations for the new campaign with a 1-1 draw against Olot on July 13 before making the trip to the United States last weekend for their pre-season tour. The Catalan giants recorded a 6-0 victory over Inter Miami in their opener on Tuesday night, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Raphinha, Ansu Fati, Gavi, Memphis Depay and Ousmane Dembele on the scoresheet against Phil Neville’s side in Florida.
Xavi’s side will take on Real Madrid, Juventus and New York Red Bulls in their final three friendlies of their summer tour before facing Pumas in the Joan Gamper Trophy on August 7; the team’s 2022-23 La Liga campaign will then begin at home to Rayo Vallecano on August 13. Barcelona have made four signings during the summer window, bringing in Andreas Christensen and Franck Kessie on free transfers, while Raphinha and Robert Lewandowski have arrived in big-money deals, with the club able to make some statement acquisitions despite their financial problems.
The Catalan side were second in La Liga last season, 13 points behind the champions Real Madrid, who won 2-1 at Camp Nou in the league towards the start of the 2021-22 campaign. Barcelona thumped Los Blancos 4-0 at Bernabeu in March, though, with Xavi’s team sending out a message with the dominant victory in El Clasico. While the 2021-22 campaign proved to be a frustrating season for Barcelona, the same cannot be said for Real Madrid, who won a La Liga and Champions League double. Carlo Ancelotti’s side were too strong for the rest of the competition in Spain’s top flight, boasting a record of 26 wins, eight draws and four defeats from their 38 matches to collect 86 points, which saw them finish 13 points ahead of second-place Barcelona.
Real Madrid beat Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Manchester City in the knockout round of last season’s Champions League to reach the final, where they recorded a 1-0 victory over Liverpool to lift the trophy for the 14th time in their history, and the capital side will again be contenders for the crown in 2022-23. The Spanish champions have improved their squad this summer with the signings of Aurelien Tchouameni and Antonio Rudiger; Kylian Mbappe was also expected to arrive on a free transfer, but the France international instead decided to sign a new contract with Paris Saint-Germain.
Ancelotti recently insisted that the club’s transfer business has finished, but it would not be a surprise to see them boost their squad with another new signing before the end of the window, as a number of first-team players are currently being linked with moves away from the club. Lewandowski could make his debut for Barcelona, with his move for Bayern Munich now official, although it is unlikely that he will come straight into the side, with the striker potentially featuring off the bench.
Gerard Pique and Ferran Torres will both be hoping to feature for the Catalan side, having missed out against Inter Miami with fitness issues, while Sergio Busquets, Ronald Araujo, Jordi Alba and Gavi could come into the side following the clash with Inter Miami. Frenkie de Jong is unlikely to start amid the speculation surrounding his future, with Pedri, Gavi and Busquets potentially playing behind Aubameyang, Ferran Torres and Raphinha, with Dembele and Memphis expected to feature off the bench for the Catalan outfit. As for Real Madrid, summer signings Rudiger and Tchouameni could both start El Clasico, with the former potentially featuring alongside Eder Militao in the middle of the defence.
David Alaba could therefore start at left-back, with Toni Kroos and Casemiro potentially featuring alongside Tchouameni in a midfield three. A strong squad includes the likes of Eden Hazard, Rodrygo, Vinicius Junior and Karim Benzema, with all four players expected to feature at some stage of the contest. Marco Asensio is also in the squad despite being strongly linked with a summer exit, and it remains to be seen how involved he is over the summer amid the speculation surrounding his future.
Barcelona possible starting lineup:
Ter Stegen; Dest, Araujo, Christensen, Alba; Gavi, Busquets, Pedri; Raphinha, Aubameyang, F Torres
Real Madrid possible starting lineup:
Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Rudiger, Alaba; Tchouameni, Casemiro, Kroos; Rodrygo, Benzema, Vinicius