Just three points separates Real Madrid and Barcelona in the La Liga standings going into Sunday’s El Clasico match between the two sides from Madrid’s Santiago Bernabéu Stadium. beIN Sport will have the broadcast at 2:45 eastern, with Phil Schoen calling the match alongside the legendary Ray Hudson.
In a lengthy interview with Awful Announcing, which you’ll be getting bits and pieces of over the course of the next week or so, one of the main talking points was how highly Hudson, who’s fighting what he called “a damn cold,” regards El Clasico and what the rivalry means to him.
“Obviously it’s the greatest game on planet earth,” Hudson told Awful Announcing. “There’s really no game that culls together the greatest footballing stars in the planet like El Clasico does. There’s always something different about every one of them. There’s always a different acting dynamic going on that changes from season to season.”
Beyond Lionel Messi for Barcelona and Cristiano Ronaldo for Real Madrid, who both have their own Twitter hashtag emojis for this weekend along with four other Clasico players, Barca will not have Neymar in the lineup following an unsuccessful appeal of a suspension.
“Really it’s the quality of football that it all comes down to, at a very high tempo pace,” Hudson said. “The type of artistry that you just don’t see anywhere else in the world.”
With a game in hand, a win at home for Real would go a long way towards clinching the La Liga title, with just six more league games remaining for Barcelona. After a 1-1 draw in December at Camp Nou, some are calling the second leg of this year’s Clasico a must-win for the away side.
Hudson said he’s done at least 30 of these matches over the course of his broadcasting career, and it almost always lives up to the hype.
“I can remember maybe one where it was a little disappointing, where you came away a little bit disappointed,” he said. “Usually, you come away from those games absolutely looking for an oxygen tank, and it really just sucks it out of you.”
With what’s at stake in the league standings, the incredibly large following the two teams have around the world, the star power and the hundreds of millions of fans who will likely follow Sunday’s game worldwide, it’s no wonder that Hudson firmly believes that there is no rivalry in sports quite like El Clasico.