Alex Song could go straight into Barcelona’s squad to face Real Madrid in the Supercopa first leg on Thursday, after the midfielder completed his transfer from Arsenal.
Alexis Sanchez, Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique are all pushing for starts, while David Villa is set to be named on the bench again, despite his return from an eight-month injury lay-off in Sunday’s Liga victory over Real Sociedad.
Thiago Alcantara remains the Catalan side’s only absentee as he continues his recovery from a tibia injury.
Real Madrid defender Pepe looks certain to miss the trip to Camp Nou after suffering a nasty collision with team-mate Iker Casillas during Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Valencia, although the injury is not deemed to be serious.
Raul Albiol is expected to deputise for the Portugal international in defence, while Marcelo, Sami Khedira and Karim Benzema are all hoping to earn recalls to the starting XI.
- The Blaugrana have lost just once in their last eight meetings with Real in all competitions (W4, D3, L1).
- Barca have won the last three editions of the Supercopa with victories over Madrid (2011), Sevilla (2010) and Athletic Bilbao (2009), respectively.
- Lionel Messi (pictured right) has scored 13 goals in 19 Clasico encounters across all competitions. Only Cesar Rodriguez has scored more for Barcelona against Madrid (14).
- Real Madrid have lost just once under Jose Mourinho in their last four trips to Camp Nou (W1 D2 L1).
- Mourinho’s overall record in El Clasico matches reads W2 D4 L5.
- Eight of the last 10 red cards in Clasico encounters have been handed to Madrid players.
- Cristiano Ronaldo has scored six goals in 16 previous meetings with Barca, including his time at Manchester United.