Bale, Messi back ahead of next week’s El Clasico | sports | Hindustan Times
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Bale, Messi back ahead of next week’s El Clasico

sports Updated: Oct 19, 2013 01:33 IST
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Barcelona and Real Madrid will be boosted by the return of Lionel Messi and Gareth Bale this weekend as both sides prepare for a vital week in their season.

The two will clash in the first El Clasico of the season at the Camp Nou next weekend and must also negotiate huge Champions League ties in midweek as Real host Juventus and Barca travel to face AC Milan.

A return to league action comes first though, with Madrid welcoming Malaga to the Santiago Bernabeu, whilst Barcelona are away to Osasuna.

The Catalans are sitting pretty atop La Liga, alongside Atletico Madrid, five points clear of Real having won all eight of their league games so far.

Eyeing record
Indeed both Barcelona and Atletico have the chance to match Real’s league record nine wins to start the campaign from the 1968/69 season on Saturday.

And midfielder Sergio Busquets doesn’t want his teammates to lose concentration against a struggling Osasuna side with big games just around the corner.

Messi’s return after missing the victories over Celtic and Valladolid is not the only good news on the injury front for Gerardo Martino’s men as centre-backs Javier Mascherano and Carles Puyol could both feature on Saturday.

Puyol hasn’t played since undergoing knee surgery in March and Busquets underlined his importance as a leader both on and off the field.

Real have the chance to temporarily cut the gap at the top to two points as they play first on Saturday afternoon against an improving Malaga side.

Carlo Ancelotti’s men have been far from impressive despite winning six of their eight league games to date, thanks in large part to last minute winners away to Elche and Levante.

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