Barcelona must weigh up the choice whether to rest Lionel Messi for Saturday’s trip to Getafe before a congested run of fixtures, while Real Madrid is still waiting on the return of Eden Hazard from injury. Messi played the complete 90 minutes in Argentina’s World Cup qualifiers against Ecuador and Bolivia during the international break, the second of which was played at altitude in La Paz. The Barca captain has not missed one minute for his club since football resumed in June following the coronavirus shutdown.
However, with seven games within the space of 21 days awaiting Barca, coach Ronald Koeman could elect to offer Messi a breather before the beginning of the team’s Champions League campaign.
Barca host Hungarian side Ferencvaros on Tuesday then faces sworn enemies Real Madrid four days later behind closed doors at the Camp Nou.
The Catalan club head to Italy for a Champions League clash with Juventus on October 28 before games against Alaves and Real Betis either side of the visit of Dynamo Kiev.
Leaders Madrid is unbeaten in La Liga since March, winning 13 of their past 15 games, and welcome Cadiz to the capital this weekend.
Zinedine Zidane could also prefer to rotate some players but Thibaut Courtois, Karim Benzema, and Vinicius Junior are in line to play after resting while others were away on international duty.
Courtois left the Belgium squad with a back injury and while he’s fit to return, compatriot Hazard isn’t yet ready for action.
The 29-year-old has yet to feature this season having picked up a muscle injury as he worked his way back from an ankle problem.
He is also expected to miss next weekend’s Clasico, but Courtois believes Hazard will come good after scoring just one occasion in an injury-plagued first season in Spain.
“I haven’t any doubt we are getting to see the simplest of Hazard,” Courtois told Cadena Ser radio.
“He is more desperate than anyone to point out it. He’s coming along well and hopefully, soon he can prove it.
He added: “I am sure that in no time he will explode and can give many joys to the team.”
Atletico Madrid visits Celta Vigo in their first game since the sale of Ghana midfielder Thomas Partey to Arsenal on transfer deadline day.
Party made 188 appearances for the Atletico and was a part of the edges that reached the 2016 Champions League final and beat Arsenal on the thanks to winning the Europa League in 2018.
One to watch: Oussama Idrissi
The Dutch-born Morocco international could make his Sevilla debut at Granada after joining the club on a five-year deal from AZ Alkmaar.
Idrissi, 24, scored 13 goals in 25 games within the Eredivisie last season before it had been declared over in March thanks to the Covid-19 outbreak.
Julen Lopetegui’s Europa League winners are one among four undefeated teams in La Liga this term, with seven points from their first three matches.
12 – goals scored by Sergio Ramos since the beginning of the 2019/20 season, quite the other defender in Europe’s top five leagues.
250 – goals scored by Karim Benzema for Real Madrid. The Frenchman is merely the fifth player to succeed in the mark in club history.
Saturday (all times GMT)
Granada v Sevilla (1100), Celta Vigo v Atletico Madrid (1400), Real Madrid v Cadiz (1630), Getafe v Barcelona (1900)
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Eibar vs Osasuna (1000), Athletic Bilbao vs Levante (1200), Villarreal vs Valencia (1400), Alaves vs Elche (1630), Huesca vs Real Valladolid (1630), Real Betis vs Real Sociedad (1900)
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