Real Madrid is under plenty of pressure ahead of the first El Clasico contest of the season. With lingering doubts over the future of boss Julen Lopetegui, it's not the only dilemma Los Blancos fans will have ahead of the Sunday afternoon clash.
Since leaving in the Summer for Italian champions Real have yet to replace all-time leading goalscorer Cristiano Ronaldo in the side. Ahead of the big match at the Nou Camp, we have profiled three players who could step up and replace the void left my CR7 in the Real Madrid attack. You will be able to watch all the action and build up to El Clasico on Sunday the 28th of October with beIN SPORTS CONNECT.
Karim Benzema was long seen as the perfect strike partner for Cristiano Ronaldo, with the French striker often setting up goals for CR7. With Ronaldo now departed, can the former Lyon man refind his form and deliver against Barca on Sunday for Los Blancos?
Benzema is the leading scorer in the side with five goals in all competitions so far this season. Although the majority of his goals have come towards the start of the season, with braces against Leganes & Girona in August & September.
Encouragingly, the 30-year old did recently find the back of the net in the 2-1 victory over Viktoria Plzen in the Champions League midweek. Benzema is likely to lead the line on Sunday and could prove to be a useful target man for Real against a Barca backline that has had its fair share of mistakes so far this season.
Gareth Bale was brought to Real Madrid for a then world record fee in the summer of 2013 and hailed as a future replacement for Ronaldo. It's safe to say that Bale has developed at Madrid, but now is the time for the Welsh attacker to step up for Los Blancos.
Bale has been slow to start the season but does have three goals in eight La Liga appearances to his name. Tellingly the 29-year old last found the back of the net at the start of September against Leganes so the attacker is certainly due a goal. Real Madrid's number eleven tends to step it up for the big games, and that was shown perfectly last time the two sides met at the Nou Camp. With 15 minutes left to play, Bale scored a stunning equaliser with a shot from outside the box. Los Blancos fans will be hoping that Bale can produce another moment of magic come Sunday afternoon.
Could Marco Asensio step up for Los Blancos and deliver Real a victory in El Clasico? The 22-year old is widely heralded as one of the brightest talents in the Spanish game, and could potentially write his name in folklore with an impressive performance on Sunday evening.
Asensio, much like most of the Madrid squad has not impressed this season and has only found the back on the net once in the league so far. Last time in the Champions League, Asensio came onto replacing Bale in the side and generally has been used on the right side of an attacking front three. The Spanish international is no stranger to scoring in El Clasico with his curling strike from outside the box sealing a 2-0 win the in the Super Cup in 2017.
Can Real Madrid survive without Cristiano Ronaldo in El Clasico? You can watch all the action on Sunday Live & Exclusive via beIN SPORTS CONNECT.