Reports in Spain have suggested the champions’ trip to Catalonia could be called off after the region declared independence from Spain on Friday
Real Madrid will visit Girona on Sunday for what is bound to be a highly charged encounter two days after the region of Catalonia declared independence.
Speculation has suggested police are assessing the safety risks of allowing the fixture to go ahead after the Catalan government voted to leave Spain on Friday.
With the Spanish government set to impose direct rule in an attempt to prevent the split, the arrival of the capital’s biggest club will inevitably be greeted with hostility.
|Game||Girona vs Real Madrid|
|Date||Sunday, October 29|
|Time||15:15 BST / 10:15 ET|
TV CHANNEL & LIVE STREAM
In the UK, the match will be available to watch live on television on Sky Sports Football and by stream via Sky Go.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
|Sky Sports Football||Sky Go|
In the US, the match will be available to watch live on television on beIN Sports and by stream via beIN Sports Connect.
|US TV channel||Online stream|
|beIN Sports||beIN Sports Connect|
SQUADS & TEAM NEWS
|Defenders||Espinosa, Mojica, Ramalho, Alcala, Juanpe, Muniesa, Planas, Maffeo|
|Midfielders||Granell, Pons, Portu, Amagat, Benitez, Douglas, Timor, Boulaya, A. Garcia, B. Garcia|
|Forwards||Stuani, Olunga, Moreno, Kayode|
Girona picked up a valuable 2-1 win away to Deportivo in their last league match and could name a similar lineup.
The Catalans have five players on loan from Manchester City and three of them – Pablo Maffeo, Aleix Garcia and Larry Kayode – are likely starters, with Douglas Luiz and Marlos Moreno also in contention.
Potential starting XI: Bono; Ramalho, Espinosa, Juanpe; Maffeo, Pons, A. Garcia, Benitez; Portu, Kayode, B. Garcia.
|Position||Real Madrid players|
|Goalkeepers||Casilla, Luca, Moha|
|Defenders||Vallejo, Ramos, Varane, Nacho, Marcelo, Theo, Achraf|
|Midfielders||Kroos, Modric, Casemiro, Llorente, Asensio, Isco, Ceballos|
|Forwards||Ronaldo, Benzema, Vazquez, Mayoral|
Madrid remain without Dani Carvajal, Mateo Kovacic, Gareth Bale and Keylor Navas, though Bale is closing in on a return.
Kiko Casilla will continue in goal but whether or not Luca Zidane is fit enough after a shoulder injury to retake a place on the bench remains to be seen.
Potential starting XI: Casilla; Achraf, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Isco; Benzema, Ronaldo.
BETTING & MATCH ODDS
Madrid are 2/7 favourites to win, according to dabblebet, with Girona priced at 9/1 and the draw available at 5/1.
Click here to view dabblebet’s full selection of available match markets.
Catalonia is preparing to go it alone.
The region’s attempts to split completely from wider Spain will inevitably be drawn out for some time yet as both sides of the argument claim the legal high ground.
And so the Spanish football season will progress with the division between its two biggest clubs facing the possibility of being made even more tangible by a real border.
What that means for the future of La Liga and Barcelona’s place in it remains to be seen.
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But Real Madrid – assuming this match is not rescheduled or moved to another location – will get their first taste of life as a symbol of the Spanish government when they take on Catalan club Girona on Sunday.
If the game does go ahead, a large police presence is inevitable and it also appears that Madrid will travel in an unmarked bus rather than their normal official vehicle.
It looks set to be a complicated weekend for the Blancos, but may be but a partial preview of what the situation could be like when they visit Camp Nou next year.