El Clasico 2017: Barcelona vs. Real Madrid predictions; will Messi or Ronaldo score?

It's almost here -- Barcelona and Real Madrid reunite on Sunday in La Liga in a match where the stakes are as high as they have been in the league. Real Madrid, in first place with a three-point cushion, will look to all but end second-place Barcelona's title hopes with a win, which would put the hosts six points clear with a match in hand.

Below is our prediction for El Clasico 2017. But first, some important notes about recent clasicos to keep in mind: 

  • Over the last 16 El Clasico matches in La Liga, there have been an average of 3.6 goals per game
  • In those matches, none finished 0-0 and only once was there just one goal
  • Messi is the leading goal scorer in El Clasico all time with 21 goals, 10 in the last 16 league meetings
  • In that same span, Cristiano Ronaldo has eight goals

PREDICTION

Barca is reeling having won just one of its last four matches, while Real hasn't lost since Feb. 22.  And with Neymar suspended, all signs point to Real Madrid getting at least a draw, which at the end of the day I think it would take. Watch me go with Real Madrid and then Barca trash Los Blancos 4-0. I'm a big believer in momentum, and I don't believe in this Barcelona team defensively. They did concede seven goals at Juventus and PSG, and Real is better than both. In the end, Barca doesn't concede as many as in Paris, but it does concede and fail to win. 

Real Madrid 3, Barcelona 2

Goal Scorers

Real: Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Sergio Ramos

Barcelona: Messi, Rakitic

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CBS Sports Writer

Roger Gonzalez is an award-winning writer based in Virginia that has covered pro soccer from Europe's top clubs to Argentina's first division. Roger started out his pro soccer writing career with Goal.com... Full Bio

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