Real Madrid-Barcelona El Clasico 2017 team news, injuries, suspensions: Neymar out; Bale fit to start?

Hours away from El Clasico, when Real Madrid plays Barcelona in a match that could go a long way in clinching the title for either, both clubs might not be at 100 percent full strength. Barcelona will be down one of its star players while there is a chance Real Madrid could be down one of its best. 

Here's the latest: 

Is Gareth Bale fit to be in the Real Madrid starting lineup?

Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane said Gareth Bale was in doubt for the clash with a calf muscle problem that he picked up in the 2-1 win at Bayern Munich a week and a half ago but he has since returned to practice and has been named in Real Madrid's squad.

It remains to be seen if he'll be in the starting lineup or on the bench. If he's on the bench, we could see a bit of a formation change and have James Rodriguez join the starting 11 or perhaps Lucas Vazquez on the wing if he can't start. Another option is the hot hand of Isco, who has started quite a bit lately. 

Bale is obviously a fantastic player whose speed and ability in the air only makes Real better. He looks like he is winning the race to be fit for the match, but ultimately we will see if Zidane picks him.


Barcelona will be without Neymar 

The Brazilian superstar was suspended for three matches for his actions against Malaga two weeks back where he sarcastically applauded the fourth official after being shown a red card. He already served this past weekend's win over Real Sociedad and misses the Real Madrid clash.

Barca tried to appeal the ban but ultimately failed to get anything done before El Clasico.

With him out, Barca may go with Paco Alcacer in attack with Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi, or maybe Luis Enrique goes with Arda Turan.

Not having Neymar is certainly a blow, especially in a match Barca can't afford to lose.

Neymar Jr. shown a red card during La Liga match between Barcelona and Malaga. Getty Images

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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 Full Bio

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