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Three key battles between Barcelona and Real Madrid to watch out for next season

With the appointment of Hansi Flick as Barcelona’s manager, the upcoming El Clasico is shaping up to be a thrilling spectacle, not only for dedicated fans but also for the neutrals. 

Under Xavi, Barcelona struggled to outperform their fierce rivals, but with Flick’s arrival and his familiarity with some of the players, there is hope that this trend will change.

On the other side, Real Madrid’s acquisition of Kylian Mbappe adds another layer of excitement to the match, and on that note, let’s delve into three key matchups that will likely play a significant role in the next El Clasico.

Carlo Ancelotti vs. Hansi Flick

Hansi Flick has never faced Carlo Ancelotti in his managerial career. (Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images)

Next season will mark the first managerial showdown between Hansi Flick and Carlo Ancelotti. 

Ancelotti, entering the season as the reigning La Liga and UEFA Champions League winner, will face the challenge of maintaining his dominance. Flick, known for his tactical prowess, will aim to unseat the experienced Italian manager.

Ancelotti is regarded as one of the greatest tactical minds in football, however, he will need to adapt his team to integrate Mbappe, which could take some time. 

This past season, he deviated from his usual 4-3-3 formation to accommodate Jude Bellingham, who scored in both Clasicos last season.

The strategic battle between these two top-tier managers will be captivating and pivotal in determining the outcome of the match.

Pau Cubarsi vs. Kylian Mbappe

Pau Cubarsi was extremely effective against Kylian Mbappe. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)

Mbappe’s past encounters with Barcelona have been challenging. Although he has a strong record against them, with six goals in four matches, his recent duels with Pau Cubarsi were particularly noteworthy.

In the UCL quarter-final match between Barcelona and PSG, Mbappe’s potential impact as a future Real Madrid player was eagerly anticipated. 

However, in the first leg, 17-year-old Cubarsi managed to effectively neutralise Mbappe, who ended the game with zero shots on target, winning only three out of 12 duels, and completing just one out of four dribbles.

The second leg saw a shift in momentum for PSG, especially after Ronald Araujo received a red card. Despite this, Mbappe’s influence remained limited before the sending-off significantly altered the game’s dynamics.

Lamine Yamal vs. Ferland Mendy

Lamine Yamal is yet to score a goal against Real Madrid. (Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images)

It is to be noted that Lamine Yamal received a standing ovation from the Bernabeu crowd during a thrilling 3-3 draw between Spain and Brazil in late March. 

This recognition highlighted his impressive performance and potential. Given his exposure this season, Yamal will be eager to make an even greater impact next season.

As a crucial part of Barcelona’s attack, Yamal’s quick and skilful play will be tested against Ferland Mendy, who has been defensively solid for Real Madrid. 

Despite Yamal not yet scoring or assisting against Real Madrid, this could change with a fresh start next season.

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