El Clasico set to enter new chapter after 16 years on Sunday

For the first time in 16 years, this Sunday’s El Clasico match will be played without the presence of either Sergio Ramos or Lionel Messi.

The last few months have marked a real period of change for Real Madrid and Barcelona both on and off the pitch, and that was arguably never more evident than during the summer transfer window. Sergio Ramos and Lionel Messi, the players that were regularly viewed as their respective club’s “talisman”, left Spanish football and made the jump over to Ligue 1 with Paris Saint-Germain.

PSG have since formed what can only be described as a super-team with Real and Barca being left to rebuild their squads in an entirely new light. So far there have been mixed results with Madrid faring better out of the two, but this weekend is going to feel like a particularly strange occurrence for anyone who has sat down and watched El Clasico in the last decade and a half.

The Ramos & Messi era is over

It’s hard to find longevity in a sport as elite and competitive as football but Ramos and Messi were always stalwarts in defence and attack. In many respects they still are, but the statistics speak for themselves as this will be the first time in over 6,000 days that Real Madrid play Barcelona without either man taking part.

That’s 48 games of action we’ve seen transpire both in Europe and domestically, and it’s crazy to think that the pair are still going strong – and that they’re doing so for the same club.

Before the excitement can really kick in, though, Real Madrid have an away day against Shakhtar Donetsk to deal with whereas Barcelona host Dynamo Kyiv tomorrow.

Featured image credit: Getty