Rivaldo Exclusive: Real Madrid should start Gareth Bale in El Clasico
Betfair Ambassador Rivaldo looks ahead to the first of a double header of El Clasicos this week as Barcelona travel to Real Madrid for the second leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final, with the tie delicately poised at 1-1...
"The Welshman is a big game player and proved it in the Champions League final last season with a stunning goal, so I dare to suggest that Santiago Solari should bet on him against Barcelona right from the start of the game."
Messi can make the difference
After a run of just one win in five games, Barcelona got a much needed confidence boost in beating a good Sevilla side 4-2, with Lionel Messi working his magic, scoring a sensational hat-trick and providing the assist for Luís Suárez to score a much needed goal.
Real Madrid are in good form themselves, winning every game since the first leg, so I expect a cautious approach from both sides, and not many goals in the contest. I can see it going 2-1 either way.
Messi continues to post ridiculous numbers at Barcelona and is their main man, so when he is on top form - like at Sevilla - then you'd make Barca favourites to qualify. But if he doesn't show up or Madrid manage to contain him, things will get tougher for the visitors.
Gareth Bale can turn frustration to a positive
Gareth Bale has been criticised in the media after refusing to celebrate his goal at the weekend - and indeed pushing players away - but I don't believe the suggestions he is a bad teammate, I just think he is upset about something and sometimes you end up taking it out on the wrong people.
Bale's objective is to return to the starting 11 after scoring off from the bench twice so it's normal that he is not satisfied about his role as a substitute. Every great player has his moments of frustration where he doesn't want to celebrate a goal. We should not ignore they are also human beings and sometimes you can't hide your feelings.
The Welshman is a big game player and proved it in the Champions League final last season with a stunning goal, so I dare to suggest that Santiago Solari should bet on him against Barcelona right from the start of the game.
With La Liga out of the question, Real Madrid must focus on this match and don't think about the Champions League or next El Clasico. Reaching the final at Barca's cost will be very sweet for their fans.
No bias from VAR officials
VAR continues to be a controversial subject during Madrid games lately, and this weekend they were favoured by a penalty decision at Levante.
As I said have before, I'm not a fan of VAR and I believe these mistakes will continue to happen. But I don't think the weight of the club shirt could have influence on referees' decisions, and Real Madrid will have cause to complain about decisions going against them at some point no doubt.