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Posted at 03:47 PM ET, 01/18/2012

Real Madrid vs. Barcelona: Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo meet in Copa del Rey quarterfinal


It’s Ronaldo. It’s Messi. It’s El Clasico. (PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU - JOSEP LAGO - AFP/Getty Images)
El Clasico returns for a fourth installment this season when Spanish super-powers Real Madrid and Barcelona clash in the Copa del Rey quarterfinals, today at 4 p.m. EST at the Santiago Bernabeu (GolTV, ESPN3.com).

Barca’s five-point deficit in the standings won’t be impacted by tonight’s result, but another strong showing against the team’s bitter rivals could help Lionel Messi and company get back on track in La Liga.

Real enter as defending Copa del Rey champions, but the Catalans regained the momentum in the series with a come-from-behind win in their early December La Liga matchup.

What drama will the eighth El Clasico in the last nine months bring?

Earlier this month, Messi became the first player to be named FIFA player of the year three consecutive years. He’ll try to work more magic against Cristiano Ronaldo and company on Wednesday, but as always, Barcelona’s possession game and deft passing will be the focus of the Catalans’ attack.

“We will go to the Bernabeau and try to be the main protagonists in the match,” Xavi said. “We will try to dominate possession — keeping the ball is the best defense which exists.”

Who has the edge in this home-and-home series, which concludes at Camp Nou on Jan. 25?

Let’s let Barcelona defender Gerard Pique answer that one.

“In a Barca-Madrid there are no favorites.”

Your in-game discussion is welcome in the comments section below.

By  |  03:47 PM ET, 01/18/2012

 
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