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Messi eyeing 500 as Barca bid to reignite season in Clasico

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Neymar to miss El Clasico after Barcelona loses appeal on Brazilian striker's suspension

Barcelona, which will miss Neymar because of a suspension, is in a rut.

Neymar served that suspension last weekend as Barcelona beat Real Sociedad 3-2.

The Catalan giants face Real Madrid in sore need of a win - now trailing their rivals by three points at the La Liga summit having played one game more. "It is a special game, it is the biggest game in the world and the players know it, the club know it, the fans know it", he said.

"I think the big clubs can not stop from signing new players and renewing the squad every single year because it is too demanding to be there because they have to be always first, they have to be champions in all the competitions that they play".

Asensio, 21, confirmed his status as one of Europe's most exciting young talents with a virtuoso solo goal to round off the scoring after Ronaldo's hat-trick.

Ronaldo has 16 goals in 26 matches between the clubs, the third-best mark behind Messi and Madrid great Alfredo Di Stefano.

An enduring image of Pique is the defender gleefully holding his hand aloft, five fingers outstretched, to represent each of the goals Barcelona netted in their 5-0 win over Madrid at Camp Nou in November 2010.

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Homegrown winger Lucas Vazquez has proved a more than able deputy for record signing Gareth Bale, whose season has been blighted by injury, while Spain global Isco has scored nine goals in 15 league starts and netted twice in Sunday's 3-2 win at Sporting Gijon. He also had a pair in a 2-0 win in the semifinals of the Champions League in 2011.

Lionel Messi is enduring the worst El Clasico run of his career as Barcelona prepare to face Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday.

They also have to play fourth-placed Sevilla in the penultimate round of matches and go to Deportivo where they so often struggle to get results.

Madrid enters this clasico in much better form, having won six of its last seven league games.

La manita didn't quite happen, with Thierry Henry instead notching one of the most pointless consolation goals in Clasico history in an eventual 4-1 scoreline, but Real Madrid and Barcelona were both left in absolutely no doubt about which side was on top at that particular moment.

Barcelona has won only two of its last five games, with losses to Juventus in the Champions League and Malaga in La Liga.

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