Barcelona travel to the Spanish capital to take on Atlético Madrid on Saturday, November 24th. This fixture throws up all kinds of drama every season, so here are five players to keep an eye on when the sparks start flying.

ARTHUR MELO (FC BARCELONA)

With Ivan Rakitic suspended for this fixture, even more will be expected of 22-year-old Arthur Melo in the Barcelona midfield. The Brazilian’s star has been growing throughout the course of his first season in Spanish football and this will be one of his biggest tests yet as the Blaugrana try to keep possession against a very difficult opponent.

RODRIGO HERNÁNDEZ (ATLETICO MADRID)

Atlético have a 22-year-old possession-loving midfielder of their own in Rodrigo Hernández. Signed from Villarreal in the summer, he has become increasingly important for Los Colchoneros and even scored his first goal in red and white last time out in the dramatic 3-2 comeback victory against Athletic Club.

FILIPE LUÍS (ATLETICO MADRID)

With Lionel Messi back from injury, all the left-backs in LaLiga Santander are suddenly back to having nightmares. With Filipe Luís expected to play on the left of defence for Atlético in this match, meaning he’ll be tasked with keeping the Argentine quiet… not an easy task. These two South Americans have great respect for each other but have thrown up some highly entertaining duels in the past. This one promises to be fascinating.

GERARD PIQUÉ (FC BARCELONA)

Barcelona’s defence have made a mixed start to the season, conceding 18 goals in the first 12 games (an average of 1.5 per game). As the undisputed leader of the back line, Piqué is the man tasked with solidifying a defence his side will need to shore up if they want to stay on course to retain their title.

SAÚL ÑÍGUEZ (ATLETICO MADRID)

The Atleti midfielder loves a goal on a big occasion. He steps up on Champions League nights, in derby matches and in blockbuster LaLiga Santander clashes like this one. In fact, he scored a screamer for Atletico in this fixture last season, with the match ending in a 1-1 draw after Luis Suárez’s equaliser. Pay attention if Saúl shapes up to shoot.

Watch Atletico Madrid vs FC Barcelona this Saturday from 06:45 AEDT, on BeIN Sports 2 and in 4K on Foxtel channel 444.

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Damon Palmar
damon@footballnationradio.com