Cristiano Ronaldo, Nacho, Jordi Alba and Sergi Roberto will miss El Clasico on 23 April if they pick up a yellow card in their respective games for Real Madrid and Barcelona this weekend. Los Blancos visit Sporting Gijon on Saturday, while just hours later their arch-enemies host Real Sociedad in search of a victory to keep pressure on the La Liga leaders.
Ronaldo has once again been top scorer for Zinedine Zidane's side, scoring 28 goals in 37 appearances this season, including 19 in La Liga.
However, the Ballon d'Or has been booked four times in the process and he would miss the visit of Barcelona should he be shown another yellow when Real Madrid visit Sporting Gijon on Saturday.
Zinedine Zidane may thus decide to rest Ronaldo at El Molinon and keep him fresh for next week's crucial games against Bayern Munich and Barcelona.
The situation regarding Nacho is more complicated as Raphael Varane and Pepe are already ruled out for those games due to injury – meaning that Zidane only has him and Sergio Ramos to play at the heart of defence.
Nacho will be hoping to stay out of trouble against Sporting as a hypothetical suspension for El Clasico would give Zidane big problems in stopping Lionel Messi and co.
Meanwhile, Luis Enrique has concerns of his own as Alba and Sergi Roberto will also miss the trip to Real Madrid if they pick up a yellow card against Real Sociedad.
The two full-backs might not be as important for the Barcelona manager as Ronaldo and Nacho for Zidane, but their potential absences for El Clasico would still be a blow. Neymar is also expected to miss the trip to Real Madrid after having been given a three-game ban while Rafinha Alcantara and Aleix Vidal are ruled out until next season due to serious injuries.
Alba may not play against Real Madrid anyway having fallen out of favour since the switch to 3-4-3 formation, but Sergi Roberto has been the starting wing-back on the right side of the pitch since Rafinha's injury.
Real Madrid are currently leading La Liga, three points ahead of the Catalans and with a game in hand to be played against Celta Vigo. Unless Barcelona drop more points against Real Sociedad, El Clasico could be be a title decider.
You may be interested in: