There is nothing like picking a combined XI to get the juices of debate flowing here at News.Ladbrokes towers, so with the El Derbi madrilène, or the Madrid derby to you or I, live on Sky Sports we’ve stuck our neck on the line once more.
And it may come as quite a shock to some that seven of the starting eleven selected hail from the less fashionable side of the Spanish capital.
But, we stand by our guns because Atletico Madrid are top of La Liga for good reason this season as Diego Simeone’s side attempt to break the Barca-Real stranglehold on Spain’s top prize.
With the Copa del Rey semi-final first leg being played at the Bernabeu, Real Madrid are the 17/20 favourites to prevail, with Atleti the 3/1 outsiders to take a lead back to the Vincente Calderon and the draw is 3/1.
Starting the Atleti dominated defence off in fine shot-stopping style is Chelsea loan-man Thibaut Courtois.
The Belgian has only conceded 14 goals in 22 games this season, enough said there. Those kind of squeaky clean stats are not solely down to the goalkeeper though.
This is why three of the back four get selected from the Atleti ranks in Filipe Luis, Miranda and seasoned campaigner Juanfran at right back .
Unlucky to lose out are Rafael Varane and Marcelo of Real, but Sergio Ramos does carry the flag for Los Blancos.
In the middle, Angel Di Maria and Xabi Alonso sensationally lose out, though the man with the fouth-most tackles per game in the league, Gabi, gets the nod, alongside Luka Modric, who is pulling the Real strings for Carlo Ancelotti.
Spain’s latest midfield sensation Koke provides assists galore from the hole, while Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale could not justifiably be left out on the right and left respectfully.
With only two La Liga goals shy of Ronaldo’s 22 to date, Diego Costa is a must up top to lead this inter-city rivalry eleven.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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