This Sunday, for the first time since 2007, neither player will feature when they meet at the Camp Nou in Barcelona for the 247th edition of one of football’s greatest clashes.
Despite their absence, this new era of El Clásico is as intriguing as ever with both clubs currently in a state of flux.
Barça seems to find itself in a perpetual crisis, as beleaguered head coach Ronald Koeman tries to find a winning formula in the post-Messi era.
While things certainly aren’t as bad at Real Madrid, Carlo Ancelotti’s side are still prone to poor performances — most notably, its shock defeat to Sheriff Tiraspol in the Champions League.
However, in French striker Karim Benzema, Real Madrid boasts perhaps the best player in the world right now.
You can read our in-depth preview, including what the Spanish newspapers are saying, here.