Analyzing Barcelona-Real Madrid

With four showdowns in the next month, it's time to break down soccer's best rivalry

Updated: April 15, 2011, 2:02 PM ET
By Albert Larcada | ESPN Stats and Information
Denis Doyle/Getty ImagesOnce again, the key for Barcelona will be keeping Cristiano Ronaldo out of his comfort zone.

This Saturday, Barcelona and Real Madrid will meet for the second time this season in La Liga. Four days later, they will play in Valencia for the Copa del Rey title; a week after that, they will play the first leg of their Champions League semifinals tie; a week after that, they will play the second leg.

Four "Clasicos" in 18 days!

The implications for each game are very high, as always. The winner of the match on April 20 will capture the King's Cup, Spain's most prestigious domestic tournament. The winner of the two-legged Champions League semifinals tie will advance to the Champions League and be the heavy favorite to win the trophy (more on that in a bit).

Albert Larcada is an Analytics Specialist in ESPN's Stats & Information group. Among other analytics projects, he maintains, advances and writes about ESPN's Soccer Power Index (SPI) algorithm.