The champions have suffered a torturous season having been blown out of the water in La Liga by their bitter rivals Barcelona, who have an almost unassailable lead of 16 points over their Madrid counterparts. Local rivals Atletico Madrid have deposed Real as the kings of the capital lying in second position, compounding their dismal league form this season.

Constant speculation over the futures of Jose Mourinho and talisman Cristiano Ronaldo, as well as unrest within the squad involving central figures such as captain Iker Casilias and his deputy Sergio Ramos, has created disharmony and friction within the Madrid camp. As we come to the business end of the campaign, another blockbuster El Clasico encounter awaits Jose Mourinho's men and they will feel this is one of the best times to play the champions elect.

In spite of all the drama and disappointment of a season that has not gone to plan, Los Blancos have a real chance of landing a serious blow to Barcelona's season, one that looked to conquer all for much of the campaign but the Blaugrana have seemed to hit a bit of speedbump in the last week. 

The stinging loss to AC Milan in the Champions League was an uncharacteristically insipid performance that owed as much to Barcelona's inefficiency as well as Milan's excellence. If that was to be a aberration, it certainly did not prove so against Sevilla as they had to come from behind to record an unconvincing win due to another uncharacteristically below par performance.

Barcelona are not playing poorly, but they are not flying at the moment as they have been throughout the campaign and Madrid will feel this is an opportunity to not only deny Barca a shot at a trophy, but to hurt them mentally at a time when they are at their most vulnerable. 

The Copa Del Rey is by no means a trophy that Barcelona will be desperate to win, they are the defending champions and they will feel they have bigger fish to fry so failure to win it will not be the end of the world. Nonetheless, a trophy is a trophy and an El Clasico is no ordinary game.

Real won't be daunted by the task of fronting up in front of 100,000 screaming fans at Camp Nou, they achieved victory last season to seal the title there and will draw confidence from the fact that they defeated Barcelona in this competition in the 2011 decider.

Additionally, Madrid will see the Copa Dey Rey as their most realistic shot at winning a trophy this season as the title race is over and the Champions League is too close to call. They will want to win something this term and a concerted effort will no doubt be made to make this happen.

However, most importantly a win for Madrid or a result that sees them progress to the final will not only add to what would be a disappointing run of games for Barcelona, but pile further pressure on their primary target of winning the Champions League. With a mighty performance required in the second leg against AC Milan in order to progress, confidence is something that will need to be restored between now and the return leg.

An El Clasico game is a good dress rehearsal for the challenge ahead against Milan and anymore unconvincing displays will potentially mean curtains for a season that looked like anything was possible. Real Madrid have the power to perhaps make Barcelona's season crumble if they can get a result at the Camp Nou, and shake Barca's confidence going into the Milan game.

An early exit for Barcelona in the Champions League will mean that a season will be wasted for them, especially as the league title is already sewn up which will mean they will not have anything more to play for, for the rest of the season and will feel the league win will not be as fulfilling since Madrid have not threatened at any point. This will be exacerbated by any trophies Madrid end up winning, especially if they get their hands on a tenth "Big Ears'". 

As the old adage goes for Madrid supporters, Barcelona can win as many league titles as the want, but they will never catch up to Real Madrid's nine European crowns and that is all that matters.

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