Sergio Ramos' return to the Real Madrid first XI has come just at the right time for Los Blancos.
Heading into El Clasico minus the ex-Sevilla warhorse would have weakened Real's chances of coming away from Camp Nou with all three points.
As it is, Ramos is likely to take Raphael Varane's place alongside Pepe and provide a proverbial brick wall which the Catalans will have to break down to have any chance of surging four points ahead in the title race.
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Varane is looking increasingly likely to make a move to the Premier League, with Chelsea confirmed admirers of the youngster.
Despite previously looking like a world-beater in the role, the Frenchman has suffered with injuries and a crisis of confidence, so a move is probably best for all parties at this juncture.
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Ramos has no such issues and he will relish the chance to test himself against the triple threat of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez.
He'll certainly have to be on his mettle because all three are playing at the top of their game at the moment and will be a much different proposition to the Blaugrana that turned up at the Santiago Bernabeu at the end of October.
The only possible question mark over Ramos' suitability for this particular Clasico is a lack of match fitness.
There are absolutely no worries from a defensive perspective, but if Ramos is turned he's certainly not going to beat any of Barca's attack in a footrace, with just 90 competitive minutes under his belt in the last three months.
Regardless of the result on Sunday, Ramos will be pivotal in the run in for Los Blancos.
Adept at both aerial and direct combat, he is everything you want from a modern-day defender. It's no coincidence that in Real's last eight games, they have won just four sans Ramos.
Compare that to the 22-match winning streak earlier in the season.
Messrs. Bale, Benzema and Ronaldo will always take the plaudits of course, but it's about time connoissuers of the defensive art started to pay appropriate homage to one of their own.
Ramos brings experience and stability and alongside Pepe, is a fearsome and combative presence.
Yes he reecived a yellow card upon his return last week against Levante, and the likelihood is he'll pick up another against Barca. But isn't that what you want from your defenders? Full, 100 percent commitment. No quarter asked or given.
Every title winning side is built on a sound defence and Ramos can help bring the league silverware back to the Bernabeu.
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