Prior to kick-off, all corners of the Nou Camp were united in paying homage to legendary footballer and manager Johan Cruyff, but the hostilities resumed as soon as the whistle was blown to signal the start of the match.
Barcelona signed Arda Turan in July 2015 for an initial fee of £24 million although, like Aleix Vidal, he was only able to make his debut for the Catalans in January once the club’s transfer ban had been lifted.
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The 29-year-old Turkish captain has made an encouraging start to his Barcelona career, setting up four goals and scoring twice in 12 starts, including an audacious overhead kick against Getafe last month.
Barca suffered a 2-1 loss in Turan’s first taste of El Clasico, but he is by no means a stranger to fierce footballing rivalries.
The ex-Atletico Madrid playmaker scored the winner at the Bernabeu back in September 2014 but he was also sent off in a Madrid derby for a reckless foul on current Madrid skipper Sergio Ramos in April of 2015.
Turan’s first Clasico
He entered what is the most watched fixture in world football in the 74th minute, coming on as a substitute for Croatian international Ivan Rakitic with the scores level at 1-1.
Turan received a big cheer from the Barca supporters upon his arrival, who were appreciative of the fact that it was his first Clasico.
When he came on, the visitors were arguably in the midst of their best spell of the entire game and were looking dangerous through Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.
It was the latter who set up the former for Real Madrid’s winner, with the game spiralling out of control following the dismissal of Ramos – the 21st of his Los Blancos career.
Barca struggled to keep the ball in the final 15 minutes, however, Turan showed some neat touches and visibly tried to quicken the tempo with his passing and dribbling skills.
Although he struggled to make a definitive impact in his cameo role, he had a small chance to rescue an equaliser late on but saw his shot blocked.
Should Turan have started?
Ahead of El Clasico, Barcelona manager Luis Enrique tinkered slightly with his formation, deciding to switch from his accustomed 4-4-3 formation to a 4-2-2 system with a diamond in midfield.
Rakitic and captain Andres Iniesta operated on the right and left of that diamond respectively, however, Turan is arguably more suited to those roles than both Rakitic and Iniesta, who normally play in more central midfield positions.
Over the course of his near four-year stay at the Vicente Calderon, Turan proved that he is very comfortable in a number of different roles, from playing in slightly wider areas to the inside midfield position in which he has mainly been deployed by Enrique thus far.
Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone, a coach who Turan flourished under, used him just as much as a winger as he did an attacking midfielder.
The versatile star will be eager to try and earn a starting berth in what remains of the season. The upcoming La Liga fixture away to Real Sociedad could potentially see Turan earn a much more involved role in proceedings, with a crucial European away tie against Atletico just four days later.
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