Almost 100,000 fans in Barcelona’s Camp Nou Stadium and a worldwide television audience of around 600 million will take their seats on Saturday afternoon to watch the biggest domestic club game in the world as FC Barcelona entertain Real Madrid in what has become known as El Clasico.
For the first time in the history of football a match will feature 360-degree replays. The nail-biting action as Barcelona host Real Madrid in the high-octane El Clasico clash will be available in cutting edge 360-degree replays.
The newly imbibed technology will bring to you the minute skills and turns of stars like Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar, Suarez and others like never before.
The technology has been installed in both The Camp Nou and Santiago Bernabeu – the respective home grounds of the Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid. 28 hi-tech Intel cameras have been set up at both the stadiums.
The hi-tech cameras are equipped with sensors that will enable 5k high quality digital zoom – disseminating images with the help of fibre optics to 360 different servers – that will edited by the filmmakers to bring out the final clip.
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The cameras which are installed behind the goals will follow every minute movement of the footballers.
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The crystal clear 360 degree replays will be used by both the broadcasters and the stadium authorities.
Camp Nou and the Santiago Bernabeu are the first football stadiums to bring in the new technology, which has already been used by other sporting events – most recently at the Superbowl, NBA and in Baseball.
The use of the new 360-degree technology is a part of a three-year deal between Intel and La Liga.
The Spanish press used to call matches between Barcelona and Real Madrid, meetings between the two biggest rivals in World football, the ‘Game of the year,’ then they called it the ‘Game of the decade’ and finally the ‘Game of the Century’ until finally they decided it was easier to call it ‘The Clasico .’
The two clubs have millions of fanatical fans all around the world: their club shops and stadiums are visited by hundreds of thousands of tourists, and although other Spanish teams also count on international fans, there can be little doubt that Barca and Madrid fly the flag for the Spanish football league, La Liga.
Saturday afternoon sees the first ‘El Clasico’ of the season and as well as 99,000 fans in Barcelona’s Camp Nou Stadium, the game will be watched by a worldwide TV audience of over 500 million people, making it La Liga’s showcase event.
Last weekend saw Real Sociedad outplay Barca for 90 minutes to raise serious questions about their form and a 1-1 King’s Cup draw away to third tier Hercules on Wednesday did nothing to dispel those doubts.
The good news for Barca coach Luis Enrique is that he will have Andres Iniesta available for the first time in almost two months after the Spain international recovered from a knee injury.
Iniesta can certainly provide the spark Barca have been missing in midfield, but the Barca coach may be reluctant to risk him from the start of what is likely to be a tense and physical game.
Elsewhere Samuel Umtiti proved his fitness in midweek, while Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba have recovered from knocks they picked up in San Sebastian.
With Leo Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, the Clasico can boast the best two players in the world. In addition, Neymar, Luis Suarez and Luka Modric will all be on hand to make it the most attractive club game on the planet.
Real Madrid have no new injury worries as they prepare for a match which could give them one hand on the league title after just 14 games if they are able to repeat last season’s Camp Nou triumph.
Gareth Bale, who successfully underwent an operation on an ankle injury during the week, will be out until the end of March, while Tony Kroos is also sidelined with a broken bone in his foot.
Madrid boss, Zinedine Zidane’s main issue is whether to start with Isco, who was outstanding two weeks ago as his side won 3-0 away to Atletico Madrid, or Casemiro, who returned after two months out in Wednesday’s King’s Cup game.
Elsewhere Karim Benzema will share an attacking role with Cristiano Ronaldo, who will once again to head to head with Leo Messi: a duel between the two best players in the World, which is fitting for the biggest game in the world.
(WITH INPUTS FROM XINHUA)