Camp Nou braces for Clasico fans for 1st time since pandemic

Madrid/Barcelona, Oct 22 (EFE).- FC Barcelona are gearing up to host Real Madrid this weekend in what will be the first Clasico played in front of fans at the Camp Nou since the start of the pandemic, a lifeline for the Catalan club’s books as the club aims to make 119 million euros ($231 million) from its stadium this year.

Barça made 163 million euros from the venue in the 2019/20 season but those figures tumbled when the Covid-19 pandemic forced games behind closed doors. The following year the club made just 25 million, losing out not just on ticket sales but also revenue at the stadium’s bars and shops.

The reopening of the stadium this year is vital for president Joan Laporta in his bid to take a chunk out of the 1.35 billion euros in debt that he inherited from his predecessor, Josep Maria Bartomeu.

On the pitch Barça’s challenge in front of their fans will be to shirk off a three-year curse of not having won the Clasico at the Camp Nou since 2018, when Luis Suárez’s hattrick helped the Catalans romp Madrid 5-1, a result that spelled the end to Julen Lopetegui’s tenure as coach.

Since then, the arch-rivals have competed on three occasions, in which there have been two draws and a Real Madrid victory, in the team’s last visit to Barcelona.

Both team’s head into Sunday’s LaLiga tie following victories in the Uefa Champions League but for the youngsters carrying 7th-place Barcelona this year, it will be a test of mettle.EFE


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