The first "El Clasico" of the 2021/22 season is upon us. FC Barcelona will be welcoming Real Madrid to the Camp Nou for an early kickoff on Sunday, October 24. While a match between these two rivals is always a spectacle, there is something very different this time around. All eyes will be on two youngsters, contrary to El Clasico matches in the past.

This rivalry between the two biggest clubs in Spain is one of the most celebrated worldwide, and the history of the match has been filled with legendary names. In recent years, the likes of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Andres Iniesta, Carles Puyol and other similar names have led the way for Barcelona. Real Madrid meanwhile, could always count on such legends as Sergio Ramos, Cristiano Ronaldo, Raul and Iker Casillas to make a mark.

This year, veteran superstars are taking a backseat. Both former captains Messi and Ramos are no longer with their respective clubs, and while other veterans like Gerard Pique and Karim Benzema are still around, all eyes are on Ansu Fati and Vinicius Jr.

Fati returned from a lengthy injury earlier this month and made an instant impact for the Blaugrana. The new number 10, who inherited Lionel Messi's shirt, is out to prove that he fully deserves the Argentine legend's jersey. The mood at the entire Barcelona camp has changed since his return, and his two goals in only three appearances so far has led Culers to believe that he will make the difference when they face Los Blancos on Sunday.

The 18-year-old showed last season that he isn't intimidated by big games, and it remains to be seen if he will deliver this time around.

Meanwhile, Real Madrid's Brazilian forward has breathed new life into his career this season. He had a promising start thanks to the opportunity given by Santi Solari in 2019, but he lost his way under Zinedine Zidane. Now, it appears as though Carlo Ancelotti has found a way to fine tune the young Brazilian's talent which is so obviously there. Last season, he was criticised for his fancy dribbling and lack of finishing. This year, he has already scored five times in only eight games.

Needless to say, both players have had a scorching season so far. Their performances on Sunday will surely be a glimpse into what the future holds for both clubs.

Vinicius Junior
Real Madrid's Brazilian forward Vinicius Junior celebrates after scoring against Barcelona OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP