The latest chapter in the fiercest and most decorated rivalry in European football will be played out when Real Madrid host Barcelona in Saturday's pre-Christmas clash.
Madrid are the reigning Spanish and European champions but Barca are threatening to resume their recent domestic dominance of the duel, sitting pretty at the top of LaLiga.
Neymar might have left the Clasico stage, while form and fitness issues afflict Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale, but Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are primed to continue their perpetual battle for supremacy as the best footballers on the planet.
Barca boss Ernesto Valverde suffered back-to-back defeats to Madrid in the season-opening Supercopa de Espana and knows all too well that the history of this bitter feud is littered with stunning plot twists and unforgettable deeds.
Messi top of the table
Among the array of all-time lists Messi sits at the top of, he is El Clasico's leading scorer. The mercurial Argentinian has 24 goals in 36 appearances, with 16 strikes coming in LaLiga.
Feliç Sant Jordi! Una, una camiseta, 2-3 i cap a casa. pic.twitter.com/tCYdy80F7g
-- Gerard Piqué (@3gerardpique) April 23, 2017
If Ronaldo is on target on Saturday, he will draw level with Madrid great Alfredo Di Stefano in second place on 18 goals. Di Stefano still far outstrips the four-time Ballon d'Or winner in terms of LaLiga goals in El Clasico with 14, while nine of Ronaldo's 17 overall have come in the Supercopa and Copa del Rey.
Next up is Raul (15), while two more Madrid heroes - Francisco Gento and Ferenc Puskas - have 14 alongside Barcelona's Cesar.
Longest winning runs and head-to-head record
Madrid churned out five consecutive LaLiga titles at the start of the 1960s and amassed their longest winning run against Barca in this period.
Between April 1962 and February 1965, Los Blancos won seven consecutive Clasicos. Barca came closest to matching this tally when Pep Guardiola won each of his first five games as head coach against Madrid.
The overall head-to-head in the rivalry is almost impossibly close, with Madrid holding 95 wins to Barcelona's 92, while the two heavyweights have finished honours even on 49 occasions.
'Cinco-Zero' and the biggest wins
An important part of El Clasico's historical narrative, certainly as far as Barcelona fans are concerned, is formed by 5-0 wins.
They won by this margin in 1935 and 1945, but the most famous "Cinco-Zero" came at the Santiago Bernabeu in February 1974, when the Dutch master Johan Cruyff inspired a seismic thrashing of Madrid on their own patch.
As coach of Barca, Cruyff led his "Dream Team" to a 5-0 Clasico win at Camp Nou in January 1994, although Madrid responded in kind with a 5-0 of their own 12 months later.
The symbolism was not hard to spot when ardent Cruyff disciple Guardiola oversaw a 5-0 thumping of Jose Mourinho's Madrid in November 2010.
Barca have twice bettered this famous margin in terms of goals scored, winning 7-2 in LaLiga in 1950 and 6-1 in the Copa seven years later.
Madrid still boast the two largest wins on the record books - 11-2 in June 1943 and 8-2 in February 1935.
Crossing the divide
Celebrated Denmark playmaker Michael Laudrup finished on the preferable side of each 5-0 derby in the 1990s after he swapped Barcelona for Madrid in 1994.
The vitriol reserved for Laudrup paled alongside that endured by Luis Figo when he moved from Catalonia to the capital in 2000 - a world-record transfer that infamously saw a pig's head thrown at the Portugal winger on his Camp Nou return.
Luis Enrique was a team-mate of Laudrup's at the Bernabeu but moved to Barca in 1996 for an enduring spell that would play a part in him returning for his decorated tenure as head coach.