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Feb 12, 2013

Saturday afternoon slot for La Liga Clasico

The upcoming Primera Division Clasico between Real Madrid and Barcelona at the Bernabeu is to kick off at 1600 CET on Saturday March 2.

Big Spanish games are usually played later in the evening but Madrid had been keen for the fixture to be moved as far forward as possible as Jose Mourinho's side's Champions League last-16 second leg against Manchester United at Old Trafford is on the following Tuesday [March 5].

There had been much speculation over the timing of the game, with Madrid reportedly asking for it to be played on the Friday night to give them an extra day to prepare for the trip to United, an idea that Barcelona were not believed to be keen on.

But Madrid will at least have some extra rest after the kick-off time - officially set by broadcaster Canal Plus, in association with the Liga de Futbol Profesional - for the sixth Clasico of the 2012-13 season was confirmed on Tuesday morning via a short statement on Real Madrid's website.

"Real Madrid has been informed of the timing of their next clash with Barcelona, which will fall on the twenty-sixth match day of the BBVA Liga," the statement said. "Los Blancos will go up against the team from Catalonia at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium on Saturday 2 March at 1600."

Sir Alex Ferguson's side will now have the exact same preparation time as Madrid as they face Norwich in the Premier League at 1500 GMT on Saturday March 2.

The Primera Division Clasico is a huge television event, and even with Barcelona currently 16 points ahead of Madrid in the table, it would be expected to draw a substantial audience.

However, British TV viewers will probably be unable to watch the game, given that regulations prohibit the screening of live club football from England or Europe during the traditional Saturday 1500 GMT afternoon kick-off slot.

Barcelona and Real Madrid will also meet four days earlier at the Camp Nou in their Copa del Rey semi-final second leg, with the tie evenly poised at 1-1 after the first game.

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