Soccer on TV: How to watch Barcelona-Real Madrid and other big European rivalry games this weekend
Manchester United vs. Liverpool, Inter Milan vs. Juventus, and Marseille vs. Paris Saint-Germain are all on deck this weekend.
Kansas City vs. Gotham FC
Friday, 8 p.m. (twitch.tv/nwslofficial)
Gotham looks to continue its climb up the NWSL standings as it plays the first of two games in hand on the rest of the playoff contenders. Some national team regulars will be gone with their countries because it’s a FIFA window. But Margaret Purce wasn’t called up by the U.S., so expect her to have a big role here.
Valencia vs. RCD Mallorca
Saturday, 8 a.m. (ESPN2, ESPN Deportes)
On the eve of La Liga’s biggest game, the spotlight will shine on two big-time U.S. national team youngsters who call Spain home: Valencia’s Yunus Musah and Mallorca’s Matthew Hoppe.
Seattle Sounders vs. Sporting Kansas City
Saturday, 3:30 p.m. (Univision 65, TUDN)
The top two teams in the west lock horns again, this time in the Emerald City. Seattle tied 1-1 at third-place Colorado on Wednesday, giving the Sounders a six-point lead over Sporting and the Rapids. A win here would put the home team closer to locking up a first-round playoff bye.
» READ MORE: The rest of this weekend's MLS schedule
Fluminense vs. Flamengo
Saturday, 6 p.m. (Paramount+)
The rivalry weekend theme extends to Brazil, where a split house at Rio de Janeiro’s famed Maracanã stadium will take in the 109-year-old Fla-Flu derby.
Club América vs. Tigres UANL
Saturday, 10 p.m. (Univision 65, TUDN)
This clash of Mexican powers will probably be the most-watched game of any aired in the United States this weekend, since Liga MX is the most-watched soccer league on U.S. TV. And it’s a big game in the standings, with América in first place and Tigres in fifth.
» READ MORE: Club América manager Santiago Solari has ties to South Jersey
Barcelona vs. Real Madrid
Sunday, 10:15 a.m. (ESPN+)
There’s so much to talk about with El Clásico, which is still the world’s biggest club rivalry game even without Lionel Messi in it.
For a lot of U.S. fans, the talk starts with the broadcast only being on ESPN+. The kickoff time is the biggest reason why. It was set to prioritize viewers in Asia, where the game will be a nighttime event.
ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes all have live NFL studio shows on Sunday at 10 a.m., and they wouldn’t be bumped for this. Nor would it make sense for ESPN to only put the game on ESPNews in English, because the Spanish-language TV audience would be much bigger.
But there will be hour-long preview shows on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes Sunday at 9 a.m. And with the network sending 18 broadcasters and reporters to the game, there should be a lot of promotion elsewhere.
Before the season, La Liga executives made no secret of their desire to set an El Clásico kickoff time that would get it on ABC here. But they didn’t say it about both games each season. The expectation among industry sources is that Real Madrid’s home game on March 20 will be the one with a good kickoff time for U.S. TV.
Now let’s talk about what we’ll see on the field. Both teams have big-name veterans: Real’s Karim Benzema and Luka Modrić, and Barcelona’s Sergio Agüero and Memphis Depay. But the players you really want to watch are some dazzlingly talented youngsters.
Real Madrid has Vinícius Junior (21), who scored two world-class goals in the Champions League on Tuesday; and Eduardo Camavinga (18), who’s ticketed to be France’s next star.
Barcelona has Ansu Fati (18), Gavi (17), Eric García (20), and a raft of others — including American right back Sergiño Dest, who’s been playing very well lately.
Take it from ESPN’s Steve McManaman, a former Real Madrid stalwart who will call the game on site with Ian Darke. McManaman played against Barcelona seven times from 2000-03, including in the 2002 Champions League semifinals.
“The Clásico was equally as big before Messi, and before Cristiano Ronaldo,” McManaman said. “It will be again, regardless of [who’s on] the two teams, and it will be in 10 years from now.”
Ajax vs. PSV Eindhoven
Sunday, 10:45 a.m. (ESPN+)
This is one of the Netherlands’ big rivalries. First-place Ajax, with Mexican midfielder Edson Álvarez, stunned Borussia Dortmund with a 4-0 rout in the Champions League on Tuesday. PSV, in second by one point, has German veteran Mario Götze and American youngster Richard Ledezma — who’s been out a long time with an injury, but is soon to be back.
Manchester United vs. Liverpool
Sunday, 11:30 a.m. (NBCSN, Telemundo 62)
As if the Premier League’s biggest rivalry wasn’t big enough already, both teams will come into it off wild 3-2 wins in the Champions League: United over Atalanta at home (after trailing 2-0), and Liverpool at Atlético Madrid.
On the domestic front, Liverpool is in second place in the league, while United is four points back in sixth. But form doesn’t always matter when the Reds go to Old Trafford. They’ve won just two of their last 15 visits, going back a decade: this past May (with no fans in attendance) and March 2014.
» READ MORE: The rest of this weekend's Premier League schedule
Inter Milan vs. Juventus
Sunday, 2:45 p.m. (CBS Sports Network, Paramount+)
Only one game in Italy gets the title of Derby d’Italia, and it’s this one. Inter, led by Edin Dzeko and Lautaro Martínez, will aim to rebound from a 3-1 loss at Lazio last weekend. Weston McKennie and Juventus’ unbeaten run is now at eight games in all competitions.
» READ MORE: The rest of this weekend's Serie A schedule
Olympique Marseille vs. Paris Saint-Germain
Sunday, 2:45 p.m. (beIN Sports, beIN Sports Español)
In the old days of France’s biggest rivalry, the top game was when Marseille’s juggernaut visited Paris. Now it’s when PSG’s stars head south to the cauldron atmosphere of the Stade Vélodrome. This will be a huge game for Marseille’s American winger Konrad de la Fuente, as he tries to help third-place OM upset Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappé and company.
» READ MORE: The rest of this weekend's Ligue 1 schedule
Atlético Madrid vs. Real Sociedad
Sunday, 3 p.m. (ESPN+)
This game is just as big for the La Liga standings as El Clásico. Mikel Oyarzabal and La Real are is in first place, while Luis Suárez and Atlético are three points back in fourth.
» READ MORE: The rest of this weekend's La Liga schedule