The Catalan Derby played between Barcelona and Espanyol is a huge occasion in Spain and a matter of great personal pride in Catalonia. Thus, like always, fireworks are expected when the two sides clash in their first derby of the season on Saturday (1:15 am IST Sunday).

While it is a given that the likes of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez will be in the thick of the action, there will plenty of talent on display who possess the ability to decide the outcome of the game.

Lionel Messi
File photo of Lionel MessiDenis Doyle/Getty

Here are 5 players from the Catalan derby to look out for:


Espanyol has made an excellent start to their 2018-19 season of the La Liga campaign and Marc Roca is one of the main reasons why. New coach Rubí has built his side around the 22-year-old midfielder, who is as highly adept at winning the ball back as he is at keeping possession. He'll be vital if Los Pericos are to hold their own in the centre of the park.


Coutinho took his first steps in Spanish football with Espanyol while on loan there during the 2011/12 season, so this will be a homecoming of sorts for him. With the Barcelona squad hit by a plethora of injuries ahead of this game, the club's record signing will need to step up and provide the leading support to Lionel Messi in the attack.

Philippe Coutinho at his Barcelona unveilingDavid Ramos/Getty


Summer signing Iglesias has hit the ground running at Espanyol and has already become a fan favourite with his goals. The striker scored 23 goals in the Segunda Division for Real Zaragoza last season and is already well on his way to matching those numbers in his first top-flight campaign with eight in 13 matches. This will be his first match against Barcelona and he'll be keen to prove himself in his side's biggest game of the season so far.


A club symbol at Barcelona, Piqué is always in the thick of things in this fixture. Last season, he scored a late equaliser for Barcelona as they secured a dramatic 1-1 at the RCDE Stadium. While the centre back does possess a keen eye for goal, his main task will be to keep it tight at the back. Pique will be particularly crucial if his side is to keep a clean sheet against Espanyol as the home side has not been shy in front of goal this season.

Gerard Pique Barcelona Karim Benzema Real Madrid
Barcelona defender Gerard Pique tussles for the ball with Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema in the El ClasicoReuters


Any team that manages to pick up a point or even three against Barcelona's all-conquering attack will need a strong performance from their goalkeeper. Diego Lopez would thus have to repeat his heroics from last season when he made four big saves in a 1-1 draw. The 37-year-old knows all about big matches against Barcelona, given that he faced them three times between the sticks in a Real Madrid shirt.

The match will be streamed live on La Liga's Facebook page.