With just hours left for the first El Clasico of the season, the players have already engaged in a battle of words and here’s a look at what everyone has to say about the biggest match of the season.
Barcelona legend Iniesta came out and asked Real’s Cristiano Ronaldo to learn and ‘adapt’ after the Portuguese criticised the fixture which has forced the Galacticos to play two big games in quick succession.
“The fixtures list is what it is. Other times we’d have gone into the game with less time to prepare. You have to adapt”.
Talking about the El Clasico, Iniesta reminded the fans that this fixture will be hard-fought and that Barcelona will face a severe test to win three crucial points at Santiago Bernabeu
“El Clásico is always a tough, hard-fought match. You have to be better in every aspect of the game to be beat Real. You have to beat them in every area of the pitch. It isn’t just another game. It never is. Clásicos are always unpredictable. It’ll be a hard-fought game. This is a very strong Real side and playing them in their own back yard won’t be easy.”
Talking about the game, the maestro urged Barcelona to not be complacent and to fight for the three points up for grabs at the Bernabeu.
“We have to go there to win. We mustn’t think that we’ll still be top of the table, no matter what happens. Our aim this Saturday is to put in a great performance and win”.
Talking about Luis Suarez who has been guaranteed his debut at Santiago Bernabeu, Iniesta believes that the Uruguayan was in an ‘uncomfortable’ position due to his ban but backed him to make a strong impact at Barcelona.
“He’s in an uncomfortable situation. Not playing is the worst thing that can happen to a player. We hope he can contribute and perform as he always has.”
Meanwhile Real Madrid captain Iker Casillas believes that the Galacticos possess a ‘win-win’ mentality which will urge them to beat Barcelona at home on Saturday.
“We’re in good shape going into ‘el Clásico’. The team is strong in every position and responds well to the gaffer’s changes. We have to continue with this win, win, win mentality. The entire world grinds to a halt for these games and our sole objective is to win and make up some ground on Barcelona”.
Meanwhile the Colombian World Cup hero has admitted that he is excited to play his first El Clasico and believes that Real Madrid are a strong squad going into the much-anticipated fixture.
“It’s going to be a tough, complicated game. I’m calm, excited and very eager to help the team take all three points. I feel good and so does the rest of the team. We’re a strong squad and we’re all on the same page.”
Meanwhile Barcelona new boy Rakitic has said that the El Clasico is a dream come true for the Croatian and that he looks forward to repaying the fans for trusting him at Camp Nou.
“I dreamed of this as a boy, but now I don’t want to dream about it, I want to live it. The best thing for me now is being able to live it from the inside. It’s a huge responsibility and I want to pay back the club and the fans for all their faith in me”.
New signing Bravo, who is yet to concede a single goal in the La Liga will be entering the Santiago Bernabeu knowing fully well what his team is getting into as he prepares himself to face the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema. However the goal-keeper has dismissed suggestions of stage fright and believes that the opportunity to play the El Clasico at the Bernabeu will serve to motivate him as a player.
“I don’t think so. For us footballers, rather than instil fear, playing on a stage like that motivates us. Those are the games you don’t want to miss, the great games to play in and the ones we look forward to.”