Real respect Barca but rule out guard of honour

Lars Baron  GettyImages

Lars Baron GettyImages

Champions Barcelona maintained their season-long unbeaten LaLiga run with a 2-2 Clasico draw against rivals Real Madrid at Camp Nou, despite Sergi Roberto's first-half red card.

"They didn't give us one, so what's most important is respecting what they have done".

However, standing in their way is a Madrid side, having made it to their third successive Champions League final, who will love to tick Barcelona's La Liga loss column for this season.

It will be Madrid who garner global attention for weeks ahead of their Champions League final with Liverpool in Kiev - a Madrid who are in with another shout of yet another Champions League, European Super Cup and World Club Championship. Zidane has been playing Bale, and resting key players, in La Liga matches but he is not likely to field a weakened team this weekend.

"In the Champions League, more factors come into play - good luck, bad luck, sometimes in the Champions League there are more candidates able to win".

"Before the match it's like that, but when the game starts I don't think that'll be the case". They now sit in third place, four points behind their local rivals, but have a game in hand over Diego Simeone's Europa League finalists.

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Valverde's men head into this clash following their 4- 2 win over Deportivo La Coruna in the La Liga last Sunday. We're not going to do something they didn't do.

"So Real will not make it easy and hope to spoil Barcelona's party", Villa told TOI during an exclusive chat facilitated by La Liga on Saturday.

An easier subject to unify around this Clasico weekend is the desire to give one of the fixture's greatest ever players, Andres Iniesta, a fitting send off when he turns out in the match for Barcelona one last time.

"I don't understand the guard of honour and it won't take place, although we are far from the end of the season". "Winning the league is the most glamorous and most complicated achievement".

Isco (shoulder) and Raphael Varane (calf) also remain doubtful starters. While Barca scored 87 goals from 359 chances created; Real Madrid scored the 82 from 498 created chances.

First though they must get past their fierce rivals Real at the Camp Nou, having already beaten them 3-0 at the Bernabeu.

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