May 26, 2018

Barcelona vs Real Madrid, La Liga

07 May 2018, 12:34 | Clyde Nash

Lionel Messi left and Barcelona will be aiming to win el clasico in the final time Andres Iniesta right faces Real Madrid. Ballesteros EPA

Lionel Messi left and Barcelona will be aiming to win el clasico in the final time Andres Iniesta right faces Real Madrid. Ballesteros  EPA

However, they still hold out hopes of overtaking city rivals Atletico to snatch second place, but to do so must surely come away with a win from the Camp Nou.

"I am not one to decide on my own whether to give them a guard of honor", Zidane said at a press conference.

The incident Zidane was referring to happened before the Clasico on December 23 when, having returned from the United Arab Emirates as Club World Cup winners, Barcelona elected not to give Real a guard of honour as is traditional in Spain. We, with respect, won't do it for them because they didn't.

This was a reference to Barcelona not offering the same courtesy to Los Blancos after they won the FIFA Club World Cup.

Rarely in recent years has a meeting between these two sides been of less effect, with Barca having already taken the La Liga crown with a 4-2 win over Deportivo de La Coruna last weekend. They might have said they didn't do it because they weren't in the competition, but that's not true. We respect what Barca have done, to win La Liga is the most hard, I have always said that. "It is important for us and we will give everything to hold on to it".

"As much as it's being talked about, it's not particularly important", Valverde said, as reported by Football Espana.

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Conversely, however, Zinedine Zidane's team have their pride at stake after suffering a humiliating 3-0 home defeat to Barca earlier in the season, and they would dearly love to regain some bragging rights by ending their bitter rival's quest for a ideal season. Obviously, we want to win, irrelevant of the table - and they will too, given the situation and our rivalry.

Raphael Varane had been an injury doubt heading into the weekend after being forced to sit out training during the week due to a calf injury.

Young Achraf Hakimi should, thus, get a rare opportunity to start as the right-back, with Marcelo the full-back on the opposite flank. "Under me it will not happen", Zidane said. "I'm convinced of that", he added.

Respect aside Madrid will be focused on ending Barca's record-breaking undefeated streak.

"We'll shake his hand, congratulate him and wish him luck for the future".

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