Zidane Explains Why Real Won't Give Barca Guard Of Honour


While this El Clasico, unlike numerous teams' duels in the past, doesn't enjoy title-winning importance, it is still a game that neither team wants to lose.

The Madrid manager says the Liga "is the most hard and the nicest to win".

Barcelona refused to offer a repeat performance at this season's game in Madrid last December, which came in the aftermath of Zidane's side lifting the Club World Cup and this remains the key sticking point for the Frenchman.

Barcelona clinched the league title last weekend to complete a domestic double after also winning the Copa del Rey. You get into it through the Champions League - a completion Barcelona played in. Quite how long he is on the pitch at Camp Nou for the visit of Real Madrid depends on how well he and Barcelona's medical staff soothe the calf injury that has troubled him lately.

Real Madrid will be without Isco and Dani Carvajal for Sunday's Clasico clash with Barcelona. But these things happen; if they'd have given us one, we weren't going to break the tradition of doing so. Barca won the match 3-0. "But it is very hard to do what we have done and now what are we going to do?"

"Before the match it's like that, but when the game starts I don't think that'll be the case".

On their early exit, Suarez said: "Obviously we are frustrated about the Champions League, because of how the games turned out, but that's in the past now".

Nevertheless, Real are likely to make changes with Isco and Raphael Varane thought to be carrying knocks.

Zidane said he would not be picking his XI worrying about star players potentially getting injured and missing the UCL final against Liverpool in three weeks' time. That defeat showed the limitations of a squad that is expensive but where too many players have shown they are not good enough for Barca, leaving coach Ernesto Valverde with a core of around 12 or 13 dependable players to base the season around. Giving Nacho company at the heart of the Real Madrid defence, should be Sergio Ramos, who was the subject of praise from Zidane in his presser.