Real Madrid confident ahead of El Clasico

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The Independent Football

Coach Manuel Pellegrini believes his in-form Real Madrid side are ready to strike a La Liga title blow with victory in the weekend's 'Clasico' fixture.

Real leapfrogged Barcelona and returned to the top of the table following a comfortable 2-0 victory over Racing Santander on Sunday evening.

They next play host to Barca in a mouth-watering, likely title decider at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday evening.

"It's important to win and we did," explained Pellegrini. "We had left our strength and a clean sheet.

"We were not brilliant on the offensive, but we had more chances. Overall I am satisfied with the strength of the team.

"Now we must look to the match versus Barcelona. Both sides arrive at the match at the right time, having recorded many victories.

"We need to recover the points we lost at the Camp Nou (earlier in the season) and I am sure we can win."

Meanwhile, Real have been warned that they will face stiff competition to sign Brazil wing-back Maicon from Internazionale this summer.

The 28-year-old continues to be linked with a move away from the San Siro at the end of the season, with Real thought to be favourites for the South American’s signature.

However, Maicon’s agent, Antonio Caliendo told “There are voices in the market, but it's no mystery that he is liked and we are not surprised.

“There are a number of teams interested in Maicon, but now is not the time to disturb the player because Inter are fighting on three fronts.

“In the past Maicon has always shown he doesn't bow to pressure from market speculation.”