Real Madrid vs Barcelona: Carlo Ancelotti will not make special plans for Luis Suarez

The Uruguayan is expected to make his debut in El Clasico

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The Independent Online

Carlo Ancelotti says he will make no special plans to deal with Luis Suarez’s possible debut for Barcelona in Saturday’s Clasico at the Santiago Bernabeu.

The Uruguayan’s competitive ban ends in time for him to make his Barca bow in the most dramatic of circumstances when Luis Enrique takes his unbeaten side to the Spanish capital for the first Clasico clash of the season.

The Italian, who suffered defeats in both league matches against the Catalan club last season but guided Madrid to victory in the final of the Copa del Rey, says he has respect for the former Liverpool man but his involvement will not alter his side’s approach - or the threat Barca will carry going into the match.

“I’ve got a lot of respect for Luis Suarez and the quality he possesses,” he said at Friday’s pre-match press conference. “Whether he plays or not is not my problem but if it does it won’t change Barca’s style, or the way we approach the game.”

It will be the first club game the 27-year-old has played since receiving a four-month ban for biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup. He has played in a friendly for Barca’s B team to help improve match fitness and also scored twice for Uruguay in a 3-0 friendly victory over Oman earlier this month.

Ancelotti was also asked about the forward’s behaviour following the ban but would not get drawn in to a response, saying: “I’m not here to judge Suarez’s behaviour”, before adding that it was good for Spanish football that the player was able to showcase his talents on the pitch again.

Suarez could line-up alongside Neymar, who has scored eight goals in five starts in La Liga so far this season, and Lionel Messi, who is just a goal away from equalling the league’s all-time goalscoring record of 251, held by Telmo Zarra. The Argentine would surpass that record with a brace at the home of his side’s fiercest rival but Ancelotti says that will not change how his side deals with the threat of a man who scored a hat-trick in the same fixture last season. “The plan is the plan of always,” he commented. “We need to play in two lines when defending and not leave space between them.”

Ancelotti confirmed that Sergio Ramos, who was sent off in this fixture last season, is set to return from a calf injury alongside Pepe at the heart of the Madrid defence but Fabio Coentrao did not train with the rest of his team-mates, meaning Marcelo will continue at left-back and Dani Carvajal is set to return at right-back after he was rested for Alvaro Arbeloa in Wednesday’s victory at Anfield.

Gareth Bale was also absent as he recovers from a muscle injury in his buttock that means Madrid will continue to line-up with a 4-4-2 formation with Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema set to lead the line as they did at Anfield. Barcelona have yet to concede in goal in the league this season but Ronaldo has yet to miss out on a goal in La Liga, scoring a staggering 15 in seven starts so far.

Madrid trail leaders Barcelona by four points after losing two of their first three matches of the season. The European champions are currently on a winning run spanning eight matches in all competitions, however, and go into the game in confident mood. Despite the game being more important for the hosts, Ancelotti says he is under no pressure. ”There isn't another game in the world with this so much quality, all over the pitch,” Ancelotti said. “I have thought a lot about this game, I like to plan for it, as everyone will be watching.

That is not pressure for me.” The Italian also entered into some mind games, saying he could spring a “surprise” in his selection.

He also entered the debate into the kick-off time. With Barcelona playing at home against Ajax 24 hours before Madrid’s Champions League match against Liverpool, Ronaldo questioned the league’s decision to play the match on Saturday and not move it back 24 hours. “It is very difficult to recover fully, after travel too,” said Ancelotti. “We do not understand why the Clasico is played [on Saturday] at six.”

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