Barcelona’s captain Andres Iniesta may be playing his 37th clasico against Real Madrid this Saturday but he still retains the excitement of his first. “Living a match like that from the inside is indescribable: because of the team you face, the supporters, the greatness of a match like that… Having lived so many is a privilege,” he said on Thursday.
Although Barcelona enter the match in a much better position than on many recent occasions – currently they have an 11-point advantage over Real Madrid in La Liga – Iniesta said it is a game in isolation from the rest of the season.
“These matches are totally different and it doesn’t matter how both teams arrive. We know what is at stake and we will try to take an important step to achieve the league title,” he explained.
If Barcelona win the game, the Spanish title will theirs to lose but the idea that La Liga will be over is one rejected by Iniesta, who thinks that “there is still much ahead”.
Barcelona are still unbeaten this season and have got over the departure of Neymar. Their style has become more solid and defensively compact, alongside the contributions of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez in attack. Nevertheless, Iniesta doesn’t deny the importance of keeping possession.
“In order to win in the Bernabeu we have to be the protagonist, dominate the ball and the match as much as we can, and be effective when we have chances to score. Real Madrid create many chances in their stadium and we have to minimise them”, said Iniesta to Mundo Deportivo newspaper.
Though their focus is on the clasico, Barcelona’s No 8 has thoughts on their Champions League next-round rivals, Chelsea, who Iniesta considers a “really difficult team to beat”. “They perfectly know their style of playing and what do they have to do. We should have to play a great knockout to beat them.”
Stamford Bridge brings him good memories thanks to his goal in the 2009 Champions League semi-finals. “Each time I watch it I became emotional as I think that happens to most of Barcelona supporters. It has been one of the most amazing days we have lived”, added Iniesta.
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