Combined eleven: Barcelona host Real Madrid in the season’s first El Clasico

Dean Simpson
October 28, 2018

If we wanted to get through the group we had to do what we did in the first two games, so we're in a good position.

For Valverde, Madrid are even more unsafe when they are desperate for a victory over their chief rival.

Barca boss Ernesto Valverde has admitted he is wary of facing a "wounded" Madrid side, who he believes can be even more risky when they are struggling.

Messi's injury could also help end the isolation of Brazilian winger Malcom, who has played just 25 minutes of first team football since joining from Bordeaux in the summer, while Rafinha would no doubt relish the chance to play against the club he spent a successful loan spell with last season.

Spanish La Liga biggest match will not feature Barcelona's Lionel Messi or Former Real Madrid star Cristiano Roanldo on Sunday's El Clasico clash at Camp Nou, which has been a personal playground for two larger-than-life global icons. I am convinced about what we are doing and we are thinking about preparing for Sunday's game, which is very important and one for which we have great ambition. "We focus on the rival, of course, but on what they can do". "The crises in teams like Madrid are always blown out of proportion, and then the players step up".

"When Madrid are hurting, that's when they're at their most risky".

While Madrid's woes have dominated the headlines in recent weeks, Barcelona, too, have failed to consistently find their best form so far in 2018-19. Thankfully Leo Messi who went through Courtois' legs twice will be out but the 26-year-old will be determined to put in a good display. "I'm not going to die".

Valverde not only has to find a suitable replacement but also has to ensure Messi's absence doesn't damage his side's confidence.

"We came from a run of quite a lot of games without winning and the objective was to win in circumstances that were not at all simple". "We have to be recognisable in the way we play, keeping the ball". Many of us have to fix things. "We know what's at stake and we have to focus on playing our game".

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