El Clasico: What Neymar, Ramos, Figo & Others Are Saying About Saturday's Match
Only three points separate Barcelona and Real Madrid ahead of Saturday’s Clasico at Camp Nou, and after nine rounds, both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have eight Primera Division goals.
The stakes, as they always are when archrivals collide, could not be higher, and in the days leading up to the much-anticipated encounter, players and personalities representing both sides have had a thing or two to say about the occasion.
Here are a few of the best quotes.
“I don’t think there is any need to explain what this match is all about. Even though players might never have participated in one, they understand the importance of a game between Barcelona and Real Madrid. A Clasico is the pinnacle for any player. It is the game everyone wants to play in and demonstrate their best football.” (Guardian)
-Neymar, who will be contesting his first Clasico on Saturday.
Tata Martino: “Everyone wants the best from Leo when he’s on the pitch. He’s made us expect it from him – it’s something we’ve grown used.”— Quotes on Messi (@MessiQuote) October 21, 2013
“Madrid always force you to be at your best. They are playing better and better each time, and will come out here with confidence. We must play well to win. We must keep an eye out for their counter-attacks; they know us perfectly.” (ESPN FC)
-Carles Puyol, who is hoping to be recalled to the starting XI for Saturday’s match.
“When evaluating things ahead of El Clasico, you can’t take the previous match into account. El Clasico is always a game of high intensity. At this level, anything can happen—especially in a Clasico...On Saturday we have a very important game. It will be a huge leap forward if we can win [at Camp Nou].” (Inside Spanish Football)
-Sergio Ramos, who has been playing a part in Clasico matches since arriving at Real Madrid from Sevilla in 2005.
Ancelotti: We've played 3 games with Llarra and Khedira in the middle. It's a set-up which works and we won't be changing it".— AS English (@English_AS) October 23, 2013
“[Gareth] Bale likes to play on the right, and when he plays he’ll do so on that flank. He’s ready to be a starter...We believe in this system and so we are not going to change it for the Camp Nou. To win, we need to put in our best performance and show all of our quality.” (Marca)
-Carlo Ancelotti, who has hinted Gareth Bale could play from the beginning on Saturday.
“I hope and pray Barcelona win. It’s where I come from. It will be a tough game for both sides.” (Marca)
-Former Barcelona Pep Guardiola.
Luis Figo: "Can Messi, the best player in the world, join Madrid? If he's not happy and they pay his clause... It's a free market." [g360]— barcastuff (@barcastuff) October 24, 2013
“I think that in the Clasico it is not always the better team that is assured of victory. Anything can happen because concentration levels are at a higher level. Normally those who are not doing as well will respond in that sense because they cannot afford to go wrong...Barca will dominate because they are playing at home and for the way that they play. And Madrid I hope will find that balance that will allow them to move from defense to attack well—and so that they can win. (Football-Espana)
-Luis Figo, who represented both Barcelona and Real Madrid in Clasico matches.
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