BARCELONA: The shadow of Johan Cruyff will loom large over Saturday’s clasico between league leaders Barcelona and Real Madrid in “Camp Nou.
The game can have little bearing on Barcelpna’s likely retention of the title since they hold a nine-point lead over Atletico de Madrid and a 10-point advantage over Real.
But there is pride at stake and particularly for Real who still have the raw memories of the 4-0 home defeat to Barca earlier this season.
Barcelona intend to use the game as a tribute to the memory of former superstar and then coach Cruyff, who died last week.
Emotional pressure can work both ways and coach Luis Enrique will be concerned to ensure that the occasion does not generate a lack of focus on which Madrid’s attacking trio of Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale might capitalise.
Bale has already said that Real Madrid have a plan to deal with Barca and that they have to be aggressive, but that is easier said than done against a Barca whose attacking trident of Leo Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar has been outstanding this season.
Barca have the handicap that their players in general had to travel further during the recent international break, but minor injuries kept Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta at home and they are both fit to play, while Sergio Ramos for Madrid has recovered from the back problem which saw him leave the last Spain squad.