El Clasico on Sunday will have far reaching effects in La Liga’s title race between Barcelona and Real Madrid. If the Catalans win, they will move five points ahead of Real Madrid but if Zinedine Zidane’s men get the better of their arch-rival at the Santiago Bernabeu, then they would leapfrog Barca into top spot in La Liga. And before the all-important Clasico, Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois decided to play down the Lionel Messi-threat by saying that they don’t need to make any special preparations to counter the Argentine great. Barcelona’s official Twitter handle didn’t take the comments too lightly and responded by posting a video of Messi scoring against Courtois.
The video soon went viral on the social platform. Take a look:
The current Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois … pic.twitter.com/OVNjCqblMY
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) February 28, 2020
“Do I think of Messi before this Clasico? No, not really. It was the case during my first season with Atlético de Madrid, especially when you play Camp Nou for the first time, with all these stars. At that moment, if you don’t think about it, it is because something is wrong with you.
“But today, I don’t think about it anymore. For me, Messi, he is a player like any other. Nightmares because of him? No, never (laughs). We studied him as we study a player from Celta Vigo or Levante. There is no difference,” Courtois told Eleven Sports.
— Eleven Sports (FR) (@ElevenSportsBEf) February 28, 2020
Victory for the Catalans would effectively give them a six-point advantage over Madrid, given what would be a superior head-to-head, with 12 games left to play.
But Zinedine Zidane insists there would be still be a way back. “I don’t think anyone will lose anything this weekend,” he said in a press conference on Saturday. “There are still 12 games left, we’ll still be in the title race regardless of the result. But we’re going to try to win, 100 per cent.”
Setien, also speaking Saturday, said the pressure was all on Real.
“For Madrid this match is certainly much more important than for us. In relation to their situation in the table, it is a key match, I don’t know if it’s decisive, but it’s very important.”
After Madrid, Barcelona will only have one away game left against the top six, when they face Sevilla in April.
Both teams have endured a bumpy few weeks but Barcelona arrive in a better mood after Madrid’s 2-1 defeat to Manchester City on Wednesday made it one win from five games for Zidane’s side.
(With AFP inputs)