'Real to deny Barca guard of honour'


Elsewhere for Real, Casemiro is also recalled by Zidane after being benched for a midweek Champions League semi-final clash with Bayern Munich. "I think Barcelona have played better football in La Liga this year. If they'd have given us one, we weren't going to break the tradition of doing so".

"After the Club World Cup, it wasn´t important for them to give us a guard of honour".

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has defended the decision for his players not to form a guard of honour for LaLiga champions Barcelona in Sunday's Clasico at the Nou Camp.

Real Madrid have qualified for the UEFA Champions League final for the third time in as many years.

A win on Sunday will give Barça a two-game season sweep over Real Madrid in La Liga for the first time since the 2013/14 season when Gerardo "Tata" Martino was in charge. But Zidane is planning to name his strongest available side against Barcelona.

"I'm sure they will need to bring someone else because you only have Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez scoring goals and if you want to win trophies you need players who can score 20-25 goals a season". This has not been an easy season for FC Barcelona and winning this game will be good for the team, the manager, and the fans.

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The motivation to retain their unbeaten status after Sunday is very high - a feat they nearly managed in the 2009/10 season under Pep Guardiola.

Real Madrid, on the other hand, didn't focus much on the league after realising early that they might not be able to shorten the gap with the leaders.

It could even be argued this match will go some way to defining the seasons of these two teams.

Barcelona has matches left against Villarreal, Levante and Real Sociedad to try and become the first team to go unbeaten in the competition since the 1930s, when it consisted of 10 teams compared to 20 now.

He was keen to stress that there is no such thing as a dead rubber in this fixture. "There is an expectation that is just awesome and a rivalry between the two clubs that goes back a very long way".

Gareth Bale made a return to the line-up for the visitors as Isco missed out through injury, while Andres Iniesta started his final El Clasico for the Catalan giants before he leaves the club at the end of the season.