Andrés Iniesta hoping for another memorable Clásico

Andrés Iniesta speaks to the press two days before the Clásico / MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
The first team captain knows what it’s like to win at the Bernabéu, and also knows how hard it is to do. In Thursday’s press conference he describes what winning there feels like and how FC Barcelona can do it again

Andrés Iniesta spoke to the press on Thursday afternoon, with little more than 48 hours to go before the Santiago Bernabéu is the venue for the first Clásico of the season. Barça have a three-point lead on their most direct rivals for the Liga title, but “more than where we are in the table, it’s our form that makes us feel confident” he insists. “Especially in our most recent games we have been consistent in every sense … But we know that this won’t be an easy match. It never is. Both teams have players that can change any game.”

The first team captain was asked several times to comment on how this season’s version of Real Madrid seems a little less clinical than we are used to seeing. Each time he stressed that his side are not being lulled into a false sense of security. “They are very solid in defence this season” he insisted. “And you just have to look at the players they have up front to know that they can score goals. They are a very strong side, with world class players in very position. And they are always very dangerous when they’re playing at home.”

A wonderful feeling

So what’s the Barça game plan? “We need to be ourselves. We need to try to be the protagonists” he replied. “We need to dominate the possession and not just create goalscoring chances but take them too. I hope it’ll be a great game, and also that it ends with a great result for us!”

Iniesta has had plenty of experience of winning at the Santiago Bernabéu over the years. Asked what it feels like, he described how “it’s always a boost for your morale. It’s a wonderful feeling to win there. Everybody is watching the game and it has a huge impact.” When pressed to pick a fondest moment from those games, he couldn’t not mention the famous 6-2 victory, or the 3-0 win exactly ten years ago today, when the home crowd applauded Ronaldinho. “But whenever you win there, and even more so when you win there by playing well, it’s a wonderful memory” he concluded.

Hanging on Leo Messi

The big doubt regarding team selection is whether Leo Messi is ready to play at the Santiago Bernabéu, and if he is, whether he’ll start the match or come on later. Iniesta was pleased to report that “the news from training is positive. He’s looking good, but there are still two days to go so we’ll see how he’s feeling on Saturday. Let’s hope he can play, whether that’s from the start or not, because he’s an essential player for us.”

But as has already shown since the Argentinian has been injured, “we have a competitive enough squad to compete with or without him in the team.”