Suarez set to debut in El Clasico

Published: Friday 24th October 2014 by The News Editor

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All eyes will be on Luis Suarez on Saturday as the striker looks set to make his Barcelona debut on the biggest stage in European Football.

El Clasico between Barca and Real Madrid has always been the biggest event on the Primera Division calendar but Suarez’s potential return from his four-month ban for biting Giorgio Chiellini at last summer’s World Cup adds extra spice to an already highly-anticipated encounter.

Luis Enrique now has a decision to make as to whether he starts his marquee signing on the bench or goes with a three-pronged attack with Suarez, Neymar and Lionel Messi.

The head coach is highly unlikely to split the Argentinian and the Brazilian, who have scored 13 goals between them in the last five games and opposite number Carlo Ancelotti is refusing to get distracted by Suarez’s potential debut.

When asked by Spanish radio station Cadena SER if he had a particular plan for facing the former Liverpool man, Ancelotti simply replied: “No, I do not know who will play on Saturday.”

While Suarez is in line to play his first El Clasico, Barca midfielder Andres Iniesta is a veteran of such affairs and will make his 30th appearance in the fixture at the Bernabeu.

The Spain international will be the man expected to supply the service to his three prolific team-mates and he admits the entire squad is excited about Suarez’s availability.

“He’s happy to be available and the rest of us are happy about it too,” he told a press conference. “We hope he performs as well as he has always done.”

Away from the Luis Suarez show, Messi is on the brink of making Primera Division history as he sits just one goal behind Telmo Zarra’s record of 251.

The Bernabeu would be the perfect place for the 27-year-old to break the record and Iniesta would be delighted to see him do it, if only because a Messi brace would mean things were going well in the game.

“I just want to see him get past the record, that’d be a good sign for us and mean we are in with a chance of winning,” he said.

Barca currently sit at the top of the table, four points clear of Real who are third, and Iniesta is not losing focus on the task at hand amid all the hype surrounding the occasion.

“We will be going there with the intention of winning,” he said. “It’d be a big mistake to think that we’ve got a four-point lead and even if we lose we’ll still be top.

“We’re just thinking about playing well, winning and stretching our lead in the table, which would be important, but not decisive at this stage of the season.”

Luis Enrique has Sergio Busquests back in full training but he has not yet been given the all-clear by the medical staff to play.

James Rodriguez is set to play in his first El Clasico after starring against Liverpool in midweek and he has hailed the spirit in the camp ahead of the crunch clash.

“It will be a tough and complicated match,” he told

“I want to approach it calmly, responsibly and also really be up for it, in order to help the team get the win.

“I’m in good form as is the whole squad. We have a strong group of players and are united, mentally speaking.”

Rodriguez is set to keep his place with Isco being the man likely to drop out, with the potential return of Gareth Bale after Ancelotti admitted: “When well, Bale plays.”

Ancelotti also revealed that Pepe is a doubt with a knock, but Sergio Ramos is in line to return, while Dani Carvajal could also take the place of Alvaro Arbeloa.

Cristiano Ronaldo, who has 13 career goals against Barcelona, will be looking to continue his run of having scored in every league game this season with 15 goals in seven games.

Published: Friday 24th October 2014 by The News Editor

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