Barcelona hit by injuries
BARCELONA midfielder Xavi has said their 6-2 rout of Real Madrid in the last ‘clasico’ at the Bernabeu should be confined to the history books, ahead of the visit of their archrivals tomorrow.
“It won’t be repeated. We aren’t thinking of another big win,” the Spain international was quoted as saying in the media yesterday.
“We are playing the leaders and although there has been a lot of (negative) talk about their play they have been getting good results.”
Barcelona stars Lionel Messi and Zlatan Ibrahimovic trained yesterday, however Barcelona said there is no guarantee the pair will be ready for the home clash against Real Madrid.
Argentinian Messi injured his leg in league play on Saturday, and Sweden international Ibrahimovic has been struggling with a hamstring injury.
Both strikers missed Barcelona's crucial 2-0 Champions League defeat of Inter Milan on Tuesday because of their injuries, however Barcelona fans would be desperate to have one, or both, return in time for tomorrow.
Barcelona said yesterday the pair are “recuperating well” but refused to say whether either striker would play a role in the much anticipated league derby.
Ahead of a fixture known as 'El Clasico', being played at Barcelona's Camp Nou, Real have a one-point advantage over the reigning champions following their best league start in 17 years.
Good news for Barça is that midfielder Yaya Toure has returned to training with the rest of the squad after recovering from H1N1 flu
Real have a one-point advantage over Barca at the top of the table and goalkeeper Iker Casillas said it was a good reflection of how close the teams are in terms of quality.
“I see Barca playing very well, but luckily in the rear- view mirror,” Casillas said.
“I think this is going to be one of the most evenlybalanced ‘clasicos’ I have experienced in my time in La Liga (10 years).”
Real defender Raul Albiol twisted knee ligaments against FC Zurich on Wednesday and is a serious doubt, so Ezequiel Garay could be his replacement in the centre of defence. Striker Ruud van Nistelrooy and midfielder Guti are unlikely to feature with minor injuries.
English winger Jermaine Pennant could return for Real Zaragoza at home to Osasuna tomorrow.
The former Liverpool player has missed their last three games with a tor n muscle while Brazilian striker