Real Madrid boss Rafa Benitez says his players are aware of the importance of today’s Clasico and are raring to go.
Los Blancos host their fierce rivals at the Santiago Bernabeu and will be looking to respond to their 3-2 defeat to Sevilla last time out. A loss to Luis Enrique’s side would see the 10-time Champions League winners slip six points behind in La Liga, not season-ending, but a tall order to catch up even at this point.
Speaking to the media ahead of the game, Benitez said: “It’s my first Clásico with the first team. The team come into it in good shape; they’re excited and looking forward to it.
“We’re aware of the importance of any game against Barcelona and of getting all three points. The same is on the line for me as for Real Madrid as a whole: three very important points to be up there challenging for the title right to the end.”
While football will very much be at the centre tonight, minds will no doubt still be on the attacks in Paris last week. This Clasico will see a heightened police presence, while going to a football game will not quite be the same again after the terrorists attempted to enter the Stade de France last week.
And Benitez said both clubs and sets of fans much show solidarity with those affected in the attacks.
“The recent world events are deeply saddening and we have to express our solidarity with the victims, because it’s very serious and very worrying. We will be protected by the security measures placed in operation for the match and I’m sure that everything will be fine and that we’ll be able to enjoy the game,” he commented.