La Liga - Guardiola ready for Clasico agony

Sat, 21 Apr 10:33:00 2012

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola has said he would rather be out on the pitch again than suffering through 'Clasico' games against Real Madrid from the bench.

2012 Barcelona Pep Guardiola - 0

Barca host their bitter rivals at the Nou Camp in a match that could prove decisive in the La Liga title race with Real four points clear at the top with five games left.

Guardiola, who ran Barca's midfield in the 1990s much in the same way Xavi does now, has an impressive record in 'Clasicos' as a coach, leading the current Spanish and European champions to nine wins, four draws and only a single defeat in all competitions since taking charge in 2008.

However, he said he had not enjoyed the last few times the two sides had met, when players from both sides clashed, Real coach Jose Mourinho jabbed a finger into the eye of Guardiola's assistant Tito Vilanova during a mass brawl and there were allegations of refereeing bias, diving and racism.

"It's nicer to play a 'Clasico' than experience it from the bench as you have more influence," Guardiola told a news conference.

"I don't have very good memories of the last few Barca-Madrid games, in victory or defeat, and I did not enjoy them," added the 41-year-old.

"A lot of things happened that I did not understand but the past is the past and tomorrow a lot of people will be watching us."

Preview : FC Barcelona - R

Hundreds of millions will tune in for Saturday's game, a record sixth meeting for the world's two richest clubs this season which has added significance as the pair could meet again in next month's Champions League final.

It will be their 219th official match and they have won 86 each, with 46 draws. If Barca win they will lead the head-to-head series for the first time in 80 years.

This term they beat Real in the season-opening Spanish Super Cup, knocked them out of the King's Cup and came from a goal down to win 3-1 at the Bernabeu in December.

That victory could be decisive as if they finish level on points the title will go to the team with the better head-to-head record.

"If they win or draw (tomorrow) the league is theirs," said Guardiola, who is chasing a club record-equalling fourth straight La Liga title.

"Our only remaining option is to win and if we don't we will already have a new champion," he added. "We will congratulate them and start preparing for next year."

Guardiola should have all his players available except long-term injury casualties David Villa and Ibrahim Afellay and Eric Abidal, who is recovering from a liver transplant.

The only doubt is forward Alexis Sanchez, who suffered a bruised leg in Wednesday's 1-0 Champions League semi-final first leg defeat at Chelsea.

"He trained on his own today," Guardiola said. "He has less pain so we'll see tomorrow."

Barca are unbeaten in the last seven La Liga 'Clasicos', winning six and drawing one and are on an 11-match winning streak in the league.

They have not lost in their last 34 home games in La Liga and are undefeated in their last 54 at the Nou Camp in all competitions.

Reuters

Comment 3 - 23 of 23

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  1. cole boy you lose...eat your own words

    From Winston Churchill, on Sat 21 Apr 21:57
  2. unlucky the best team lost to the looser thug rmadid

    From Almasi Fact, on Sat 21 Apr 20:58
  3. le real va remporter la victoire pour commencer une­ nouvelle ère du real barca.je suis le fan du real­ madrid

    From Désiré Niyukuri, on Sat 21 Apr 20:21
  4. Don't mention any of these player in the same­ breath as that dirty scumbag drogba, he belongs in­ England with Ashley young. Anyway enough of the rant­ lol, hope Barca win great to watch a team that play in­ the right manner and not anti football " 11 men in­ a box and only having 20% " and it also good­ seeing Mourhino losing.

    From Stuart, on Sat 21 Apr 19:18
  5. Beauty and the Beast.....

    From cole, on Sat 21 Apr 18:04
  6. Real Madrid The Beast and Barca The beautiful

    From cole, on Sat 21 Apr 18:02
  7. the Difference is Clear ....Barca4life

    From cole, on Sat 21 Apr 17:57
  8. “We are and we will be” .... more than a club

    From cole, on Sat 21 Apr 17:29
  9. “We are and we will be” Barca4life

    From cole, on Sat 21 Apr 17:29
  10. Barca4life

    From cole, on Sat 21 Apr 17:26
  11. Barca knows how to handle them ....ahaahahahahahha

    From cole, on Sat 21 Apr 17:02
  12. i called him Pepe the Animal and the Special One an­ Idiot in Spain

    From cole, on Sat 21 Apr 17:01
  13. Come on real

    From Munir, on Sat 21 Apr 16:57
  14. @7, Tom: Your kind have been saying that about Man U­ for years in England, 20 years on and they are still­ rising! 1 win in 10 classicos and you say Guardiola­ will suffer at the hands of your 'special (hahaha)­ one'! I know you are a stupid idiot but I would­ expect you to see who is sufffering in el clasico!!!!­ He is the Special sufferer!!! There is nothing that­ should suggest that madrid will do any better than­ other laliga sides at the camp nou. They are beaten by­ barca as frequently as every other team in laliga, so­ stop dreaming and pray for a miracle like the one at­ stamford bridge last wednesday.

    From merciless, on Sat 21 Apr 16:05
  15. Tom Of course successful people cant go on for ever but­ with the greatest Managers they go on for a very long­ time.Look at United under fergie.They have been­ relentless.I believe Pep Guardiola is also a Managerial­ genius so dont expect him to start faili9ng for a long­ time

    From Harry, on Sat 21 Apr 15:04
  16. Comment hidden due to its low rating. Show

    "Hundreds of millions" you mean a few­ thousands will tune in for the annual dirty game­ between the two

    From Mr Burns, on Sat 21 Apr 14:12
  17. "The higher the rise, the harder the fall".­ Every team's dominance comes to an end, and I­ reckon Pep's got a bit more suffering in store­ yet....all at the hands of The Special One! Barcelona­ 1:3 Real Madrid

    From Tom, on Sat 21 Apr 13:30
  18. Dear phillip and robert this time for real­ madrid.barcelona won 10 win the clasico and every body­ support barcelona but I support real madrid .real­ madrid win the match 2- 1.

    From Jamseen, on Sat 21 Apr 12:45
  19. Barca all the way

    From Greg, on Sat 21 Apr 12:44
  20. Ooooo....great game on the cards...La Liga rules...

    From Vikas, on Sat 21 Apr 12:41
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