FC Barcelona and Real Madrid face off again in the biggest club match in football – El Clasico. On Tuesday, it’s in the Copa del Rey, whilst in early March the teams will meet again in La Liga.
Barcelona will not play for a goalless draw in Tuesday’s Spanish Cup semi-final return with Real Madrid even though it would be enough after stalemate in the opening leg, said assistant coach Jordi Roura.
“We never speculate on the outcome of a match – Barca always are set up to attack and tomorrow, come what may, our intention is to go out and win,” said Roura, standing in for coach Tito Vilanova, who is undergoing cancer treatment in New York.
The two sides drew 1-1 in the first leg at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.
Barca have an ultra-busy schedule coming up as they host Real in the Cup and then take them on in the league, though there they have a 12-point advantage over second-placed Atletico Madrid with Real third, 16 points off the pace.
The Catalan club also have a mountain to climb if they are to overturn their Champions League round of last-16 opening leg deficit against AC Milan and keep their European hopes alive.
The pressure is, however, at least as intense upon Real coach Jose Mourinho, rumoured to be in his final season in charge of the Meringues and who also has to conjure some European magic after his club could only draw their Champions League home encounter with Manchester United.
The Spanish Cup would be a mere consolation prize but Mourinho is still treating it with the utmost seriousness.
On Monday, he said that Barca will always be a stiff test whatever the circumstances — even after their demoralising showing in Milan.
“There is no good moment (to meet them) when two great teams clash. Barca are always a very important rival. From that point of view when you take them on is immaterial,” said Mourinho, who indicated he had not decided on the team he will send out to do battle in the Nou Camp.
He did say, however, that midfielder Xabi Alonso and Karim Benzema had shrugged off fitness concerns and were ready to play.