‘Messi essential, Clasico unpredictable’

Andres Iniesta hopes Lionel Messi makes Saturday’s Clasico and warns that games between Real Madrid and Barcelona are always unpredictable.

Iniesta is the player with the most Clasico experience on either side after the departures of Iker Casillas and Xavi Hernandez, as he approaches his 32nd meeting with Los Blancos.

“I’ve got a lot of memories. They’ve been great games. For importance and how we played, the 6-2 is the most striking,” he told a Press conference, AS reports.

“The memory of 10 years ago [when Ronaldinho’s brace was applauded by the Madrid fans] is a very good one, one of the special moments. The significance of that game was tremendous. Fans appreciate what they saw and the people of Madrid liked what they saw.

“But there were important victories. It’s the line we have to follow. They have their options but above all we want to be protagonists and take our chances.

“[Claiscos] are very unpredictable. There are two teams with players who can change everything in a moment. If we want to win we have to be ourselves and not make mistakes of which they can take advantage.

“We have to be optimistic. The League table makes you think there can be a clear result. We lead by three points but we can’t rest on that. It’s two of the best teams in the world, with players at a great level. We want to play a great game and approach a great result.

“It’d be bold to say this is a weaker Madrid. When asked I always say the same about Madrid: They are a powerful rival. And more so at home and in front of their fans.

“The numbers indicate they’re at a good defensive level and they’ve got attackers more than capable of taking their chances.

“It’s too early for this result to be decisive. But we can’t forget we want to win to increase the gap. We have to do it our way and if we do it well we have a chance to go home with the points.

“It’s another story to be captain. For me it’s important to have the respect of my peers and hopefully the memory of being captain is accompanied by a victory.

Lionel Messi’s knee injury has kept him out of action since late September but he has trained this week and is expected to be involved to some degree, but Iniesta gave no insight into the forward’s likely role.

“I haven't seen Messi much but and the news is good. He’s training with us, the feelings are very positive and hopefully he’ll be with us. He’s essential for the team,” Iniesta continued.

“If he’s in the squad it’s because he can play as a starter. It’s difficult to say how it’d be best to use him. The longer he’s on the pitch the better but we’ll see.”

Tags Andres Iniesta Clasico Lionel Messi