Barcelona forward Antoine Griezmann claimed his first El Clasico will hold few surprises because the former Atletico Madrid star plans to draw on past derby experiences.
LaLiga leaders Barca have the chance to open up a three-point advantage when second-placed Real Madrid arrive at Camp Nou on Wednesday.
Ernesto Valverde will hope Griezmann continues his good scoring form and the France international, a veteran of multiple Madrid derbies, appeared relaxed ahead of his first taste of Spanish football’s showpiece fixture.
“It’s nothing out of the ordinary. At the end, they’re an opponent we’re fighting for top spot with,” Griezmann said, courtesy of LaLiga.
“At Atletico it was already very important for the fans, it was a derby and now it’s El Clasico.
“Both here and at Atleti we want to beat Real Madrid, obviously, and we’ll do everything we possibly can to win the game.”
However, Griezmann acknowledged that it will be a high-profile occasion.
“It’s the most important game of the year,” he said.
“It’s a great show, the previous days are intense on the TV – because I always used to watch it on TV – and we will do everything we can do to try and be at our 100 per cent and win the game.
“I imagine there will be a great atmosphere, with great tension and great excitement from the fans and from ourselves.
“It’s a game you want to be a part of, no matter how.”
Barca drew 2-2 at Real Sociedad on Saturday and Griezmann, on the scoresheet at Anoeta, insisted the Catalans must put Madrid out of their thinking in pre-match planning.
Blaugrana boss Valverde would still be wise to formulate a strategy for dealing with Karim Benzema, who netted a late equaliser for Los Blancos at Valencia and has 12 goals in 15 league games this term.
“Yes, yes, he is like that every year,” Griezmann said. “For some reason people always doubt him but he’s always racking up 15-20 goals per season in LaLiga. He’s a great striker.
“He’s spent I don’t know how many years at Real Madrid and I reckon he is one of the best number nines out there.”