Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta is in confident mood ahead of Sunday’s Clasico clash with bitter rivals Real Madrid in La Liga and feels Ronald Koeman’s side will take all three points at the Camp Nou.
Iniesta told ESPN that he believes Barca can win the game and even go on to pick up the title despite an underwhelming start to the 2021-22 campaign under coach Ronald Koeman.
“I think Barca fans are always optimistic, even more so for the Clasico,” he said. “They will be looking forward to the game, their team playing well and winning. Barca have the team to win the Clasico and LaLiga. I hope they play well and get the three points.”
A win for Barcelona would see the Catalan giants move a point ahead of Real Madrid in the table in Spain’s top flight after nine games played. However, Koeman has a poor record against Los Blancos as a coach and is yet to taste success in the Clasico since taking charge in the summer of 2020.
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Iniesta Offers Barca Youngsters Advice
Iniesta also took time out to offer some advice to Barca’s young players. Koeman has offered the club’s youth plenty of game time this season with Gavi, Nico Gonzalez, Ansu Fati, Sergino Dest, and Pedri all enjoying regular minutes.
The World Cup winner says the young players must take advantage of the first-team chances that come their way but warned Barca not to put too much pressure on their newest stars.
“When I was promoted to the first team, it was tough. I tell the youngsters coming through to take advantage of the opportunity,” he explained, “We have to value the faith being shown in these young guys… The only thing we should not do is think that 17 or 18-year-olds can be the solution during these times. We cannot put the responsibility on them to carry the team. They have to accompany the team little by little, gaining prominence and becoming important.”
Clasico ‘Still The Best Match That Exists’
This season’s Clasico will be a little different with no Lionel Messi to grace the stage this time around, but Real Madrid attacker Karim Benzmea still believes the famous fixture is still the best in world football.
“For me, it’s still the same. It remains the best match that exists in football,” he told ESPN. “It doesn’t matter about the players who are there, who have left or who will join. Real-Barca is historic. The names change but before there was [Zinedine] Zidane, Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, [Samuel] Eto’o. Real-Barca will always be Real-Barca.”
Benzema poses Barca a huge threat after starting the season in superb form for Real Madrid. The Frenchman tops the goals (9) and assists (7) charts in La Liga and will fancy his chances against a Barca defense that has only managed two clean sheets in the league so far this season.