Barcelona train ahead of El Clasico

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Luis Suarez (left) and Lionel Messi are likely to start for Barcelona against Real Madrid


Barcelona train ahead of El Clasico as Lionel Messi and Co plot a victory that would see them move 12 POINTS clear of their close rivals in La Liga

  • Lionel Messi led his Barcelona team-mates as they prepared for El Clasico 
  • The La Liga leaders could go 12 points clear of Real Madrid with victory 
  • The squad appeared in relaxed spirits as they ran through drills at their base 

James Ayles For Mailonline

Lionel Messi and strike partner Luis Suarez appeared in a relaxed mood as they prepared for Barcelona’s crunch La Liga clash against Real Madrid.

Victory in El Clasico on Saturday would leave the league leaders a mammoth 12 points ahead of their rivals with 13 games to go.

The whole squad ran through a series of drills and exercises at their Joan Gamper Sports Centre training base.

Luis Suarez (left) and Lionel Messi are likely to start for Barcelona against Real Madrid

Luis Suarez (left) and Lionel Messi are likely to start for Barcelona against Real Madrid

A Barcelona victory would be a crucial step forward in retaining their La Liga title

A Barcelona victory would be a crucial step forward in retaining their La Liga title

A Barcelona victory would be a crucial step forward in retaining their La Liga title

On talisman and captain Messi, boss Ernesto Valverde said: ‘He’s the same Messi as always. You always expect a lot because he’s so decisive, sometimes he seems less involved but that’s got a lot to do with how the team plays. 

There are times when the team as a whole wasn’t playing well, but we really need to work to get him involved.’ 

The goalkeepers were put through a series of drills ahead of Saturday's crunch fixture

The goalkeepers were put through a series of drills ahead of Saturday's crunch fixture

The goalkeepers were put through a series of drills ahead of Saturday’s crunch fixture

Young midfielder Carles Alena is enjoying a breakthrough season for the Catalan giants

Young midfielder Carles Alena is enjoying a breakthrough season for the Catalan giants

Young midfielder Carles Alena is enjoying a breakthrough season for the Catalan giants

While beating Real Madrid would be a step towards La Liga glory, the club also face the prospect of a Copa del Rey final against Valencia.

Valverde added: ‘We have a lot of respect for Valencia, we haven’t beaten them this season, we’ve drawn twice. Valencia are having a good season. They started poorly and they’ve been getting better. 

‘It’s going to be a difficult opponent and I congratulate them on reaching the final. I think it’s an attractive final for everybody. they have a clear system of playing, so yes it’s something to look forward to. 

Veteran stars Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba and Arturo Vidal have been regulars so far this season

Veteran stars Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba and Arturo Vidal have been regulars so far this season

Veteran stars Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba and Arturo Vidal have been regulars so far this season

Barcelona are competing for glory on several fronts, with a Copa del Rey final on the horizon

Barcelona are competing for glory on several fronts, with a Copa del Rey final on the horizon

Barcelona are competing for glory on several fronts, with a Copa del Rey final on the horizon

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