Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta hopes Karim Benzema can overcome his current off-field problems as quickly as possible.
Benzema was on Thursday charged with complicity in an attempt to blackmail and participating in a criminal conspiracy as part of an investigation into an alleged sex-tape plot involving France team-mate Mathieu Valbuena.
Former Lyon striker Benzema has received the full backing of Madrid and trained following his return to the Spanish capital.
Despite the rivalry that exists between the two clubs, Iniesta is adamant no-one at Camp Nou is taking any pleasure from Benzema’s troubles.
He told AS: “I hope the matter gets resolved as soon as possible. It’s never nice to see a fellow professional embroiled in these problems.”
Madrid and Barca are joint leaders of La Liga having taken 24 points from their opening 10 games with the first Clasico scheduled for November 21 at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Iniesta is optimistic Barca can triumph on enemy soil even if star forward Lionel Messi fails to overcome a knee injury in time.
“There is a definitive feeling that we are getting better in time,” said Spain international Iniesta.
“The game against Madrid comes at a good time as we are stronger defensively. Madrid are a direct rival in the battle for the title but we need to overcome all teams, not just Real Madrid. Before we can centre on the Madrid game we need to think about this weekend’s game against Villarreal. This will be a tricky game against a good team.”
Barca have coped well in Messi’s absence – the Argentinian sustained his injury against Las Palmas on September 26 – with Neymar and Luis Suarez coming to the fore.
Nevertheless, Iniesta is looking forward to having him back.
“Straight away we notice his absence. We may win games without him, but when he plays it’s done in a better way and the fans appreciate things more. He’s a unique player irrespective of the results we are securing currently,” he said.
“We just want Leo to get 100 per cent fit again.”