Barcelona star Luis Suarez does not expect Real Madrid players to target Lionel Messi’s knee in this weekend’s Clasico.
Messi has been out of action since hurting his knee against Las Palmas in September, but has returned to training ahead of Saturday’s clash at Santiago Bernabeu.
Madrid captain Sergio Ramos is also set to feature despite struggling with a shoulder problem, and Suarez says neither player will be subjected to rough treatment.
“I don’t think anybody will try to hit Sergio Ramos’ shoulder and I do not think anyone will try to hit Messi’s knee either,” Suarez said at a news conference on Wednesday.
“We are colleagues and professionals. Messi has been training with the squad, but it is up to the coach to decide whether he will play.”
Barcelona hold a three-point lead over Madrid at the top of La Liga heading into Saturday’s match, but Suarez does not feel this weekend’s game will be decisive in the title race.
“We have to be happy with our recent performances, because we have been doing a good job without the best player in the world, travelling to the Bernabeu three points clear of Madrid,” the in-form Uruguayan added.
“Games like the Clasico are the ones that are decided by great players, but it will not be decisive in the race for the Liga title.
“There are still a lot of games left and Atletico Madrid also have a role to play.”
Saturday’s match represents a special occasion for Suarez as he returns to the stadium where he made his debut for Barcelona last October.
He continued: “It is always a special feeling to play in a stadium like the Santiago Bernabeu. It is even more special because I made my debut for Barcelona at the Bernabeu.
“Madrid are Madrid. We know what we have to do and we must be very focused right from the start.”
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