Valverde: Guards of honour can be humiliating
Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde says forcing teams to put on a guard of honour can be "humiliating", with his side set to be crowned LaLiga champions before a meeting with rivals Real Madrid.
Atletico Madrid must win at Deportivo Alaves on Sunday to keep their slim title hopes alive, but Barca will have an unassailable lead regardless if they avoid defeat at Deportivo La Coruna later in the day.
If the Catalan giants clinch the trophy before the visit of Madrid to Camp Nou on May 6, Zinedine Zidane has already confirmed his side will not give Valverde's men a guard of honour.
Barca refused to welcome Madrid onto the pitch after they won the Club World Cup earlier in the season and debate over the issue is expected to dominate the build-up to El Clasico.
"A lot of people are talking about these guards of honour," Valverde told reporters on Saturday. "They spoke about this when we went to the Santiago Bernabeu [after Madrid won the Club World Cup].
"I think it's something each team has to decide on but I think the guard of honour is supposed to be a way of paying tribute to the opposing players.
"It's a bit of a strange thing to do now - especially between Barca and Madrid and teams who have got a big rivalry between them.
"There is a strange feeling behind it all. Rather than a guard of honour to honour one team, it is a way of humiliating the other.
"Oh, God. It's driving me crazy. The guard of honour – backwards and forwards. Look, can't we just drop the subject? It's just a little detail. There's no problem with a guard of honour in any way."
Valverde: "Iniesta is irreplaceable. He's one of a kind. He gives you things you can't get from any other player." #Infinit8Iniesta pic.twitter.com/uReZkoedER
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) April 28, 2018
Saturday's game against Deportivo will be Barca's first since club captain Andres Iniesta confirmed he will be leaving at the end of the season.
Iniesta has not yet announced his next move, although a switch to the Chinese Super League has been mooted, and Valverde expects the Spain international to get a rousing reception.
"We can't agree on one guard of honour so you're saying it for this!" Valverde said to reporters.
"I think Andres deserves the whole stadium to give him a guard of honour. I'm sure there will be lots of tributes over the coming days."