What's the story?
Ahead of the much-awaited La Liga Clasico tonight, former Real Madrid striker Fernando Morientes has opined that Barcelona are a much more dangerous team with captain Lionel Messi and has expressed his wariness over the damage that the Argentine's presence can do in the clash.
In case you didn't know...
After their Copa del Rey clash on Wednesday, Barcelona and Real Madrid will once again lock horns as Los Blancos host their arch-rivals in the LaLiga later tonight.
The European champions were eliminated from the competition after they suffered a 3-0 defeat to the Blaugrana earlier this week. Despite not being on the score sheet, Messi played a pivotal role in the win as he seems to be enjoying a great season so far.
The five-time Ballon d'Or winner has netted 33 goals in 32 appearances in all competitions for the side so far and it is precisely these statistics that worry Morientes.
The heart of the matter
Morientes, who played for Real Madrid between 1997 and 2005, has expressed his worries ahead of the clash, stating that the presence of Lionel Messi in the Barcelona squad is a "big handicap" to his former club.
The former Blancos star said (as quoted by Goal):
"Barcelona have always been a dangerous team, a very difficult rival regardless of the era. El Clasico has always been special. In our day it was a tough game, but today it’s even tougher because they have Lionel Messi."
"He’s a player that we’ll look back on years from now as someone who was on a different level, special. I’ve been lucky – or unlucky – enough to face him and I know what he’s capable of."
"He has the ability to break open a game, he’s the difference in an even game. Having him on the opposing team is a big handicap."
Real Madrid will be hoping to exact their revenge on Barcelona when they face one another tonight. The highly anticipated game begins at 1:15 am. (IST)Published 02 Mar 2019, 11:11 IST