'El Clásico' and the last chance for Real Madrid

Zidane plays down importance of El Clasico despite large points gap

On Saturday, the first El Grand Clasico match of Spanish League La Liga this season between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona will take place at the Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid. Football can change very quickly.

Nine minutes after the break Sergio Busquets's calm opened up the Madrid midfield as he fed Ivan Rakitic and Sergi Roberto eventually crossed to Suarez to apply the finishing touch. "We are not thinking about [the lead], we just need to keep picking up points and moving forward". "Bad", Zidane told reporters after the game. Thereafter, substitute Aleix Vidal netted a goal in added time to lead Barcelona's rout of Madrid.

Barca were well beaten by Madrid over two legs in the Super Cup in August, prompting Gerard Pique to say he felt "inferior" to Zinedine Zidane's side for the first ever time.

"We'll never give up".

However, perhaps more impressive is this: Messi has become the first player to score 15 or more La Liga goals in 10 consecutive seasons.

Ter Stegen denied Bale again moments later, but Madrid's desperation to pull a goal back and breathe new life into the title race left space in defence which Nelson Semedo almost exploited 10 minutes from time, only to be denied by Navas.

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Zidane admitted the defeat "hurt" Real, adding: "This is a hard moment, a defeat by three goals". "If we had scored in the first half, things would have been different".

"I don't think we are favourites, the league table has no influence on games like this because of the tension there always is", he said. "But we will come back much stronger".

"We couldn't play as we are used to, so it was about persevering and then in the second half we got control of the play".

Cristiano Ronaldo miskicked with the goal at his mercy after just 10 minutes and Karim Benzema hit the post just before half-time.

Real are 14 points adrift in fourth with a game in hand but their crushing defeat leaves their title hopes looking bleak, even though Barca's coach Ernesto Valverde said afterwards it was premature to write off the champions.

Valverde's men have kept 17 clean sheets and conceded only eight goals in total on their 24-game unbeaten run.

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