• Spain's news in English

Messi admits Barça must up game for Clasico

AFP/The Local · 25 Feb 2013, 12:11

Published: 25 Feb 2013 12:11 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Barça made an almost faultless start to the season only dropping points in the league before Christmas with a 2-2 draw with Real Madrid at the Camp Nou, while they also lost against Celtic in the group stage of the Champions League.

But now signs of tiredness are beginning to set in.

"Against Madrid we will have to produce our best football as we will be against a great rival. We need to be at our best in order to get into the final," said Messi, ahead of the semi-final showdown in the Catalan capital with the scores 1-1 from the first leg at the Bernabeu.

The teams then go head-to-head again in the league at the weekend but with Madrid trailing Barça by 16 points in the table there is little more than pride at stake.

While they were expected to roll over AC Milan last week in the Champions League in typical fashion, in the end they were unable to break down a well-organized but not remarkable defence as they lacked the movement and the speed of passing.

Even four-times world player of the year Messi was largely anonymous as they had plenty of possession but were well contained.

At the back their defence was opened up on the rare occasions that Milan attacked and they got two goals to give them a significant advantage ahead of the return leg.

Barça were again lacking potency in attack in the first half against Sevilla at the weekend and went behind before turning the game around in the second half with goals from David Villa and Messi.

The Argentine continued his record scoring run in the league to 15 straight games and will be looking to add to his tally against Madrid but there is also plenty of concern about their leaky defence.

"We need to get back to playing how we were doing before and not think about what happened in Milan or the Sevilla game.

"We took on Sevilla on the back of a bad result and that was noticeable but we got ourselves going in the end. It is difficult for us not be distracted by Milan and although we didn't play well then we shouldn't allow it to get to us," said Messi.

Story continues below…

"The cup and the Champions League are down to us and we aren't concentrating on the opposition. Physically the team is in good shape and I am used to playing in all the games," he added.

For Madrid it is the first of two make or break games with the other coming in the Champions League against Manchester United.

They struggled once again away to Deportivo la Coruña at the weekend with a weakened side and Cristiano Ronaldo was among those brought on in the second half to turn the game around and give them a 2-1 win.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.es)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Russia withdraws request to refuel warships in Ceuta
The aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov was due to dock in Ceuta

Russia has withdrawn a request for its aircraft carrier group to be refuelled at the Spanish port of Ceuta, authorities confirmed.

Bulls replace guard dogs at scrap yard in Valencia
Two bulls will be patrolling the scrap yard in eastern Spain. Archive photo: AFP

Guard dogs were not proving enough of a deterrent to thieves at a car breakers yard in eastern Spain so the owner has brought in a pair of fighting bulls.

Two-headed shark born in Spanish laboratory
Scientists are studying the rare find. Photo: IBIMA / University of Malaga

Scientists at the University of Malaga found the embryo of a shark with two heads and just one body.

Spain under pressure to stop refuel of Russian warships
Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov is due to arrive in Ceuta. Photo: Mil Ru / Wikimedia

Spain is facing international pressure to refuse permission for a Russian warship flotilla to refuel in Ceuta en route to continuing airstrikes against the Syrian city of Aleppo.

Most wanted: Fugitive rapist arrested in Tenerife
Mohammed Jahangir Alam was arrested n Tenerife. Photo: Crimestoppers.

Mohammed Jahangir Alam, one of Britain's most wanted fugitives, who fled the country in 2008 after allegedly raping a woman, was found working in Tenerife.

Spain's Rajoy says king has tasked him with forming govt
Photo: AFP

Spain's king on Tuesday tasked Mariano Rajoy with forming a government, taking the acting conservative prime minister a step closer to power again after a 10-month political deadlock.

Two imams arrested in Ibiza resort over 'Isis support'
The men were arrested in the resort of Sant Antoni de Portmany. Photo: Jose A / Flickr

Two Moroccan imams at a mosque on the Spanish resort island of Ibiza were arrested Tuesday on suspicion of backing the Islamic State group and inciting jihad.

Balearic Islands choose to keep summertime forever
The islands will have longer evenings during winter. Photo: AFP

The Balearic Islands want to keep summertime when the rest of Spain turns the clocks back on Sunday.

  Brazilian had 'uncontrollable desire to kill': Spain police
Francois Patrick Nogueira Gouveia has been charged with murdering his uncle, his wife and their two children. Photo: Guardia Civil.

A Brazilian teenager accused of dismembering his uncle and aunt and killing their two young sons in a grisly crime that shocked Spain had an "uncontrollable desire to kill", police said on Monday.

Man rescued from bin after climbing in to find old clothes
Photo: Policía Local Murcia

Police were called after passersby reported hearing a man calling for help from within a rubbish bin in the Vistabella neighbourhood of Murcia, southern Spain.

Analysis & Opinion
Out of the dark: Five years on from Eta ceasefire
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Spanish 'La Mafia' restaurants banned after Italian complaint
Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Hunt launched for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Napflix: Spaniards launch very boring TV channel for siestas
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
jobs available