Rakitic identifies Bale threat ahead of Clasico

The Clasico has pitted Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi against one another in recent years, but Barcelona's Ivan Rakitic picked out another player his team should be wary of.

Croatia has a lot of stake in the El Clasico, with three players from the country featuring in the biggest game in Spanish football.   -  AP

El Clasico is fast approaching and the importance of the game is obviously not lost on either group of players. Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos has made it clear the fixture on Saturday is a must win for his side, as it sits 11 points adrift Barcelona.

Barca midfielder Ivan Rakitic is aware the threat posed by the host, as he picked out Ramos as the player he doesn't want to square up against. "There are really strong players in defence in the Real Madrid line-up. But maybe, it is Sergio Ramos because he’s a really strong defender with a lot of experience and he knows how to read situations well during the game. He’s also the captain," said the Croat.

Croatia has a lot of stake in the El Clasico, with three players from the country featuring in the biggest game in Spanish football. "Yeah, it is really popular. The people there have just been speaking about this big game since last Tuesday and it is not common for a country like Croatia to have such great interest in a game.

"There are already three (Croatian) players and I would just like to thank everybody who will support Barcelona and bad luck to the ones who won’t (smiles). Hopefully in the next few years we will have more players from Croatia (in LaLiga).

The Clasico has pitted Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi against one another in recent years, but Rakitic picked out another player his team should be wary of. "Gareth Bale... because he’s really fast and his idea is really clear, getting towards the closest lines of the opponent goal, which makes it difficult to play against him."

Keeping in mind the time preferences of Indian audiences, La Liga, for the first time ever, has scheduled El Clasico at a prime-time slot of 5.30 pm IST. La Liga fans in Delhi can enjoy watching the match on the big screen in the presence of former FC Barcelona star and Italian football legend, Gianluca Zambrotta at the official match screening at NSIC Grounds in Okhla, New Delhi on Saturday.

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