This weekend brings football devotees the world’s most followed clash at club level, as the ever-enticing Real Madrid vs Barcelona battle takes place at the Bernabeu Stadium. Under normal circumstances, a local derby as significant as El Clasico on April 16 would require Los Merengues to keep their best players in perfect shape for the showdown, but Jose Mourinho—who has led his club to their first ever quarterfinal since the 2003/04 season—is not ready to give full priority to his challenge on Saturday.
Real Madrid dominated Tottenham Hotspur with a 4-0 triumph in Spain last week, hence possessing a vital advantage going into the return leg. Even so, it is even the most unlikely negative upshot that Los Blancos wish to put off, since the Londoners are well capable of turning their adversaries into unforeseen victims at the White Hart Lane.
“We must finish the job we started and respect Tottenham Hotspur,” Mourinho’s statement reads on his club’s official website. “Our current aggregate score is very good, but it’s not definitive.”
Should Real make use of their opening leg’s bonus, then they would be facing FC Barcelona in the semi-finals later in April and early in May to decide who will progress to the final at the Wembley Stadium. This would consequently add two more Clasico fixtures to both archrivals’ list of matches this season; nevertheless, Mourinho is presently more concerned with his half-completed task in the Champions League’s quarterfinals than with imminent Classics.
Playing down tensions sparked by the media ahead of the upcoming Real Madrid vs Barcelona match, Mourinho confirmed in a press-conference yesterday: “The Clasico doesn't exist for me at the moment.
“We will be playing a quarterfinals match tomorrow (against Tottenham) and we shouldn't think about anything else. It's been years now since the team last reached the semi-finals.
“That is our goal. We will have time enough to think about Barcelona after the match."