Head coach Luis Enrique has confirmed that Luis Suarez will make his Barcelona debut during today’s El Clasico showdown at the Bernabeu.
The clash between Barca and Real Madrid has always been the biggest event on the Primera Division calendar but Suarez’s return from his four-month ban for biting Giorgio Chiellini at last summer’s World Cup adds extra spice to an already highly-anticipated encounter.
The manager now has a decision to make as to whether he starts his marquee signing on the bench or goes with a three-pronged attack with Suarez, Neymar and Lionel Messi.
“You will have assurance he will play minutes,” Enrique said. “How many? I do not know.
“It’s an important occasion for him and he will have minutes.”
Opposite number Carlo Ancelotti insisted the presence of Suarez would not change his approach, but he feels the Uruguayan will be a welcome addition to the Primera Division.
“I’m not here to judge the behaviour of Luis Suarez,” he said.
“I respect him a lot as a player, he’s a fantastic player, he has scored a lot of goals but that doesn’t change our tactics of the game with Suarez or without Suarez.
“I think that for football it is good news that Suarez can play in the Spanish league.”
While Suarez is in line to play his first El Clasico, Barca midfielder Andres Iniesta is a veteran of such affairs and will make his 30th appearance in the fixture at the Bernabeu.
The Spain international will be the man expected to supply the service to his three prolific team-mates and he admits the entire Barcelona squad is excited about Uruguayan star Suarez’s availability.
“He’s happy to be available and the rest of us are happy about it too,” said Iniesta. “We hope he performs as well as he has always done.”
Away from the Luis Suarez show, Messi is on the brink of making Primera Division history as he sits just one goal behind Telmo Zarra’s record of 251.
The Bernabeu would be the perfect place for the 27-year-old to break the record and Iniesta would be delighted to see him do it, if only because a Messi brace would mean things were going well in the game.
“I just want to see him get past the record, that’d be a good sign for us and mean we are in with a chance of winning,” he added.
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