Madrid: Barcelona players trained on Friday for Saturday `El Clasico` match with Barcelona`s coach Luis Enrique playing down concerns about security for the match which sees Barcelona travel to take on their `eternal rival` Real Madrid at their Bernabeu stadium.
Outside the news conference room at Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper, where Barca trains, security concerns for one of Spain`s most famous games was high a week after the waves of shootings and explosions that killed 130 people in Paris.
Luis Enrique said, despite concerns about `all these terrorist problems`, he was not afraid for Saturday`s match.
"Concerning the situation of this game, not at all. But, yes, I am concerned for the current situation in the world with respect to all these terrorist problems," Enrique said. "I think we will be worried about this for a while and for this reason they`re working to resolve it and to resolve all these problems that have a very difficult solution, like we can all imagine. But on what`s going to happen tomorrow on the field or what could happen on other days we`ll play, I will focus on the game and on football. For these security matters there are other more qualified organisations."
Lionel Messi`s return from injury looks to be coming at exactly the right time for Barcelona as he prepares for a reunion with Neymar and Luis Suarez for Saturday`s game.
The most lethal attacking trio in Spanish soccer history have not played together since Argentina`s Messi injured a knee at the end of September. Since then Brazil forward Neymar and Uruguay striker Suarez have flourished.
Neymar has thrived on the extra creative responsibility given him by coach Luis Enrique and he appears to have developed a stronger understanding with his team mates, especially Suarez.
The pair have netted 16 goals in Barca`s last seven games.
Messi`s return against Real would clearly give a new dimension to the Barca attack whether he starts or is deployed off the bench.
But Luis Enrique said the decision on Messi`s return to the field on Saturday was yet to be taken.
"On Leo, since he came back to the group the feeling is great but this is the great news for us, the fact that he`s recovered and that he`s back in the group. But we still have today`s training and we still need to talk to see how he`s doing. Obviously, physically, he won`t be one hundred percent because that`s impossible after an injury, but he`s such an important player that, based on how he`s feeling, for us it`s already an advantage that he`s recovered," Enrique said.
It is 10 years this week since the 28-year-old played his first `Clasico` and he has left an indelible mark with a record 21 goals in 30 matches against Barca`s arch rivals.
Luis Enrique said Saturday`s game will be a complicated and attractive one for the Barcelona team but, no matter the result, it will not determine the outcome of the Liga season.
"For me this game will not determine what will happen in the Liga championship, no matter what the result will be. Obviously it`s a very attractive game because it`s always great to win your eternal rival especially when you play at their stadium. I told the players and I`ll keep saying it, it`s the best setting for a `culer` (Barca fan) player to please their fans. And from there, may it all be strictly sport, and may we see a good show. Our objective is to play our game like we try to do on all fields.
With Barca three points clear at the top, the pressure is firmly on Real to find a way of stopping the trio that have been dubbed "MNS".