Javier Mascherano has seen it all. Champions League finals, the World Cup final … Name it and he’s been there. So he’s the perfect person to ask about the way FC Barcelona is preparing for the latest edition of El Clásico, which kicks off at the Camp Nou at 4.15pm CET on Saturday.
“It's different to any other game” says the Argentinian in an interview with the club media. “That’s because there are so many circumstances involved that make it more than simply a football match ... And yet that is what it is. It's still just a game of football with three points to play for.”
"Tactically, the boss prepares for this game like any other” he continues. “But perhaps some of us start playing this game 'mentally' much earlier than we would normally. It’s like the build-up to a big final.”
Real Madrid are currently six points clear at the top of the table, and Mascherano knows how tough the challenge will be this weekend. “They are a top quality team in every position” he comments. “They will be missing an important player in Bale but they have shown this year that the replacements are working out very well for them.”
Click on the video above to find out what else Mascherano had to say.