On Friday at midday, you didn’t need to hear the questions posed to manager Luis Enrique Martínez, nor his responses, to know which game was a little more than 24 hours away.

With the press room at FC Barcelona’s training centre effectively standing room only — brimming with scores upon scores of journalists, photographers, and cameramen — the answer was an obvious one: El Clásico.

But while the coach was appreciative of the significance of Saturday’s match, he diverged little from his propensity to exude an air of equanimity in the face of what is every season’s most formidable league test.

“In game as special as this one, against our eternal rivals at Camp Nou, it’s very important to keep your emotions in check,” he said. “That goes not just for me, but also for my players.”

FC Barcelona are six points behind Saturday’s opponents in the La Liga table, and can slash that deficit in half with a triumph.

“It’s important to emerge victorious because they are a direct rival and we share similar aspirations,” he said. “And being at home is just another motivating factor.”

“We’ll need to play very well to beat a team as good as this one.”

Here are the highlights of what else Luis Enrique had to say:

“The biggest news is that we’re getting [AndrésIniesta back, which has extra importance since he’s our captain. If there’s one player who helps most with our style, it’s him.”

“I will be looking at several different options as far as our starting XI is concerned.”

“In games like these, the standings have very little bearing on what happens out on the field.”

“Beyond the final score, I don’t think this game will be decisive in La Liga; we’re only in Week 14.”

“It’s special for our fans, and with 100,000 people cheering us on we want to provide joy, both for us and them.”

“I expect Real Madrid to play the way they have so far this season, without the need to control the ball. They attack quickly, with few touches, they’ll be very direct, and effective in front of the goal.”

“We’ll try to control the ball and win the battle for possession to create scoring chances.”

“Seeing my team train and play gives me optimism; I try to enjoy it as much as I can every day.”

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