Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has insisted that he has no doubt that the upcoming El Clasico fixture will be played out as scheduled, but conceded that the club must adhere to whatever decision the Spanish Football Federation takes.
Barcelona are scheduled to take on Real Madrid at Camp Nou on October 26, however, following the recent events that saw the Spanish government jail nine Catalan separatist leaders over a failed declaration of independence for Catalonia, tensions have risen all around Spain with protestors taking to the streets to voice their disgust over the decision.
As a result of these recent events, Spanish football authorities proposed that the upcoming match be played at the Santiago Bernabeu, but this was rejected by both clubs. Instead, the RFEF have found another date for the fixture to be played on – Wednesday 18 December.
While it is looking increasingly likely that the fixture will be rearranged, Barça manager Valverde was quick to state that he believes that the game will go ahead as normal. Speaking at a press conference, as quoted by Marca, he claimed: “It is scheduled for October 26 and I have no doubt that it will go ahead without problems, respecting the opponents and everyone else involved.
“I do not know what decision the [Spanish Football] Federation will take. We will do whatever is decided.”
The coach reiterated that the match isn’t due to take place for another nine days, meaning that there is still plenty of time for the situation to sort itself out without drastic measures needing to be taken.
“There are nine days left until the match and there is [currently] too much talk. The same was said about October 1 [the date of the 2017 Catalan referendum] and a week later we played at the Wanda [Metropolitano] where everyone expected a dramatic event and it ended up being a great game where people expressed themselves without a problem.
“There is room to manoeuvre. If the match were tomorrow then perhaps [it wouldn’t go ahead], but there are still nine days to go.”
In the press conference, Valverde also provided an update on the fitness of superstar Lionel Messi ahead of La Blaugrana’s upcoming clash with Eibar on Saturday. He said: “He is in the process of being 100 percent fit. The other day he played 90 minutes and scored, that always reassures the strikers.”
The Barça boss drew his press conference to a close by opening up on the recent form of his team and has spoken of his admiration for the way the players have bounced back from a slow start.
“We have had a difficult time and what I like is that we have been able to react. That is the most important thing. In fact, it is what we have been doing in recent years, overcoming slumps.”
It is not yet known whether the clash between Real Madrid and Barcelona will take place on the scheduled date, but Valverde has confirmed that he believes it will.