Paulinho wary of wounded Real

22 December 2017 08:09:05 EST
Real expect Cristiano Ronaldo to shrug off a calf injury to feature against Barca.

Barcelona midfielder Paulinho expects his side to have to be 'close to perfect' to defeat Real Madrid in El Clasico at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday.

Barca go into the game holding a six-point lead at the top of La Liga, with Real down in fourth place, a massive 11 points adrift of their deadly rivals.

These games can be decided at any moment by the smallest issues, so we have to be close to perfect.

Paulinho

However, former Tottenham schemer Paulinho has warned his colleagues not to take anything for granted, despite having also won on their last two league visits to the Bernabeu.

The Brazil international midfielder told his club's official website: "These games can be decided at any moment by the smallest issues, so we have to be close to perfect.

"That being said, we are confident at the moment due to how we have been playing and our results - we are on a winning run and look very solid as a team.

"Real Madrid are fantastic too and this will be one of our biggest challenges of the season to date, if not the biggest, but if we worry about anything other than our own performance that would be a mistake."

The two sides met at the start of the current campaign in the Spanish Super Cup, when Los Blancos won both legs to complete a 5-1 aggregate success.

Real expect to have superstar Cristiano Ronaldo available for the grudge match, with the Portuguese ace having suffered a calf injury during the Club World Cup final win over Gremio last weekend.

The men from Madrid are 11/10 to claim victory on Saturday, with a 2-2 draw priced at 9/1, while visitors Barca are 11/1 to secure a 2-1 victory in the Spanish capital.

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