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‘The cake is ready, the icing is missing’ – Real Madrid look to pull clear of Clasico rivals Barcelona

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Carlo Ancelotti knows a victory over Barcelona in Sunday’s Clasico would all-but confirm Real Madrid as champions of LaLiga, saying: “The cake is ready, the icing is missing”.

Madrid enter Sunday’s clash at the Santiago Bernabeu eight points clear of the Blaugrana at the top of LaLiga, having only lost one league game all season – at Atletico Madrid in September.

Ancelotti’s side could still win a double, having reached the Champions League semi-finals with a penalty shoot-out victory over holders Manchester City on Wednesday.

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With Madrid possessing the chance to go 11 points clear of their old enemies, Ancelotti is under no illusions as to the importance of Sunday’s game.

“We are very close, but we are going to play against a very competitive team. They are doing very well,” Ancelotti said at Saturday’s pre-match press conference.

“It will be a typical Clasico, equal and competitive.

“At the moment we are doing very well. The cake is ready. The icing is missing, and in this next month we have to achieve it.”

Madrid have been criticised in some quarters for adopting a defensive approach in the second leg of their Champions League tie against City, who enjoyed 68 per cent of the possession and attempted 33 shots on Andriy Lunin’s goal across 120 minutes on Wednesday.

While Ancelotti expected that criticism, he is not fazed by it, saying: “It doesn’t surprise me. Everyone can have their opinion. For us, it is very clear how we should play.

“You have to handle it well when you have the ball and when you don’t. I haven’t found any of our fans sad so far! They are happy and I’m happy with that.”

Barcelona, meanwhile, were dumped out of the Champions League on Tuesday, Ronald Araujo’s red card costing them in a 4-1 second-leg defeat to Paris Saint-Germain.

That brought a halt to the Blaugrana’s 13-game unbeaten run, which began after Xavi announced his intention to leave the club in January.

With Barca’s hopes of silverware now hanging by a thread, Xavi was asked whether a loss in the Spanish capital would precipitate another crisis for the club.

“I think of a positive scenario, of winning,” he responded. “My thinking is positive; we are going to go out and win the match.

“It is the most important match of the season. We have to win to put some pressure on. If we win, we will be five points away. We play for the title and we have to win.

“We will find a strong Madrid team, even more so after eliminating the best team in the world in City.

“Today we trained well, yesterday we were hungover from the Champions League. The team is ready to fight for this league with all the enthusiasm in the world.”

Harry Carr
Harry Carr
Harry is a freelance sports journalist with experience of working for the Racing Post, Stats Perform, Opta Analyst and more, covering major events across all sports but holding a particular love for the beautiful game.

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