Luis Suarez has warned LaLiga champions Barcelona to brace themselves for a stern test from a Real Madrid side wishing to hand them their first league loss in El Clasico.
Barca clinched the league title last weekend, eight days after winning the Copa Del Rey final, and have now set their sights on becoming the first Spanish club to complete a 38-game campaign without defeat.
Their biggest hurdle across their final four fixtures will be Sunday’s clash with a Real Madrid team that have been imbued with confidence after reaching their third successive Champions League final this week.
And Suarez knows Zinedine Zidane’s experienced outfit would dearly love to be the club that ends Barca’s unbeaten streak and prevents them from completing the season without a LaLiga loss.
“Besides what Real Madrid represent and the quality of the players they have, the majority of players have a lot of experience in El Clasico,” Suarez told Sky Sports.
“They know what playing in these types of games means, and they will be very tough opposition.”
Unlike in 2008, when Real won the title prior to hosting Barcelona, Zidane has previously said the visitors to the Nou Camp will not give Ernesto Valverde’s hosts a guard of honour prior to kick-off.
It will still be the first opportunity for Barca fans to celebrate their title triumph, one that Suarez believes is a fair reflection of their dominance across the term.
“We are the only team that haven’t lost yet; we’ve drawn some games, but not lost,” the former Liverpool striker added.
“That’s down to us and to the coach’s hard work.
“The competition that rewards consistency is LaLiga. You have to play well every weekend in order to be the champions. I think that we are worthy winners because of how we’ve handled the entire year and the numbers show that we haven’t lost a game yet.
“Obviously we are frustrated about the Champions League, because of how the games turned out, but that’s in the past now. We have to focus on the present.”
Departing Barca midfielder Andres Iniesta will hope to appear in his final Clasico, although he did not train fully on Thursday having only featured from the bench against Deportivo.
Real have injury concerns too, with Isco, Raphael Varane and Dani Carvajal all restricted in their involvement in Thursday’s session.
Though the destination of the league title is already confirmed, Suarez thinks both sides are just desperate to secure bragging rights.
“You want to win these types of games at all cost,” he explained.
“You can play nice football or not, but the important thing is to win these games.
“The fans are very into everything that goes on around El Clasico and that motivates the players a lot when they come out for these games.”