MADRID: Barcelona forward Neymar is eagerly anticipating his first experience of an El Clasico clash against Real Madrid when the two Spanish giants square off on Saturday.
The Brazilian has made a significant impact since joining the Catalans for €57m ($78.1m, £48.3m) from Santos back in June, scoring three times as Barca have started the season unbeaten to lead Madrid by three points at the top of La Liga.
And the 21-year-old admits it is for this type of game that he swapped Brazil for Barcelona.
“A Clasico is the most important game for any player,” he told Barca TV. “It is the game that every player wants to participate in and show their best football. This will be my first one and I want to make a great debut, preferably with a victory.”
Much has been made of some the rough treatment Neymar has received from opposing defenders, particularly as Barca dropped their first points of the season in a 0-0 draw with lowly Osasuna last week.
However, he doesn’t believe his team-mates will need to give him advice on how to handle the pressures of a Clasico, nor will he feel the nerves any more than in a number of huge matches he has already experienced in his young career.
“For this game I don’t think anyone has to explain anything. The players, even those who have never played in it, understand the importance of a Barcelona and Real Madrid match.” AFP