Jose: Clasico just another game
The whole world will once again stop to watch this Sunday's La Liga clash between Real Madrid and Barcelona at the Camp Nou, according to Madrid boss Jose Mourinho.
It will be the 14th Clasico meeting since November 2010, across La Liga, the Champions League, Copa del Rey and Spanish Supercopa, with most games featuring more than their fair share of incident, drama and controversy and each team having their moments of dominance.
Mourinho told French sports channel BeInSport, that nobody, not the players and coaches, nor the expected 400 million strong worldwide TV audience for Sunday's game, had got bored of the rivalry.
"Madrid-Barca is a game we love to play," Mourinho said. "For us, and for sure, for them too. In this sense, a Clasico is a bit more than another normal game in La Liga. For football lovers the world stops when there is a Barcelona-Madrid. There were more viewers for the last Spanish Supercopa than for many games in the Champions League."
Despite the inevitable wider significance of the game, Mourinho said that his side - currently eight points behind Barcelona in the Primera Division standings - were most worried about securing the three points on offer.
"Our objective is to win the championship," he said. "The Clasico is only three points. This game on Sunday is a league game between two direct rivals who know that if they get three points their opponent does not."
The Portuguese coach said his team would be up for the match, although he is concerned by their attitude in less high profile games so far this season.
"Last season this team was not a champion and this year it is the defending champion," he said. "My team has begun the season a little bit living with the prestige and status of being champions. If you play at your best in the Supercopa and the Champions League, why do you not play your best in La Liga? You do not play your best because you won last season? No!"
Mourinho also reiterated his side's desire to end their wait for la decima, the longed for tenth European Cup trophy, claiming that things would have to fall their way at the vital moments if Madrid are to go all the way.
"It depends on the details," he said. "I believe we are all unanimous in thinking that Chelsea of last season was not the best team in the world. But they won the Champions League. And I was happy because, deep down, I am a bit 'blue'. To aspire to lift the Champions League trophy you must be in the quarter-finals or the semi-finals. And then you can win the competition or not. We want to be there but this group is incredibly difficult because it has the champions of Spain, England, Germany and Holland."