El Clasico: Cristiano Ronaldo downplays rivalry with Lionel Messi

Real Madrid and Barcelona
Real Madrid face Barcelona in the first El Clasico of the season on Saturday
La Liga El Clasico: Real Madrid v Barcelona
Venue: Bernabeu Stadium Date: Saturday, 25 October Kick-off: 17:00 BST Coverage: Live text commentary on the BBC Sport website starts at 16:00 BST

Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo says he is more focused on victory than outshining Lionel Messi in Saturday's El Clasico against Barcelona.

Ronaldo has netted a La Liga record 15 goals in seven matches this season, while Messi could break the all-time league scoring record at the Bernabeu.

However, the world footballer of the year downplayed any individual rivalry.

"I am not going to play against Messi, I am going to playing against Barcelona," Ronaldo, 29, said.

El Clasico in figures
Lionel Messi has scored 21 times in 28 El Clasico matches, Cristiano Ronaldo has netted 13 times in 21 matches
Of current players, Barcelona playmaker Xavi has the most El Clasico appearances with 40, ahead of Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas on 35, Barca midfielder Andres Iniesta on 29 and Messi on 28
Barcelona coach Luis Enrique has played in the fixture on 32 occasions, for Real Madrid between 1991 and 1996, and for Barcelona from 1996 until 2004. He scored five times for Barcelona against his former team in 14 matches
Real have scored 385 goals in El Clasicos, 14 more than Barcelona

Real's Gareth Bale will miss the match with a thigh injury, but Spain defender Sergio Ramos will be fit after missing Wednesday's 3-0 Champions League win over Liverpool with a calf injury.

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Real Madrid v Barcelona: El Clasico in numbers

Barcelona played in the Champions League the night before Real Madrid, beating Ajax 3-1 at the Camp Nou on Tuesday, and Ronaldo says it is unfair that Luis Enrique's side have been allowed an extra day to recover.

"I don't understand why they put the match on Saturday," Ronaldo said.

"It is a difficult match and all footballers know that an extra day's rest is significant. Cup matches aren't so important. However, I don't want to make excuses because the team are fine and confident."

Argentine forward Messi, 27, will equal Telmo Zarra's league total of 251 goals if he scores at the Bernabeu, a record that has stood for almost 60 seasons.

Former Liverpool striker Luis Suarez could make his Barcelona debut after serving a four-month ban for biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup, and Messi feels the Uruguay striker could give coach Enrique an extra attacking option in the first El Clasico of the season.

"We are excited for Luis to play because he will add his strength to the team," Messi said.

"I'm happy for him because he has spent a long time off the pitch."

Barcelona lead La Liga with 22 points after eight games, and will go seven points clear of Real Madrid if they win at the Bernabeu on Saturday.

BBC Sport's football expert Mark Lawrenson:
"Ronaldo and Messi are, if anything, better than last season. It is so hard to call but I would go for Real to edge it this time. It will be full of absolutely everything - quality, intensity and lots of incident. It is becoming an unmissable event."

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