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El Clasico brings good times and not-so-good times, but most importantly, it brings lot of emotions: former Barcelona player Patrick Kluivert to day

For Patrick Kluivert, El Clasico remains special. The former Barcelona footballer recalls several instances where the El Clasico could make or break a player’s career.

But on Sunday, when the two arch-rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona meet again, Kluivert believes that while ‘home team’ Real have a slight advantage, Barcelona will see to it that it fights back after a harrowing Champions League outing against Inter Milan.

“El Clasico brings you good times and bad times. But the most important thing is that it brings a lot of emotions,” says Kluivert sports star as he shared his thoughts on the evolution of El Clasico, the future of La Liga and more…

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Q-Barcelona enter the game after another harrowing night in the Champions League against Inter Milan, where they just managed to achieve a 3-3 draw. So, will that performance have an impact on El Clasico?

A- Barcelona did well in the competition. It struggled in the Champions League, and everyone saw that, and it’s a shame, because a Champions League without Barcelona takes some spice out of the tournament. But we are talking about the El Clasico and both teams are coming out of a draw in the Champions League and it takes guts to be there. Real Madrid may have a slight advantage because they play at home, but Barcelona will bring it to the table. They know they are both in first place by seven goals, but it will be a very exciting game. When it comes to El Clasico, I’m excited to see how it goes…

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Are there any memories of the El Clasico that you always cherish?

I have many good memories, but also a sad memory. It was my first Clasico at Camp Nou (October 13, 1999) and I got a red card. It’s not such a fun memory, and like I said, those are emotional moments. Then I kind of lost my cool, but it happens in big games.

La Liga has evolved over the years, but the level of tension remains the same every time Real and Barcelona go head-to-head. How do you see this?

The excitement will always be there. It was there before I came to Barcelona and it’s still the same. The El Clasico itself is the most watched game in the world, so this won’t go away. This will go on forever as it is the game of the ages involving the two teams. So it’s always exciting for the fans, and for the former players and the teams it’s an emotional game.

When Messi and Cristiano played they needed each other to bring that spice to the Clasico, but again several other players in the league are attracting the fans, says Kluivert. | Photo credit: La Liga

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Superstars like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo contributed to the star power of La Liga. But do you think a player walked out of the league after they left?

When Messi and Cristiano were playing they needed each other to bring that spice to the Clasico, but even now several other players in the league are attracting the fans. Other stars will come to La Liga in the future, and I’m sure of that. La Liga is the best or the second most watched league in the world, there will always be an attraction for the big players to come to Spain.

The visibility for people is even greater. If you look at the last five years, a Spanish club has won the Champions League three times. That’s the most attractive thing, when a Spanish team wins the Champions League, people automatically start watching Spanish leagues. We have over 650 million viewers around the world and that is a huge success.

But after the departures of Messi and Ronaldo, there seems to be a lack of awareness about La Liga clubs other than Barcelona, ​​Real Madrid or Atletico Madrid…

You have many other clubs like Athletic Bilbao, so every other club in Spain plays good football. Of course Barcelona and Madrid have a history and they are the two best teams, but you also have other teams that have improved. They have been able to get bigger players on the team and that is why La Liga remains very popular among the fans.

You can’t always have a Messi or a Ronaldo in Spain. They existed for about 10 years and now they have moved to other leagues. But as I said, there are other players coming in that make the competition more attractive.

Do you think the Johan Cryuff, Pep Guardiola, Xavi and the Barca philosophy has disappeared from La Liga over the years?

The other clubs know the style of Barcelona and sometimes we have to adapt a bit on the other side. The philosophies will always stay with the club, and if you change something, it doesn’t mean the philosophy will change. We will always remember Barcelona’s philosophies and style of play, all we need is a good scouting team and scouting the right players for the system.

There is often talk about the financial upper limit in La Liga. What do you think about this issue, and should other European competitions adhere to it just as strictly?

It is very important to keep the financial fair play alive. If the financial fair play is not there, they can continue to sign and sign. The competition has to be even, it has to be fair, and if you can make a deal and do what you can, you should do it.

With the Qatar World Cup taking place in the winter this time around, how much of a challenge is it for the leagues to maintain quality as players will have less time together?

They have less time, yes. But now that FIFA has decided to hold the World Cup in Qatar and we have to go with the flow, whether it’s in the middle of the competition or the end, it doesn’t matter. You have to play and the best country will win. It is winter, but Qatar has a good climate.

It is of course a challenge for competitions. The English players are used to playing in the winter because they like it. But yes, the quality of leagues across the league will be drastically affected.

The El Clasico will be broadcast on Sports18 – 1 SD & HD and MTV HD & SD in English, and Sports18 Khel in Hindi. JioCinema will stream the match live in feeds in multiple languages, while it will be available on Voot in English starting at 7:45 PM.

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