The Barcelona forward Lionel Messi believes that Real Madrid will be motivated by revenge when they arrive at Camp Nou for tonight's Clásico.
Real have lost their past four league games against the Spanish champions, scoring just twice and conceding 11. Their worst result came in May 2009, when Barcelona triumphed 6-2 at the Bernabéu.
"Real will come to the Camp Nou with revenge in mind," Messi, who scored in three of the past four meetings, told AFP. "Since the 6-2 at the Bernabéu I guess they have a real desire to beat us and this season they have strengthened with the new signings and [José] Mourinho."
Real however have done marginally better this season, and are one point ahead of their rivals at the top of La Liga. "It could be a decisive match as the two sides are so even and these games could decide the championship," Cristiano Ronaldo told AFP. "It would be difficult for the losing team to take.
"We are stronger than last season and we go into the match without losing a match and have a lot more confidence and solidity. The team looks really good and the coach has given us a lot of confidence."
The match is inevitably being talked of as an individual duel between Messi and Ronaldo, the past two winners of the Ballon d'Or. Ronaldo has scored 15 league goals in 12 games this season, with Messi not far behind with 13.
"To talk about a duel between me and Messi is foolishness," Ronaldo said. "It's a duel between the two best teams in Spain. Messi, like me, will try to do his most to help his team win. I'm just another player in this team. Things are working out well, as much for me as the team, but I don't feel any more pressure than the rest. We all have our responsibilities. I am not obsessed by scoring goals and I am not obsessed by scoring against Barcelona."