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Friday 15 December 2017

Messi: We'll need to be wary of Real

Barcelona may have only beaten Manchester City by a slender margin but the way their Lionel Messi-inspired attack terrorised the Premier League champions' defence is an ominous sign for Real Madrid ahead of the 'El Clasico' on Sunday.

Barca sealed a Champions League last eight place with a 3-1 aggregate triumph following Wednesday's 1-0 win but some sloppy finishing and an inspired performance from City keeper Joe Hart kept the winning margin down to a respectable level.

However, the dominant performance would still have been pleasing for coach Luis Enrique, who in just a few months has silenced doubters questioning his credentials to become the leader of a side contending for silverware on three fronts.

"We are playing well but we cannot get carried away because there is a long way to go," Messi said.

"We have some big games... first against Madrid and then there are the quarter-finals (of the Champions League) where we will face another tough team."

By contrast, arch-rivals Real have stuttered of late, recording just one win from four games in all competitions and a defeat on Sunday would intensify the pressure on them.

"I have a lot of respect for Madrid. When Madrid are in this situation it is when they are most dangerous," Messi added.

"They have great players. We will go out to play our football and look to win but at the same time we need to be wary of them as much as ever."

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