Santiago Bernabeu

Next Game

R Madrid v Bay Munich

Wednesday, 23 April 2014, 19:45

Champions League Semi-Final

Mestalla

Last Game

R Madrid 2 - 1 Barcelona

Wednesday, 16 April 2014, 20:30

Copa del Rey Final

Primera Liga weekend preview

Athletic Bilbao striker Aritz Aduriz has rubbished suggestions Sunday's opponents Barcelona are weaker now than in recent years.

Last Updated: 29/11/13 at 09:48 Post Comment    Bet with SkyBet  Spanish La Liga. Click here to bet.

Aritz Aduriz: Knows Athletic face a tough game

Aritz Aduriz: Knows Athletic face a tough game

New Barca boss Gerardo Martino has guided the Catalans to the top of the Primera Division with a record of 13 wins and a draw from their 14 games, yet he has failed to completely win over the Nou Camp faithful.

The Argentinian suffered his first defeat in charge in midweek, when his side lost 2-1 to Ajax in the Champions League, but Aduriz believes that was just a blip and dismissed the notion Barca are not as strong as they were under Martino's predecessors Tito Vilanova and Pep Guardiola.

"To me they seem just as good as ever. So far, he has won almost every game. They are of the same level or even better than in previous seasons," he told Marca.

"They are one of the best teams in the world, if not the best. It is difficult to compete against them.

"But we are at home and we will try to go out and enjoy it."

Barca go into the clash without injured key men Lionel Messi and Victor Valdes and Aduriz is hoping that will be significant.

"They are very important to them and we will see if we can take advantage," he added. "That said, they still have plenty of other good players."

Aduriz is hoping to be available to face Barca with the Spanish Disciplinary Committee for Sports expected to rule on Friday whether he must serve the second match of a two-game ban for abusing the referee after being sent off against Granada.

"I expect a resolution on Friday," he said. "Let's hope it's favourable. It is necessary to be optimistic."

Barca head into round 15 three points clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid, who thrashed Getafe 7-0 last weekend before a 1-1 Champions League draw at Zenit St Petersburg.

Diego Simeone's men visit Elche on Saturday.

Real Madrid are third, a further three points behind, but in fine form ahead of their home clash with Real Valladolid having won their last four league games, scoring 20 goals in the process.

They also proved they can perform without the injured Cristiano Ronaldo by beating Galatasaray 4-1 in midweek despite the early dismissal of defender Sergio Ramos.

In Ronaldo's absence, Gareth Bale continued to shine, netting his team's opener with a trademark free-kick.

"We showed character and a good team spirit when playing a man short," the Wales forward told the club's official website.

"There are no limits to what we can achieve in the competition. We have a good chance of winning the Champions League this year.

"I am happy about the match and the goal. I've been practising free-kicks and was lucky that this one came off. It is one of the best goals of my career."

The weekend action starts on Friday with Getafe hosting Levante and Malaga visiting Villarreal.

Saturday's action is highlighted by the Madrid clubs with the other games seeing Almeria go to Celta Vigo and Espanyol taking on a Real Sociedad side who were thrashed 4-0 by Shakhtar Donetsk in midweek.

Barca go to Athletic in the Sunday late game, before which Granada host Sevilla, rock-bottom Real Betis meet Rayo Vallecano and Osasuna make the trip to Valencia.

Bet with SkyBet  Spanish La Liga. Click here to bet.

Related News

Sky Bet

    • Retrieving latest Sky Bet odds

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

may well get slated by other United fans for this, but out of the three contenders, I'd far prefer Liverpool to win the title. Yes some elements of their fanbase can be a bit OTT, yes they're our biggest rivals and yes it will make our poor season feel even more like the end of an era (Fergie's gone, Liverpool are back on top). However I just have to applaud Brendan Rodgers and the way he's turned Liverpool around in just a couple of seasons. It...

Mike_Christie
Please Stop Telling Us What To Think

H

ooray! We are all excited now, we beat a very mediocre team! With all due respect to WHU supporters, not winning that game shouldn't even be a consideration. This is the problem, there is no winning mentality at the Emirates - we're all congratulating ourselves beating a team that we have a winning record against.

TheWhiz
Wenger hails important win

I

s this meant to be an aspiration for United supporters? Moyes mediocrity strikes again. I see the Bayern boys don't want to sign for him, and his reputation amongst the senior European coaches make other key signings unlikely.

redbornandbred
De Gea's Europa League target

Footer 365

Premier League: Roberto Martinez hails Everton players after win over Manchester United

Roberto Martinez saluted the focus and adaptability of his Everton squad after a 2-0 victory over Manchester United.

Transfer news: Atletico Mineiro to take Nicolas Anelka to FIFA

Atletico Mineiro president Alexandre Kalil has said that he is considering taking Nicolas Anelka to FIFA.

Premier League: David Moyes admits defensive errors cost Manchester United at Everton

David Moyes feels Man Utd conceded 'terrible goals' on his return to Everton and says missing out on the top four hurts.

Mail Box

That's Why We Didn't Want Jose At United

There is plenty of reaction to Mourinho's antics (Isn't that exactly what he wanted?) plus thoughts on Connor Wickham, Fabio Borini, beach balls and Tim Sherwood...

Kieran's Not The Only One Keeping Notes

Another chap in the mailbox has been keeping notes on comments made by optimistic Man United fans. Plus, Garey Vance is offering a double-or-quits on his new tattoo...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property