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Van Nistelrooy: Pressure on Barca for 'El Clasico'
Reuters, December 17th, 2007 3:45PM

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Real Madrid striker Ruud Van Nistelrooy believes Los Merengues have nothing to lose when they play Barcelona in the season's first "clasico" at the Nou Camp this weekend. An "unimpressive, though ruthlessly efficient" Real side beat Osasuna 2-0 at home on Sunday, while Barca looked more effective in a commanding 3-0 display at Valencia.

"It was important to win so that we can go to the Nou Camp with a four-point advantage," said Van Nistelrooy, who scored the game's first goal. "With this, we can go there to attack, without fear. It will be a tough game, and it is better to go secure in the knowledge that whatever happens we will remain leaders."

Barca's poor away form has been the main reason for Real's four-point cushion, but the Blaugrana were dazzling against Los Che, particularly two-goal hero Samuel Eto'o, who played in only his second full match since returning from injury. However, Barca's treatment room continues to be a revolving door, as striker Leo Messi picked up a thigh injury that rules him out for at least a month. Last season, Messi hit a hat trick as Barca battled back to a 3-3 draw at the Camp Nou. Frenchman Thierry Henry is also questionable for Sunday's clash, which means Barca could be without two of its big stars for the most important match of the season.

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