Barcelona full-back Jordi Alba has given his opinion on the guard of honour debate as Real Madrid prepare to visit the Nou Camp on Sunday.
The Catalan giants secured the La Liga title at the weekend with their 4-2 win over Deportivo while they remain unbeaten after 34 games and so they’re still in pursuit of more history.
Sunday night’s El Clasico will therefore have additional importance, but having been crowned champions, the controversy has already started over whether or not Real Madrid would give their rivals a guard of honour as they made their way onto the pitch.
As noted by the Metro, Zinedine Zidane has already confirmed that Los Blancos won’t after he insisted that Barca snubbed them after their Club World Cup triumph, and so it remains to be seen whether or not the visitors have a change of heart this weekend.
“It’s not a decision we take, everyone has respect for those who want to,” Alba is quoted as saying by The Express. “The Club World Cup was a competition we didn’t play in. At the [Santiago] Bernabeu, in the league, we have previously performed a guard of honour.
“If they don’t want to give us a guard of honour it will be because it comes from upstairs.”
In the interests of sportsmanship, it would be ideal if Madrid did show respect to the champions and give them the guard of honour, as it does send a positive message to those watching.
However, it’s also easy to see why Zidane is ready to take the decision he has suggested after their perceived snub, albeit it may well have come from higher up as Alba suggests. In turn, time will tell if there is additional tension added to the battle between the two old rivals prior to kick-off on Sunday.
Madrid will have their own concerns too given that they will hope to book their spot in the Champions League final this week when they host Bayern Munich for the second leg of their Champions League semi-final with a 2-1 advantage.