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The Argentine coach feels there are “no words” to describe Lionel Messi and said he has a good idea of which players will start in the crucial match next week

Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino says he has almost decided on the starting XI to face Real Madrid in next week's Clasico in the Santiago Bernabeu.

The Blaugrana demolished Osasuna 7-0 in Camp Nou to remain four points behind Carlo Ancelotti's men, who beat Malaga 1-0 earlier in the week.

But Martino insists the excellent fashion in which his side disposed of Javi Gracia's men will have no effect on the team he puts out to face their fierce rivals next Sunday.

"I don't have any doubts about how to play at the Bernabeu," he told Marca. "Today's performance doesn't change the way we need to play. I'm almost decided on the starting XI to face Madrid."

Sunday's win came just days after the Catalan giants progressed into the quarter-finals of the Champions League at the expense of Manchester City and Martino believes his side are moving in the right direction after a relatively poor run of form.

"We played two good games, we played well, we were serious. Our first game was tougher at times because we played against City.

"But we can’t get carried away by today’s game. Sometimes we lose points against teams that don’t have as much money as us, but what we did do today is what we should always do: win and play well.


“Moments like these need to be reaffirmed by consistency in form. We will fight to the end.” 

The Argentine coach was asked for his opinion on Lionel Messi, who scored a hat-trick on Sunday to overtake Paulino Alcantara as his club's all-time top goalscorer with 371 goals. 

"There are no words to describe Leo," Martino remarked. "He continues to break records every time one is put in front of him".

The 51-year-old left Neymar on the bench for the entire match against Osasuna and the coach insists his decision to leave the young Brazilian out of the game was justified.

"I've already dealt with the issue of Neymar's lack of continuity, it seemed more sensible to give minutes to Alexis and Pedro".

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