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'El Clasico the game that changes the world' - Kluivert on the importance of Real Madrid vs Barcelona

15:05 GMT+3 01/03/2019
Sergio Ramos Lionel Messi Real Madrid Barcelona 2018-19
Ahead of the second meeting in the space of a week, the former Blaugrana striker has revealed how close the famous fixture is to his heart

Former Barcelona forward Patrick Kluivert believes El Clasico is 'the game that changes the world' and stands out as the greatest domestic fixture in European football.

Real Madrid host the reigning Liga champions at Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday, just three days on from suffering a damaging 3-0 defeat in the Copa del Rey .

Barcelona progressed to the final of the competition at the expense of Los Blancos with a 4-1 aggregate win, thanks to a Luis Suarez brace and a Raphael Varane own goal.

Barca have held the edge in recent Clasico encounters, with the Blaugrana winning 12 of their last 20 games against Madrid across all competitions, losing four and drawing four.

Ernesto Valverde's side are out in front in La Liga once again this year, too, with a nine-point lead to protect against their arch-rivals this weekend .

Ahead of the heavyweight encounter, Kluivert, who played for Barcelona between 1998 and 2004, has described El Clasico as the most important fixture in world football. 

"I’ve played in quite a few leagues, but El Clasico is the game that changes the world," Kluivert said. "I played Inter Milan-AC Milan, Feyenoord-Ajax… you name it.

"But El Clasico, everyone knows it. If you say it here, or at the other end of the world, it’s a game that everybody knows.

"When you play that game, the media is already boiling it up weeks in advance.

"It’s fantastic to take part. If you ask any fans in Spain if they want to go to El Clasico, they’d die for a chance to go to that game."

The Dutch striker starred at Camp Nou during a transitional period for the team, only managing to win a solitary Liga crown during his time at the club.

However, Kluivert secured his place in the club's history by scoring 145 goals in 308 matches, with more than a few of those strikes coming in fierce contests against Madrid.

The former Netherlands international reminisced on his experience of the fixture fondly, as he added: "Winning and scoring at the Bernabeu, it’s the best thing. I think I scored two or three goals at the Bernabeu, it’s something quite amazing.

"The rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona is enormous, but also with respect.

"If you see both teams playing each other, of course, there’s a rivalry but at the end, you shake hands.

"A lot of the international players play in the same team, they’re Barcelona or Madrid but they have to come together. But that day… they’re enemies."