Barcelona currently sit atop the La Liga table nine points ahead of Atletico Madrid and 13 ahead of bitter rivals Real. The Catalans look certain to claim their 25th La Liga title, but Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has said that his team will not give Barcelona a guard of honour should they win the league by the time the two sides meet at the Nou Camp in early May.
I don't know how much you are going to ask me but my response is very clear," Zidane told reporters on Saturday:
It is my decision and that is it. I don't understand the guard of honour and it won't take place, although we are far from the end of the season. Barcelona broke the tradition.
Zidane was referencing Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde's refused to give Real Madrid a guard of honour after they had won World Club Championship when the two sides met last December. Valverde claimed that the guard of honour had become antiquated in football:
A [guard of honour] was something done years ago as a symbolic tribute, as recognition between players, when football had not acquired this nuance that is contaminating everything.
We do have recognition towards Madrid, for what they have achieved this year. On the notion of a guard of honour, I wouldn't do it for anyone, nor would I want it to be done for us. It has now has lost the essence that it had a few years ago.
While it seems that Barcelona have La Liga all but sewn up, there is a chance the two sides will meet another two times, should they be drawn together in the Champions League semi-finals. Both teams hold commanding leads going into their second legs next week, Madrid 3-0 up against Juventus and Barcelona 4-1 up against Roma. If the two Spanish giants are drawn together they could conceivably have three El Clasico's in the space of one week.