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Koeman expects Madrid to be strong in El Clasico showdown

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VIDEO SHOWS: BARCELONA TRAINING / NEWS CONFERENCE WITH BARCELONA COACH RONALD KOEMAN AHEAD OF EL CLASICO GAME AGAINST REAL MADRID

COMPLETE SCRIPT TO FOLLOW

SHOWS:

BARCELONA, SPAIN (OCTOBER 20, 2020) (BARCA TV HANDOUT - MUST NOT OBSCURE LOGO)

1. VARIOUS OF BARCA PLAYERS ARRIVING AT TRAINING SESSION

2. BARCA PLAYERS GATHERED ON TRAINING PITCH

3. FORWARD LIONEL MESSI AT TRAINING

4. TRAINING SESSION IN PROGRESS

5. MESSI WARMING UP

6. BARCA PLAYERS WARMING UP

7. FORWARD ANTOINE GRIEZMANN WARMING UP

8. TRAINING SESSION IN PROGRESS

9. DEFENDER GERARD PIQUE AT TRAINING

10. TRAINING SESSION IN PROGRESS

11. MESSI TRAINING

12. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) FC BARCA COACH, RONALD KOEMAN, SAYING:

"Like any team and coach, when you make mistakes you want to improve. But neither they nor we will be lacking in motivation. The players have experience playing at a high level. I don't expect a vulnerable Madrid, I expect the contrary from Madrid."

13. JOURNALIST ASKING QUESTION DURING NEWS CONFERENCE

14. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) FC BARCA COACH, RONALD KOEMAN, SAYING:

"I don't think it is a team that will arrive with a low morale, I think they are a great team with players with a lot of experience who know how to deal with the pressure and who know better than anyone that the game must be won."

15. JOURNALIST ASKING QUESTION DURING NEWS CONFERENCE

16. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) FC BARCA COACH, RONALD KOEMAN, SAYING (REGARDING INTERVIEW PIQUE GAVE DAY BEFORE MATCH):

"He (Gerard Pique) will be in tomorrow's match and he will play well. He has experience as a player and as a captain, and he has been in Barca for many more years than I have. So he has his opinion and I respect everyone's opinion. The most important thing is that the player is committed to the game, and he is, regardless of the interview."

17. TRAINING SESSION IN PROGRESS

STORY: Barca's coach Ronald Koeman said on Friday (October 23) he expected a strong rival and "not a vulnerable Real Madrid" ahead of El Clasico showdown on Saturday (October 24).

"The players have experience playing at a high level. I don't expect a vulnerable Madrid, I expect the contrary from Madrid," Koeman told reporters at a news conference.

The Dutchman also commented on Barcelona defender Gerard Pique who, in an interview with La Vanguardia newspaper, torn into the club over their handling of the Lionel Messi contract situation, which resulted in the forward attempting to leave in the close-season.

The criticism comes on the eve of the first Clasico against Real Madrid this season and two days after 33-year-old Pique signed a new three-year deal at Barca, with a vote of no confidence against the board also imminent.

"He has experience as a player and as a captain, and he has been in Barca for many more years than I have. So he has his opinion and I respect everyone's opinion," Koeman responded when asked about his captain.

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane confirmed that captain Sergio Ramos is set to return from injury when they take on rivals Barcelona.

Barcelona, meanwhile, have the returning Jordi Alba available for the game, but will be without long-term absentees Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Samuel Umtiti.

(Production: May Ponzo)