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Valverde: Clasico Will Not Decide La Liga

Valverde: Clasico Will Not Decide La Liga

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde has rejected suggestions next Saturday's Clasico away to Real Madrid could prove decisive in the race to win LaLiga.

Alcacer formed Barcelona's attack alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez on Sunday (17 December) as the La Liga leaders secured a comfortable 4-0 win Deportivo La Coruna thanks to braces from the Uruguay global and Paulinho.

However, he was forced off after just 20 minutes of the game gone at Camp Nou with a muscle injury and replaced by Aleix Vidal.

The forward suffered a leg problem and has been ruled out for three weeks, reducing Valverde's options before Sunday's Bernabeu trip.

"It's a setback for our plans".

After an impressive cameo off the bench at Villarreal last week, Alcacer was named in Ernesto Valverde's starting lineup for Barca's penultimate game of the year. "No team sews up the league in the first round of games".

And Messi, who missed out on this year's Ballon d'Or to Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo, is keen for Barcelona to go into the winter break on a high. We also can promote someone from the second team.

"But we're going into [the Clasico] happy".

Spanish and European champions Madrid have struggled in the first half of 2017-18 and sit fourth in the table, 11 points behind leaders Barca and five back from second-placed Atletico Madrid.

But Valverde talked down the significance of the eagerly anticipated clash.

"Today's game [against Deportivo] was an important one; the victory has a double boost as it gives us confidence ahead of a game like the Clásico".

"Clasico? It's always good to play a game against opponents who are behind you [in the table]", he said.

"I don't think a victory in El Clasico will be definitive".

"People mention the advantage we have over Real Madrid but they forget that Atletico are only six points behind us, " he said.

Messi, speaking at a gala where he collected the Pichichi and the Alfredo Di Stefano Trophy - to honour the top scorer in La Liga for 2016-17 and the player judged to be the best in the division by Spanish newspaper Marca respectively - also considered the prospect of his Argentina meeting Spain at next year's World Cup.

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