Football

Barca braced for cup El Clásico

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This may be the eighth time both Barcelona and Real Madrid have met in just 13 months, but anticipation is as great as ever ahead of the Copa del Rey quarter-final first leg in the capital tomorrow night.

Dubbed the two greatest teams in world football in many quarters, Jose Mourinho will lock horns once more with his old nemesis Pep Guardiola in a star studded fixture.

Barcelona have enjoyed the success over their hosts so far this season, registering wins in both the two-legged Spanish Super Cup on the eve of the La Liga season and at the Bernabeu in the league in December.

Goals from Alexis Sanchez, Xavi and Cesc Fabregas won the day that night in Madrid, and Barca are as confident of wins on the road as they are when they appear at Camp Nou.

Brazilian right-back Daniel Alves spoke of his team's joy when playing their old foes.

"We really enjoy playing against Real Madrid," said the defender.

"There is always a certain balance between the two teams when we meet, regardless of the form in previous weeks."

Historically the cup fixture is even, as Alves suggests, with Barcelona managing 9 victories over Real Madrid's 8 in the last 17 Copa del Rey meetings.

The game is just an irresistible prospect for the footballing public, and the world will be tuning in to the mother of all football derbies again tomorrow evening.

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