Barcelona defender Adriano admits he is relieved that Mesut Ozil will not be involved in Saturday's Clasico clash with Real Madrid at Camp Nou.
Ozil impressed in recent fixtures between Spain's big two and the playmaker's understanding with Cristiano Ronaldo proved particularly problematic for the Catalan club over the last two seasons, but the German was surprisingly sold to Arsenal right at the end of the transfer window and will play no part this time around.
"It's a relief that Ozil is not at Real Madrid," Adriano told Goal in an exclusive interview. "He is a major loss, a player who has shown how important he is when he is on the pitch and when he isn't, he is missed. For us it is an advantage that Madrid no longer have him."
However, while Ozil is absent, Adriano is wary of the threat posed by Madrid's 100 million euro summer signing, Gareth Bale.
"Ozil is gone but they have also brought in a very good player (Bale). Gareth has impressed in the Premier League and he will gradually start to make his presence felt. But any Madrid player can decide a game."
And he added: "This Madrid side with [Carlo] Ancelotti and Bale is promising; people wanted to see that team and are excited to see how it will work out. But we have our own strengths and weaknesses and we will try to reach 100 percent and do our duty, which is to win the three points at home."
Barcelona currently leads La Liga with 25 points from a possible 27, with Atletico just one behind and Madrid three adrift ahead of the Clasico - and Adriano believes the Primera Division is now a 'three-team league'.
"I agree that it's a 'three-team league' because last year Atletico were strong and this year they have managed to win some big games. They also won the Copa del Rey at the end of last season, which was very difficult for them.
"Facing Atletico and Real Madrid now is the same - they are very difficult games with the same intensity and both are tough teams, so we will have to be very good to beat them."
- Sports & Recreation
- Real Madrid
- Gareth Bale
- Cristiano Ronaldo