Cristiano Ronaldo Wants Lionel Messi and Barcelona to Give Him Guard of Honor

Cristiano Ronaldo will step out of the Santiago Bernabeu tunnel on Saturday (December 23) for his 27th El Clasico against Barcelona. As Ronaldo leads the European and La Liga champions out onto the pitch, he will be greeted by the faces of Andres Iniesta, Gerard Pique, Lionel Messi and the rest of the Barcelona players. Lined up in a guard of honor, his arch rivals will be applauding their achievements over the past year—or that's what he's hoping for, anyway.

Ronaldo has revealed his dreams for the visit of Ernesto Valverde's Barcelona on Saturday, and it has nothing to do with the performance or result. Having won La Liga and a second successive Champions League title, Ronaldo has been left pining for some respect shown before the match on Saturday.

"It would be nice and I would like Barcelona to give us a guard of honor," he said, as quoted by Spanish newspaper Marca. "I hope we win that game too so that the league is still alive for Real Madrid.

"We have to enjoy every moment because we don't know what will happen in the future."

And with Barcelona leading the Liga table by six points and already 11 points ahead of Real Madrid, which has dropped to fourth, the period of dominant success is drifting. Real's dip in form has coincided with Ronaldo failing to meet his usual standards.

Ronaldo and Messi
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi shirts at the Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain, August 16. Ronaldo wants a guard of honor from Messi and Barcelona. Denis Doyle/Getty

Although the Portuguese forward has scored 20 goals in 25 appearances so far this season, only four of those have come in La Liga. In the Champions League, Ronaldo became the first player to ever score in every group game this season, helping Real advance to the knockout stages where they will face Paris Saint-Germain.

"I'm having a great season," Ronaldo added. "Real Madrid had never won five titles in a year and we wanted it, it's a record."

Ronaldo and Real will be keen on enjoying the success while it lasts, for defeat on Saturday would see them fall 14 points behind Barcelona and potentially drop out of the top-four in La Liga. The worry for Real will be that Barcelona have enjoyed traveling to the Bernabeu more than Real have enjoyed hosting.

Over the past five seasons, it has been the Catalans who have come out on top most in this fixture, winning four of the six Liga matches at the Bernabeu. Last season provided the most dramatic finish to a Clasico with Lionel Messi delivering the winner in injury time. The year before, Barca's 4-0 demolition of Real in their own home saw the beginning of the end for Rafael Benitez's tenure. It was also the only time in the past six seasons that one of the teams failed to score, stretching across 22 games.