Barcelona superstar Rafinha, who was included in the team in place of injured Messi, believes that the club’s win against his former club Inter has given them a confidence boost ahead of the Clasico.
Football news: Barcelona is going to face Real Madrid on Sunday for the first Clasico of the season
Current leaders of La Liga, Barcelona will host Real Madrid for the first Clasico of the season at Camp Nou on Sunday. It is going to be a do-or-die match for the coach of the visiting team, Julen Lopetegui, who is on the verge of getting sacked.
Ahead of the all-important Clasico, Barca warmed up with a 2-0 win against Inter in the Group B of the Champions League. Rafinha, who came in the place of injured captain Messi, scored the opener while Jordi Alba sealed off the victory.
The scoreline reflected Barca’s dominance in the entire game with their main man upfront. While Messi will still remain unavailable for the Clasico, Rafinha believes his team is in good shape.
"I was absolutely thrilled to be picked in the starting XI," Rafinha said to Movistar.
"But also for the win, for the goal and for the intense motivation a night like this gives me.
"We did very well against a team we knew would cause us difficulties all night. To win like this, Barca had to produce very good football.
"This result is a great confidence boost for all of us and when Sunday brings the Clasico we'll be so up for it.
"We are very happy for the match, against a team that was going to make things very difficult for us, we played very well.
"The Champions League is special for us, although the other competitions are also very important."
It has been an open start to the Primera Division season as Barca sit atop the league table with surprise challengers Espanyol and Alaves with just one point behind.
The Merengue are currently at seventh position, with four points behind their arch-rivals, and they know that a defeat at Camp Nou will not be acceptable as that would potentially end the title race for them.