Zidane hopes Messi stays at Barça as El Clasico looms

Madrid, Apr 9 (EFE).- Zinedine Zidane said Friday that he hopes Lionel Messi stays at Barcelona for the rest of his career, saying the Argentine star is good for the league.

Real Madrid are preparing to host their bitter rivals on Saturday in the latest edition of LaLiga’s flagship “El Clasico” clash.

“Let him stay at Barcelona, it’s good that he’s there and also for the Spanish league,” he said when asked if it would be the Argentine star’s last Clasico.

Messi’s contract expires at the end of the season, and his future at Camp Nou is in doubt.

He has gone six games without scoring or assisting against Real, but Zidane said he is under no illusions of the threat the superstar poses.

“We know the player that Lionel Messi is, he is not going to change, he can go without scoring goals which is who he is.

“But we are going to play against Barcelona, they are all very good. We are going to try to counter their strengths as always, because they have a lot of them. We will try to play a good game with the ball,” he said.

Zidane will once again be without Belgian winger Eden Hazard, who has struggled since his expensive transfer to the Spanish capital two seasons ago.

He has returned to training following the latest in a string of injuries that have meant he has rarely looked close to 100% fitness in a white shirt.

“There is always a recovery process but then how the player is feeling is very important. How he feels, in the end, is what will define if he is on the field,” Zidane said.

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