With a winner-takes-all scenario in the upcoming Copa Del Rey final between Real Madrid and Barcelona, Madrid skipper Iker Casillas is under no illusions about the importance of the game.
He claimed it was vital for Madrid to defeat Barcelona in the final after practically surrendering their title hopes with a 1-1 draw in the recent El Clasicos on Saturday. It left the Los Blancos eight points behind leaders Barca, and with just six games remaining, it will require a plummeting of magnanimous proportions from Barca if Madrid are to win it.
With Barca already having one hand on the league title, the pressure is on Madrid to take the other prize Spain has to offer - the Copa Del Rey. Though Madrid fans would otherswise have preferred the league title, the sheer factor that it is a final against traditional rivals Barcelona makes it an obsession for them.
A win could also give Madrid the necessary boost to perform in the two Champions League semifinal matches against Barcelona. Another reason why Madrid will be keen to take the title is that they have developed an unwanted record in the Copa del Rey - they haven't won the competition since 1993 when they defeat Real Zaragoza 2-0.
For Casillas, a win would represent a personal triumph as well. He has won every other honor on offer, including World Cup, Champions League and Euro triumphs.
The skipper told Madrid's official website, It is a very important trophy for Real Madrid and we cannot afford to not win it for 17 years. It will be even more important if we do win it. It is vital. I have not won it in the 11 years I have been here.
We believe it is time to win many trophies. We know it won't be easy. It will be a great match between the two best teams in Spain. Anything can happen, but we are excited about our chances. We hope we can win the cup.
We hope there are no problems on the pitch and that the only thing spoken about between players is football. We want there to be fair play and that no one provokes his adversary. Neither Real Madrid nor its fans will cause any problems. We have proven to be gentlemen on the pitch and that we respect our rivals.
We never act to have our opponent sent off. We also hope our fans respect others. Millions of people will be watching, so both fan bases need to be role models despite the rivalry.
Many people will be at the match with their kids, and they want to want to see a pretty match between their idols. We hope that's all it amounts to and that nothing unfortunate takes place.