Real Madrid arrogant if they don't applaud 'mythical' Messi – Stoichkov

The Bulgarian legend, who spent two spells at Camp Nou in the 1990s, cannot see why Blancos fans would not honour Barca’s No.10 on Saturday should he score

Barcelona legend Hristo Stoichkov believes Real Madrid fans who do not applaud “mythical” Lionel Messi should he score in the Clasico are “arrogant”.

Messi can go level with La Liga’s top goalscorer of all-time, Telmo Zarra, with a single strike at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday and would go outright top of the record books with a double.

Having scored a hat-trick in the fixture last season, there are high hopes from Camp Nou followers that he can make history on their arch-rivals’ turf and much of the pre-match talk has surrounded whether there should be a tribute to the player should he achieve the feat in the capital.

And Stoichkov is adamant madridistas should respect four-time Ballon d’Or winner.

“Why would Madrid fans not tribute Leo?” he said to AS. “They do applaud Barca players, remember Ronaldinho scored in the Clasico and some clapped him.

“Messi is mythical, it would be arrogant not to applaud a myth. That would just show you cannot see beyond the football team you play for.

“Likewise, I believe that Camp Nou would applaud Cristiano Ronaldo.”

Regarding who will come out on top between the Spanish giants, the Bulgarian suggests that the players who avoid cracking under pressure will prevail at the Santiago Bernabeu

“Barcelona are not as rampant as Madrid at the moment,” Stoichkov added. “Madrid are scoring a lot. But they are under pressure and will go seven points behind if they lose to Barca.

“It will be a close game and whoever has less nerves will be the winner.”

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