There has been the traditional pre-game controversy, this time over whether or not Barca should give Madrid a guard of honour after Madrid won the World Club Championship in Abu Dhabi a week ago.
"He is fine, he's 100 percent", Zidane said.
Messi hammered in the second goal from the penalty spot 20 minutes later after Dani Carvajal was sent off for blocking a goal-bound header from Paulinho with his arm after Real Madrid were again easily picked apart on the counter attack. We'll enjoy the time we have with our families and come back.
"The second-half turned out differently to the first".
The veteran has scored just one goal this season but his creative passes and lovely touches have played an important part in Barcelona's undefeated season so far.
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"I don't think we are favourites, the league table has no influence on games like this because of the tension there always is", he said. "Bad", Zidane told reporters after the game.
Atletico play away to Espanyol on Friday night in what is their last game before forwards Diego Costa and Vitolo are able to be included in their squad in the January transfer window. "I'm not going to go into everything before the game tomorrow, that is not the issue".
However, despite the cushion his side have in the league, Valverde dismissed the suggestion the game would be nearly a free hit for Barca.
Cristiano Ronaldo had the ball in the back of the net after just two minutes, but the effort was rightly ruled out for offside after Casemiro's flick-on from Toni Kroos' corner. It's very tough for us to take, but it is what it is, it's football.
Paulinho's header was then kept out by the hand of defender Carvajal and referee Jose Maria Sanchez showed him a straight red.
Yet, the pace offered by Bale and Marco Asensio, who has scored in his last three matches against Barca, could prove decisive in the second-half. If Real are to have any chance, they must win. There's still a long way to go.