Lionel Messi: 'More complicated' to face Real Madrid at Camp Nou

Barcelona captain Lionel Messi has said it is harder to face Real Madrid at the Camp Nou than at the Bernabeu.

Barca welcome Zinedine Zidane's side to Camp Nou on Wednesday for the first Clasico of the season with both sides level on points at the top of La Liga.

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Madrid have failed to win a Clasico game in Catalonia since 2016 but Messi said it is a tougher encounter to play against their bitter rivals at home.

"When we play at the Bernabeu, many more spaces are generated," he told Marca. "They attack us more because they have the obligation as the host team and people push them for that.

"At the Camp Nou they play another type of match, sitting a little further back, they are closer together and hit on the counter-attack because they have very fast players upfront. At the Bernabeu we play 90 minutes equally. Here the game becomes more locked and is more complicated."

Barca are unbeaten in the last eight Clasicos in all competitions but Messi has failed to score in the last four meetings.

Despite challenging for the title and securing qualification to the Champions League knockout stages, Madrid boss Zidane has faced criticism this season and Messi said that is the nature of representating a big club.

"It's surprising, but those of us who have been in [football] for a long time, and even more in big clubs, know that this is normal," he added.

"Zidane surely knew when he returned that the three Champions League trophies he had won no longer mattered and [the fans] were going to demand [in the same way] as they did on his first day. Coaches and players of the great teams know that we are continuously in the spotlight and living with this [pressure]."

The fixture was originally scheduled for Oct. 26 but was called off due to safety concerns following the imprisonment of nine Catalan politicians and civic leaders for their role in the region's unilateral independence referendum in 2017.

Madrid face an injury crisis ahead of the game with Eden Hazard and Marcelo set to miss out while Barca forward Ousmane Dembele will be unavailable.