Madrid not going to give Barcelona guard of honor
ABS-CBN Sports on May 04, 2018 08:29 AM
Barcelona players on a bus celebrate during a street parade in Barcelona, Spain, Monday April 30, 2018, after winning the Spanish La Liga soccer title. Barcelona clinched the 2017/18 Spanish soccer league title after a 4-2 win at Deportivo La Coruna on Sunday. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
By Tales Azzoni, Associated Press
MADRID (AP) — Although it was OK to send out a tweet congratulating Barcelona for its recent titles, Real Madrid's players won't be lining up to honor their rivals at Camp Nou this weekend.
Barcelona and Madrid meet Sunday in the final "clasico" of the season with very little to play for in the Spanish league, so all the talk was about whether Madrid should give the Catalan club a guard of honor for winning the league title last weekend.
The guard of honor, or pasillo in Spanish, is seen as a show of respect as players line up outside the tunnel to congratulate their opponents as they enter the field.
It has happened in past "clasicos," but Madrid will not do it this time.
"We are not going to give them a pasillo," Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said recently. "It's my decision and that's it. I don't really understand this thing about the pasillo, so in the end it's not going to happen."
Zidane downplayed the guard of honor tradition, noting that Barcelona didn't do it for Madrid when it played at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium after his club won the Club World Cup in December. At the time, Barcelona said it wouldn't do it because the club only gives guards of honor when it plays in the same competition as the opponent.
Barcelona defender Jordi Alba said Barcelona would give one to Madrid in this particular situation.
"Barcelona has done it for Madrid in the past, even at the Bernabeu," Alba said. "But each team can make its own decision and it has to be respected."
The last guard of honor between the Spanish rivals happened in 2008 at the Bernabeu, when Madrid had mathematically won the league ahead of its home match against Barcelona.
Madrid did it for Barcelona at the Bernabeu in 1991, when most of the local fans jeered as the rival players entered the field. Three years earlier, Barcelona had given the guard of honor to league champions Madrid at the Camp Nou.
Madrid captain Sergio Ramos said the players would follow Zidane's decision.
"We are giving too much attention to the pasillo," Ramos said this week. "They have the title, which is what they wanted. The pasillo doesn't mean anything to them or to us. We've said that it's not going to happen and it's not going to happen. That's it."