Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos said it would not show a lack of respect if his team do not offer Barcelona a guard of honour should they be crowned La Liga champions before the Clasico at the Camp Nou next month.
The pasillo, two lines of players welcoming the champions onto the pitch, is a custom in Spain but it is not mandatory. Barca decided against making the gesture when Madrid were returning as Club World Cup winners in the teams’ meeting at the Bernabeu in December.
Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said last weekend that “Barca have broken the tradition” so his team would be following their example should Barca’s first game as La Liga champions be Madrid’s visit to the Camp Nou on May 6.
And, speaking after the 1-1 draw against Atletico Madrid on Sunday, Ramos said too much has been made of the pasillo.
“The pasillo is done sometimes and sometimes not,” Ramos said. “But it has nothing to do with respect. … I doubt Barca [players] are too worried whether we do it or not.”
After a poor first six months of the domestic season, Madrid’s focus is now mostly on the Champions League, with the second leg of the quarterfinal against Juventus at home on Wednesday.
Zidane withdrew Cristiano Ronaldo with just an hour played on Sunday, and Ramos said it was important that his teammate was allowed to rest given his importance to the team.
Ronaldo, who scored the opening goal in the 53rd minute of the Madrid derbi, has scored in each of his last 10 games in all competitions with 20 goals in total.
“We have to look after Cristiano,” Ramos said. “We have a lot on the line in these coming games, and we are getting great results thanks to him.”
Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan