Zinedine Zidane will be a confident man when Real Madrid play Barcelona at the Camp Nou in the El Clasico on Saturday. While Barca continue to struggle for form, Zidane's Real Madrid team are going from strength to strength, after extending their unbeaten run to 32 matches on Wednesday.
While Barcelona were held by Segunda B side Hercules in the Copa Del Rey, Real Madrid showed their ruthlessness, dispatching Cultural Leonesa, another outfit from the same division, 13-2 on aggregate.
Real Madrid's youngsters came to the fore, beating Cultural Leonesa 6-1, with one of the scorers in the game being Zidane's son Enzo.
While Real's future looks bright, what will be in focus on Saturday is the present, as Cristiano Ronaldo and the rest of the team look to trump Barcelona in their own backyard. Barca have had the better of the El Clasico exchanges in recent times, but Real Madrid will come into the match as the team in much better form.
Real Madrid currently lead second-placed Barcelona by six points. So, while this El Clasico is too early to be decisive in the title race, if Real can extend their lead to their greatest rivals to nine points, it could be a big blow to Barca's hopes of defending their La Liga title.
"We're not thinking about the consequences of the result, only about preparing well for the game," Zidane said after watching his side thump Cultural Leonesa. "Whatever happens, it won't be decisive. It won't be decisive, not at all.
"It's a good match against a great opponent who will certainly make it difficult for us and that's all there is to it. We have to be ready. Now we need to rest up and we'll start our preparations."
One of the biggest subplots of any El Clasico is the Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo battle. The two best players in the world will want to be the ones to decide the outcome of this match, and Zidane is backing his Real Madrid superstar to lead his team to victory.
"They're two exceptional players, each in their own way," Zidane said when asked about Messi and Ronaldo. "Cristiano is doing exceptional, incredible things, I hope he carries on like this.
"We'll see what he's capable of on Saturday. I don't think there's a debate between them because I'm very happy with Cristiano."