Hotel Princesa Sofia in Barcelona where Barcelona and Madrid squads will take off for Camp Nou today

As part of measures to shield today’s El-Clasico from Catalan protesters, Barcelona and Real Madrid will travel to Camp Nou from the five-star Hotel Princesa Sofia in the Spanish city.

The fixture had to be postponed in October due to violent demonstrations and there are renewed fears of unrest breaking out around Camp Nou, where Barca and Madrid will tussle for top spot in La Liga.

The AFP reported that around 3,000 security personnel will be deployed at the stadium and both teams have been instructed to gather at the hotel at midday (1100 GMT) on Wednesday, eight hours before kick-off.

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The players, coaching staff and referees will then travel together to the ground around two hours ahead of the match.

It means Madrid will be in a different place to their usual base in the city while Barcelona will arrive earlier than normal for a home match.

“It is a small change, but not very significant. When we play away, we are also in a hotel. It is not a big problem,” said Barcelona’s coach Ernesto Valverde on Tuesday.

Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane described the arrangements as “something different but the rules are the rules”.

Barcelona also issued a statement on Tuesday night to fans planning to attend the game, advising supporters to use public transport, allow plenty of time and warning of “exhaustive security checks” at entrances to the stadium.

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Barca called for calm around the fixture, asking fans “to come to the game at Camp Nou on Wednesday to support the team”.

“The game between Barca and Real Madrid is a festival of football and yet it is without doubt also compatible with a civil and peaceful demonstration of opinion, given the exceptional circumstances faced in Catalonia in recent times,” the statement read.

Violent protests broke out in Catalonia in October after nine separatist leaders were sentenced to heavy prison sentences for their involvement in the independence referendum of 2017.

Reported by AFP