Barcelona and Real Madrid arrive at Camp Nou surrounded by heavy security

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Teams escorted to the ground after staying in same hotel after original date was postponed due to civil unrest

Dominic Hart

Dec 18, 2019

December 18, 2019

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El clasico on Wednesday night takes place at Barcelona's Camp Nou against the backdrop of high political tension in Spain.

Police were taking no chances with thousands of protesters expected to take to the area around the ground in support of Catalan independence.

Originally slated for October 26, Spain's most anticipated match was postponed due to civil unrest which included the jailing of nine Catalan separatist leaders.

Such was the friction, the Barcelona and Real Madrid coaches were escorted to the ground together to minimise the risk – having stayed at the same hotel on Tuesday night.

Real coach, Zinedine Zidane, however, says he was not overly concerned. "I am not worried about anything," Zidane said in a press conference.

"I am happy we are about to play a clasico. It was the same when I was a player; these are the matches you live for, and you are focused only on what happens on the field."

A large-scale security operation will be deployed around the match involving 3,000 personnel.

Authorities have promised the game will go ahead and Democratic Tsunami, which says 25,000 people will attend the protest, say they do not want to disrupt the match and only wish to call for dialogue between the Spanish and Catalan authorities.

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Heavy security for el clasico

Real Madrid team bus is escorted by security in Barcelona on Wednesday ahead of the el clasico clash. Getty Images

A graffiti reading "Independence" outside the Camp Nou. Thousands of Catalan separatists are planning to protest around and inside the Camp Nou during Wednesday's match against Real Madrid. AP

Karim Benzema of Real Madrid at the team hotel ahead of the el clasico on Wednesday. Getty Images

Thibaut Courtois of Real Madrid at the team hotel ahead of the match against Barcelona. Getty Images

Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez at the the Camp Nou. EPA

Barcelona's Antoine Griezzmann, centre, at the Camp Nou on Wednesday. EPA

Barcelona team bus at the Camp Nou ahead of the el clasico on Wednesday. AP

Barcelona team bus drives past security at the Camp Nou. AFP

Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde and Ansu Fati at the Camp Nou. EPA

Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde and Gerard Pique at the Camp Nou. EPA

Sergio Ramos of Real Madrid at the team hotel ahead of the el clasico on Wednesday. Getty Images

Gareth Bale at the team hotel ahead of the match against Barcelona. Getty Images

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Updated: December 18, 2019 06:26 PM

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