Deco has stoked the fires ahead of Barcelona’s eagerly-awaited visit to Real Madrid, by claiming that his Barca team are a match for Real in every department.

Asked by Barca TV which areas Madrid were superior to his team, Deco replied: “The truth is that there is no area. We have as many great players as them and, perhaps, our squad is more evenly balanced than theirs.

“They have great players that can turn a game at any moment, but I cannot think of any are where they are stronger than us.

“I think that we are better as a team [than Madrid]. We have superb players here and we are more united, which makes our chance of winning greater.

“You can play in many, many games, but you never forget games like this,” he continued. “When you look back on your career of 15 or 20 years, it is these games that will stay in your memory.

“I think that we are in our best form, but we must not forget that we went into the game last season in good shape and lost. Real Madrid have great players and they are playing at home in front of their own fans.

“So we will have to go out and play the game of our lives and if we do, then I am sure we will win.

“I think we can pick up all the points. We just have to play the way we know and do everything right.

“We are playing very well at the moment, just like we were at the start of the season, but we needed to put a few things right which we have.

“I think that the league will be harder to win this season than it was last year and I think that the eventual winner will decided nearer the end of the season this time and we have to be sure that it is us who prevails.

“I think that there will be a lot of goals. I would like it if we do not concede any and score three or four.”

Subscribe to World Soccer – The essential football magazine