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La Liga aim to ensure Barcelona-Real Madrid Clasico influences title race

As Andres Iniesta prepares for his 38th and final El Clasico, take a look back at his impact on Spain's biggest derby.
Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu discusses his visit to Harvard University to explain what the club represents on and off the field.
Marcelo is confident Neymar will play for Real Madrid one day, regardless of whether Cristiano Ronaldo remains at the club.

La Liga president Javier Tebas has revealed the second Clasico of the 2018-19 campaign will be played earlier than it was last season in the hope of ensuring it has more significance in the title race.

Barcelona had already secured this season's crown with four games to spare before their 2-2 draw with Real Madrid on May 6 at the Camp Nou.

Los Blancos, meanwhile, went into that game looking ahead to the Champions League final against Liverpool, which they would go on to win.

"This coming season, the Clasico will be played sooner," Tebas told Onda Cero radio. "It wasn't ideal that it was played with nothing at stake."

One of the world's most-watched sporting events, the Clasico which saw Barcelona's 3-2 league win at the Bernabeu in April 2017 was aired in 185 countries and reached 650 million viewers. La Liga last month organised special events around the world to tie in with the top game in their calendar.

Instead of having implications on the championship, this season's last Clasico will be remembered for Madrid's decision not to form the "pasillo" -- a guard of honour -- to greet the league winners as they stepped onto the pitch.

The result at the Camp Nou did keep Barca's record 35-match unbeaten season in La Liga going.

However, Ernesto Valverde's men later lost their penultimate game, a 5-4 defeat at Levante for which Lionel Messi was controversially rested, to end their hopes of becoming the first team to finish La Liga season unbeaten since 1931-32, when Madrid did so over 18 games.

Adriana Garcia is a Valencia-based football writer who covers La Liga for ESPN FC.

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