Sergio Ramos has rejected the notion that Real Madrid's decision to deny Barcelona a guard of honour shows a lack of respect to LaLiga's champions in waiting.
With seven matches remaining, Barça enjoy an 11-point lead over Atlético Madrid and are surely set to reclaim the title won by Zinedine Zidane's side last season.
No guard of honour "doesn't mean we don't respect Barcelona"
Last week, Zidane confirmed Madrid would not give the Catalan giants a guard of honour when the Clásico rivals meet at the Camp Nou in early May, even if Ernesto Valverde's men have been confirmed as champions by that stage.
In response, Barça centre-back Gerard Piqué sarcastically remarked that he would lose sleep over the matter, and his international team-mate Ramos believes the issue has been blown out of proportion.
"Not performing a guard of honour doesn't mean we don't respect Barcelona," he said after Sunday's 1-1 draw with Atlético at the Santiago Bernabéu. "I've always said that we'll do what the coach tells us to.
Un buen partido del equipo en el que merecimos más. TODOS centrados ya en la @ChampionsLeague.— Sergio Ramos (@SergioRamos) April 8, 2018
A good performance by the team that deserved more. EVERYONE focused now on the #ChampionsLeague.#HalaMadrid pic.twitter.com/U5vgyFEb5Z
"If the boss has said no then we have to respect him"
"People put too much value on the guard of honour," Ramos said. "If the boss has said no then we have to respect him."
Zidane will feel he has more pressing matters at hand, such as guarding against complacency as Madrid protect a 3-0 lead heading into Wednesday's Champions League quarter-final second leg at home to Juventus.
"Everybody thinks we've won and that's what we don't want to think about," he said. "Everybody is saying we are going to win, but we're going to suffer a lot. We have to do everything to qualify and be focused on what we have to do."