Cape Town - Barcelona director Andoni Zubizarreta believes Real Madrid's supporters would give Lionel Messi the recognition he deserves should the Argentine make La Liga history in the upcoming El Clasico.
The four-time World Footballer of the Year is just two goals away from equaling Telmo Zarra's record of 251 Primera Liga strikes and will face Eibar this weekend before traveling to bitter rivals Madrid at the end of October.
That means, theoretically, Messi could set a new Spanish top-flight record at the Santiago Bernabeu, and Zubizarreta feels the Galacticos fans would have little problem applauding such an accomplishment, even if it meant he scored against their team.
"It's something more to do with sports like American football and basketball, it sounds odd in football. But he (Messi) deserves recognition. I'll settle for a goal against Eibar and Madrid and that we win," he told AS.
"We've seen the Bernabeu applaud Barca players in the past, and vice-versa," added Zubizarreta in reference to the standing ovation Ronaldinho enjoyed following his sublime performance in a 3-0 win over Madrid while playing for Barca in 2003.
Messi missed a penalty for Argentina against Brazil at the weekend, leading to suggestions the pressure of approaching the Spanish goals record could be getting to him, but Zubizarreta has dismissed any such claims.
"I don't think penalty misses affect him. He scored two at the Bernabeu last year. He'd prefer to score to help the team, but I know that Beijing pitch from pre-season and it's not good," he said. "It will spur him on to do better.
"Players evolve and Leo isn't just a goal-scorer. He understands the game, he is involved in more phases of play. Goals will always be there but that won't be all.
"Leo plays more inside and Neymar goes into space and that can unsettle teams, but also there are others like Pedro and Munir El Haddadi.
"Our rivals will analyse us and we're always changing - the top teams always do. Last year was difficult for them both with injuries. Now there is more consistency."