IT IS BILLED at the biggest game in world club football, and Aitor Karanka admits it feels ‘different’ to not be involved in this weekend’s game between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Karanka was assistant coach to Jose Mourinho at the Bernabeu for three seasons, with tomorrow’s game the first to take place at Madrid’s home without either Mourinho or Karanka in the dugout.

Madrid lead La Liga by three points and could extend their advantage over Barca to seven points, with Atletico Madrid well-placed in second going into the final months of the season.

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And Karanka believes Real will go on to win the title if they are victorious tomorrow.

“It’s the best game in the world,” said the Middlesbrough manager. “If Real Madrid win it’s a bigger step to them winning La Liga.

“Atletico Madrid are having an amazing season, but if Real Madrid win on Sunday I think it could be definitely a step towards the title for them.”

Karanka will be taking in El Clasico from the comfort of his North-East home, after taking training at Rockliffe Park tomorrow, and is looking forward to the occasion.

“It’s different. It’s a different way to enjoy it,” said Karanka, who left Madrid in the summer after Jose Mourinho returned to England to manage Chelsea.

“I don’t know how many Clasicos I was part of in my three years at Madrid. I won Clasicos, I lost Clasicos, now it’s different.

“I enjoy them at home with friends, with beer, with dinner. This is a different way for me, but I’m always hoping that it’ll be a good game.”