Gary Lineker
Gary Lineker hopes Barcelona will beat Real Madrid Reuters

Gary Lineker has given his verdicts ahead of Barcelona and Real Madrid's El Clasico on 22 March, claiming Lionel Messi is better than former Manchester United legend Cristiano Rolando, while he hopes ex-Liverpool star Luis Suarez scores a hat-trick.

Following their impressive Champions League victory over Manchester City on 18 March, the Catalans will host manager Carlo Ancelotti's side as the leaders of La Liga, one point above Los Blancos with 11 games remaining.

During an interview with Catalan radio show la Graderia, Lineker predicted Barcelona will clinch three points.

"Barça look better than Real Madrid right now... Madrid are on a poor run of form and Cristiano is struggling in front of goal... in my opinion Barça are favourites," he said.

"Barça are playing much better than last season, they've tweaked their game a bit... and I think they're going to win the league and are one of the favourites to lift the Champions League."

The former Tottenham Hotspur star had two successful seasons at the Camp Nou, scoring 43 goals in 103 appearances for the Catalans, including an unforgettable hat-trick in a 3-2 victory against Real Madrid.

Lineker hopes Suarez can replicate that performance. The Match Of The Day presenter said: "He should score a hat-trick against Real Madrid. But also he has to enjoy these types of games. They're the most important ones they'll ever play in their careers.

"I'll never forget the night I scored a hat-trick against Madrid... I have great memories of the Camp Nou, but not as many of the Bernabéu."

Meanwhile, when asked who between Messi and Ronaldo was the best player in the world, Lineker had no doubt. He said: "Messi is just amazing, the best player I've ever seen.

"What he does out on the pitch and the goals he scores are just incredible. Leo's form dipped last season with regards to previous campaigns, maybe due to his injuries and problems off the pitch... but he's back to his best this season, quick, like the old Messi.

"Both are maybe the best players of all times. It's a shame that Messi and Cristiano have to play in the same era... but Messi is better, he's a genius and that's the difference. He also plays more for the team than Cristiano does. Playing alongside Messi and under Pep Guardiola would have been a dream come true."

Meanwhile, asked whether Messi would be welcome in the Premier League, he said: "I can't see Messi playing in the Premier League. But he could play anywhere, because wherever he plays, he's hugely successful."