Ahead of Saturday’s game against FC Barcelona, Osasuna goalkeeper Ricardo has revealed how excited he is to be facing the league leaders, with the 38 year old shot-stopper expressing his respect for the Catalan giants whilst at the same time issuing a stern warning to the league leaders that his team are up for the tough challenge that awaits them.
Speaking to Osasuna’s official club website, Ricardo said, “I am really looking forward to playing in this game against the best team in the world. It’s an honor to be in the selection. This game is one that at the start of the season was marked with an x in red in the calendar.”
Asked if he felt intimidated or worried about how he would perform against a Barca team that scored 28 goals in the month of November, the former Atletico Madrid and Manchester United keeper said, “In football I never get scared. In these critical situations a human being really grows. It is an incentive; the stadium will be full, people will be with me and my companions always support me.”
“Last year we played a good game (at home against Barca) and it’s necessary to try to copy that a little. To play the game with a lot of concentration, to have the ball and to maintain it for long spells, it is very possible. Besides that we have some secrets that we do not want to tell them.”
But it was not only the upcoming game that the one time Spain international reflected on, he also had some words about what he saw in Barca’s last game, their 5-0 drubbing of Real Madrid. “Each clasico is historic. They have scored five there because the game can go like that; they score, you open up and with the quality of players they have they can damage you, and that’s whats happened. The important thing is not to let them score too soon. To try and stop them.”
“Barcelona heads into each game to win; that is demanded of them. They will come with all they’ve got. But The Reyno (Osasuna’s stadium) is a difficult field, but Barca do not come away to make concessions. They do not want to loss any points, because they are fighting for the title with Real Madrid. The team that drops less points takes the title and in this type of game is where the leagues is won or lost.”
The experienced keeper has been a constant figure for Osasuna so far this season, featuring in all of their league games; conceding 14 goals and keeping 4 clean sheets in the process.
Although Barca will go into Saturday’s game full of confidence, it seems Osasuna’s morale should be pretty healthy itself with the team currently unbeaten at home in the league and the news this week that club captain, Patxi Punal, has signed a new contract to stay with the Pamplona club until June 2012.
All things point to an intriguing and exciting game.