Former Barça centre-back Andoni Goikoetxea has been sharing some thoughts ahead of tonight’s crucial Champions League final, with the Basque recognising the great possibility his former club has to make history this evening.
“It’s a final. Manchester United will be much better prepared than they were in the last one which they eventually lost, and we will see the wear of the two teams, especially by Barcelona after a difficult year with many games. They will make one last effort and I think they will have their options and can win, but it will not be easy,” said Goikoetxea, who was a member of the Cruyff dream team that won the club’s first European Cup at Wembley in 1992.
Recalling that now famous night in London, the former Spain international recalled how there was “so much more pressure” on his team to bring the trophy home in order to place Barça’s name amongst those of the European elite. “We had to win because the club needed the European Cup. We had 100 years of history without obtaining it and we had just lost in Seville. Now the club is winning many titles and can recover if they lose on Saturday, although it would still hurt.”
“I remember the title of 1992 with much joy, to be part of the first European Cup and go down in history after losing it in Seville when we had all the conditions for winning, was an outstanding motivation, and to be a participant makes you dream.”
Asked about Jose Mourinho’s recent comments that he would be “ashamed to win the Champions League” if he were the Barça manager, Goikoetxea refused to be drawn although he did say “Mourinho is getting a little crazy about these things, but the club is not going to rise to that. They know that today they are superior to Real Madrid and will not enter into such things, regardless of whether or not there may have been some debatable decisions.”
“Madrid and Barça can never complain about decisions, because they have less to complain about than other teams and in this case Mourinho is just trying to take a leading role in someone else’s story.”
Comparing this current Barça side with the amazing team that he was a part of Goikoetxea recognized the advancements the club has made, although he express his pride at what the class of ’92 achieved. “Football has changed a lot. It’s a lot quicker now. We played in a very attractive way, very beautiful to see, like the team is doing now, but they now squeeze the ball more. We only considered our game, we did not worry much about the opposition. We were not like they are now when it comes to defending,” said the former Barça defender, adding that this team is “better prepared in all respects” and they “work more when they do not have the ball.“