FC Barcelona fullback Jordi Alba(23), on Thursday, unveiled his new Adidas boots and in the accompanying press conference shared his opinion on Wednesday’s Clàsico, the conduct of the players and referees during and after the game and the upcoming match against his former club, Valencia CF. The left back also reiterated his belief that the league is not decided yet, giving a special mention to Atlético Madrid’s form. Excerpts from the interview are after the break.
When asked about the result of the Copa del Rey tie against Real Madrid, Alba answered “I think overall we played a great game, both in the first half and the second. There was a moment when Barcelona had complete possession and we dominated. It is true that they can hit you hard on the counter, either through a mistake of our own or a loss of possession, but I feel that we played a great game and deserved more.”
“The team was frustrated because of the many opportunities we had. Although Real Madrid had their moments, I feel that there were phases in the game where we were superior to them. In the end, I feel we could have scored more goals and entered the second leg with less pressure. But there is the home leg, a game of 90 minutes where anything can happen. If we can do things right on our pitch, in front of our people, I am sure we can go through. Let us hope that we will.”
The defender was then asked if he still had the bruises from Essien’s tackle, to which he answered “Yes, I still have them but I won’t show it! It is true that it was a harsh challenge. I don’t know if it was intentional or not, but it should have at least been marked as a foul. The referee was on the side, as was the linesman, but I don’t think the referee even whistled for it. But in the end, it is their decision on the pitch and there is no point in replaying the events.”
When reporters inquired about any potential rift with Xabi Alonso and Arbeloa, he was quick to dismiss it, saying “No, it was a heated moment and in the end it is over, it doesn’t go beyond the pitch. Everyone has their way of playing and I have said it before that I am the kind of player who gets angry quickly and then cools down just as fast. It happens in the game. It is the tension, the hunger to win, but they are my teammates in the national team and we get along well. Everyone defends their club when they go head to head.”
Alba was then asked about the allegations against Messi regarding his argument with Arbeloa and Real Madrid assistant coach Karanka. When asked if he witnessed the event, he answered, “No, I didn’t see anything.” The reporters then asked him about Messi’s demeanor following the game, for which he replied, “He was like everyone else, frustrated, but I didn’t see him arguing with anyone in the parking lot.”
The attention shifted to the League. Alba commented “It is clear that there is a huge point gap but we don’t think the league is won yet. I think that everyone is always talking solely about Real Madrid and Barcelona but Atlético Madrid is having a great season. Not much is said about them, there should be more attention given to teams like Atlético Madrid.
When asked how his return to Barcelona this season felt, he answered “It is a dream for me to return here. When I left Barcelona’s ‘cantera’ I didn’t think I would ever come back to the first team and as a fullback to boot. I am going through a good patch and I hope to spend many years here and continue with this form.
Finally, Alba was asked about the game on Sunday, which will see him return to Mestalla to take on his former club Valencia. He responded “We have to give it our all. They were the club that gave me an opportunity to debut in the league. Even though I left Barcelona’s academy for Cornellà, I thank Valencia for helping me be the player that I am today and helping me secure a spot in the national team. He concluded “I am grateful and I would like to see the fans after spending many years with them.”
Image Credit: Miguel Ruiz/fcbarcelona.cat