After medical tests carried out, Real Madrid’s medical services have announced that Cristiano Ronaldo has a muscular injury to his left hamstring. In official statment there is no information about estimated time of recovery, only the phrase that the club is “awaiting developments.” It’s still unclear if player will be able to play against FC Barcelona in Copa del Rey final, scheduled for next Wednesday, April 16, 2014.
FC Barcelona’s Gerardo Martino spoke on the eve of Champions League quarter-final clash with Atlético Madrid that will be played in Madrid tonight. Speaking about the team’s chance to qualify for the semi-finals, Martino underlined, “I don’t like to predict what the result might be. What we need to do is to play better than Atlético and to win the game. These teams know each other very well, and they play with completely different styles. All I know is that Barcelona haven’t gone ahead in any of the meetings this season.” Asked about possible tactical approaches, the manager said, ”we need to see if we can do that and to try to control the match. Atlético are not the type of team who will allow us to control the game for the entire 90 minutes, but we’ll try to do that as it is how we like to play.” He also strongly stated that Barça’s objective is very clear, “is to qualify for the semi-finals in 90 minutes. The prize is progressing to the semi-finals of the Champions League.”
FC Barcelona midfielder Andrés Iniesta in an interview with Sport published today shared his opinion about tomorrow’s game against Atlético Madrid, as well as thoughts on La Masia and his 500th game in the blaugrana jersey. “The road to semifinals leads through a perfect match. We know that we will play against a very tough opponent, we experienced it in every game we played against them. We have to score a goal and be very concentrated,” said Iniesta. He also underlined that team “comes with the confidence to play a great game , to win the tie and with the hope of qualifying to the semifinals. We know it will be difficult, but the team is able to do so.”
After a spectacular game at the Camp Nou last night, FC Barcelona managed only to draw the match. According to Xavi Hernández, “The tie is wide open. We have to try to score goals there and that will lead us to victory… The result isn’t good for us but Barça played well enough to win. We had more goal scoring chances but they are well organised in defence and they don’t leave any space.” Speaking about the return leg (Wednesday 9 April at 8:45 PM CET), Xavi underlined that Barça will “have to be very patient” because Atlético “are an intense team and it was very difficult for us to find space in the first half. In the second half, we had three or four good chances. Unfortunately, they scored a great goal.”
Andrés Iniesta, who entertained us with pure magic on the pitch, stated, “The game was very intense. From start to finish there has been high pace.” Iniesta agreed that such a performance was “a game worthy of a quarter-final” and we saw “a very strong Atlético” but stressed that “the tie is still open.” Andrés expects that the return leg will be “a similar game. That is good, to compete and face these challenges.”
Continue reading for the post-match statements made by Marc Bartra, Neymar Jr. and José Manuel Pinto.
FC Barcelona striker Lionel Messi chatted briefly with the press following the 2-1 victory over Manchester City in the UEFA Champions Leauge . He underlined“how the team played and the impression the team left” and that “we are once again the Barça we want to be.” He also noted that team’s performance “has nothing to do with the matches we didn’t win. We are always the first to self-criticize and we known that we didn’t do the things we were supposed to do. La Liga isn’t lost because there’s still a lot left. We know when we do things well or poorly.” Words from Xavi Hernández and Dani Alves below.
After almost two years of nagging pain in his left knee, FC Barcelona forward player Isaac Cuenca (22) underwent surgery on May 31, 2012. He was then loaned to Ajax Amsterdam and played some minutes in early 2013. Now, in the last third of the current season, despite new problems including a torn hamstring, Cuenca believes that he is a completely new player. The forward who debuted in the dream team of Pep Guardiola is ready to prove that he has the talent and the capacity to join the first team. He recently spoke with Barcelona based daily Sport to share his dream of rebuilding his football career. We present a translation of this interesting interview after the jump.
FC Barcelona’s aspiring defender Marc Bartra sat for an interview with Catalan daily Ara, in which he underlined that despite poor results in last few weeks, the team works hard and is very concentrated. “I wish you could see the intensity of our training session, it’s spectacular, you can’t compare.” Speaking about the current squad and team rotation, Bartra underlined that “this season, with Martino we are 20 players with possibility of being in starting 11, you can’t acomodate everyone, we all 20 are in the game. There are games when I sit and wait on the bench in otheres I’m in starting 11, and we don’t know that until final hour before game.”
Before the match against Real Sociedad, FC Barcelona striker Alexis Sánchez (25) spoke in an exclusive interview with fcbarcelona.com. He talked about a whole range of topics ranging from his role in the team to competition with Pedro Rodríguez. Asked about his promises to “explode” this season, the Chilean underlined, “I never said I was on the point of ‘exploding’ or that I would ‘explode’, I said I’d do the best I can. Every game I play I’m disappointed because sometimes I feel I can give more than I do on the field and it leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.” He also shared his wonderful memories saying that one goal against Real Madrid was more exciting than that hat-trick against Elche. “It’s a clásico. Every boy aged five dreams of playing in that match and scoring the winner with the whole stadium cheering you. It was very special.” Read on for the video and full interview transcript.
Bojan Krkić (23), currently playing for AFC Ajax on loan from FC Barcelona, spoke recently about the Catalan team’s current situation. “Five days ago, Barça were elated over their win against Manchester City. The ups and downs are always there.” he said. Asked about his professional plans, Bojan said that it’s not the right time to think about it, when there are still a great deal of games remaining in the season. “We will see about my future. There are two months left of the season and then I will make my decisions.”
FC Barcelona defender Gerard Piqué spoke ahead of tonight’s globally anticipated UEFA Champions League (UCL) game against Manchester City. He recalled fond memories of that English city saying, “Manchester is special for me. I was just a kid that came here to earn a living. I came here when I was 17 and I came to live football. I would have liked to play more and been an important part of the team. I learned a lot here and I always say that after Barcelona, my second team is Manchester United because they treated me so well.”
Asked about the level of opposition at this part of the UCL season, the Catalan player agreed that, “Historically the knock out round has been difficult for us. Last year we lost 2-0 to Milan, I don’t think you can explain why we struggle in the first rounds every year.” He speculated, “It could be because there is a lot of time between the stages and it takes awhile to get back into it.” But even hardships can be useful for the team. “We must learn from our personal experience and do well here because they will be unforgiving” underlined Piqué. Much more after the jump.
Speaking at the press conference following the 1-1 draw in San Sebastian, FC Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino praised his team that “completed its objective.” He said that “there are three objectives this season and we fulfilled one of them today. We completed our objective. These players always play in finals.” Answering questions about the result against Real Sociedad, the blaugrana coach underlined that in general terms the team played “a good match.”
Later he added that he is aware of some mistakes saying that “we can still play better, we still have time to improve – we can do it for more than 50 or 70 minutes.” Asked what exactly was missing during the match he simply stated that “we could have scored more goals.” Speaking about final of the Copa del Rey against Real Madrid Martino stated that knowing what rival awaits Barcelona in the final “we had the obligation to qualify, we couldn’t miss it.”
Lastly on Andrés Iniesta, the Argentinian manager stated that “Iniesta has quality, he had the liberty to move around the pitch.”
Immediately following the final whistle in Sevilla, FC Barcelona midfielder Andrés Iniesta stressed, “It was important to go top again. The circumstances perhaps weren’t the best but in the end we won the match.” Despite heavy rain and wind at the Sánchez Pizjuán, Barcelona managed to score four goals and recapture the top of La Liga (albeit level with others) after losing it for the first time in over 50 weeks last weekend. Iniesta underlined, “When you have a chance you have to take advantage of it.” He stressed the importance of positive result for upcoming challenges saying, “This victory will give us strength ahead of the match on Wednesday and for the games to come after that.”
He agreed that sometimes in the past weeks Barcelona were not in top form, “It’s natural that there are phases of the season,” he said and added, “We always try to keep our idea, it’s what makes us play well and win.” Asked about Messi, Iniesta said, “Leo was not missed because he was always here. He is one of those few players who in just a few minutes can change a game. He’s a fundamental player.” He also assured, “(The team) will fight until the end. The important thing is to not lose a lot of points and to improve as a team.” Responding to questions about his role in the team and sometimes not being featured in starting eleven, our midfield magician simply said, “It is not about being a backup or not. I always look at myself with confidence. It’s a coach who is the boss here and who knows how to manage the team.“
Continue reading for reactions of Cesc Fàbregas and Xavi Hernández.
After the first leg of the Copa del Rey semifinals against Real Sociedad, FC Barcelona midfielder and scorer of the first goal of the night, Sergio Busquets said that the 2-0 “is a good result.” He also underlined that, “We didn’t concede any goals.” With a good result at home, Busquets stated that road to Copa final is nearly over, “Now we just have to play the second leg.” But the midfielder at the same time warned, “The Anoeta is a difficult stadium, hopefully we can do the same thing in the second leg and get to the finals.” Asked about the other semi-final between Atlético Madrid and Real Madrid Busquets simply said ,“The 3-0 is a good result for Real Madrid.”
Continue reading for reactions of Xavi Hernández and Jordi Alba.
“Tito is a great football strategist. Hard worker, quiet and brave, having a good relationship with the players. His example is not only directed to the sports world, but the world at large, with dominion. A team needs a strong fighter. In this sense, Tito Vilanova has shown us many lessons. We wish you a luck you deserve. You are a champion of sport and life. In me you have a friend forever.”
- Jupp Heynckes, ex-coach of Bayern Munich speaking about Tito Vilanova at Mundo Deportivo Gala, February 3, 2014
Two first team players and a former FC Barcelona manager received awards at the Mundo Deportivo gala yesterday evening. Xavi Hernández was awarded the Extraordinary Trophy (XX Trofeo Extraordinario REPSOL) and Neymar Jr was given the Most International Player Award (XXXIV Trofeo al Deportista mas Internacional EL CORTE INGLÉS). Tito Vilanova picked up the Best Manager Trophy (XVI Trofeo al Mejor Entrenador-DiR).
Xavi underlined that his achievement of playing more than 700 games for FC Barcelona is great milestone, “It’s very difficult to play for Barça because of how demanding it is, but I’ll try to reach 800 games. I feel good physically.” Talking about about Luis Aragonés, who passed away on Saturday, the midfielder said, “He was my footballing father. I have a lot of appreciation for him and Spanish football owes him a lot.”
Real Valladolid have signed Sporting Lisbon and ex-Barcelona player Jeffren Suárez. The winger has returned to Spain after three seasons in Lisbon and signed a contract until June 30, 2016. Jeffren underlined during his official presentation that he joins Valladolid to “help the team in fulfilling it’s objectives.“ “In football terms, I think here I will improve again,” said the player, who since last summer was training with the second team of Sporting Lisbon and has not played in an official match since April 1, 2013. Asked about his time in Portugal, has stated that it was “pretty bad” and he expressed his joy in returning to Spain, ”for me it is wonderful to be here.”
Fans who gathered to watch the game against Málaga at Camp Nou not only enjoyed entertaining football but also witnessed a new very special welcome. The well known Manel Vich’s “Bona nit i benvinguts a l’estadi,” a traditional welcome in Catalan which is announced before every game since 1956, was followed by a brand new message in English.
“Visitors from all over the world, welcome to Camp Nou, FC Barcelona’s legendary and magical home. We are delighted to have you here and we hope you enjoy the game. Thank you very much for coming and we hope to see you back again very soon.”
That message will from now on be heard before every game at the Camp Nou. It seems that now foreign fans can also feel at home at the FC Barcelona stadium.
FC Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino spoke following the 3-0 league game victory against Málaga. He praised his players who “passed the ball well” and he added that “we created a lot of chances but we only scored three goals, we could have scored more.” Martino also underlined that “over the recent years the players have faced very important moments, very serious ones, not institutional, but these related to health of technicians or team mates. They understand that their answer is not in speaking but on the field, and they did a good job after a difficult week. They showed that they are professionals.”
FC Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino, speaking at the post-match press conference last night, explained that in the first half of the game against Levante UD, his team lacked depth and could have scored sooner. “We needed a bit more ball circulation and mobility,” he underlined. “It seemed as if it was really difficult to score a goal.”
FC Barcelona midfielder Andrés Iniesta has been voted the World’s Best Playmaker of 2013 by the IFFHS (International Federation of Football History and Statistics). Andrés has won this award for the second year running.
Xavi Hernández, who won this category four years in a row (2008 to 2011), finished this year in 5th place. Votes were collected from selected editorial offices and experts from 70 countries and from all the football continents.
Yesterday, the FC Barcelona board revealed the first details about the new Camp Nou project. According to the presented proposal, a new stadium will be built over the current structure so the Camp Nou would remain in Les Corts area, but would look very different. “The proposal includes improved functionality, accessibility, mobility, sustainability, modernity and quality, designed to be at the service of the people, the neighbourhood and the city. This new Camp Nou would include three main areas: the Camp Nou itself, a new Palau Blaugrana for 10,000 spectators and the Espai Barça (Barça Space), which would involve buildings for different purposes integrated into the district.” These new structures around the current stadium would mean moving the new Miniestadi to the Ciutat Esportiva training ground, which would seat between 6,000 and 7,000 people (current structure has capacity of 15, 276).
After the bitter 1-1 draw against Levante last night, FC Barcelona boss Gerardo Martino said that his team’s goal was “to win the match and play good football.” That wasn’t so simple, and he underlined, “The result isn’t what we came here for nor was it what we deserved.”
Asked his opinion on the reasons for the poor result, Martino stated, “We were not fortunate in front of goal,” and added that in the rest of the league season we can expect “many more surprises. I think the remaining 18 rounds of the season will show that.”
Tata however praised Barça’s opponent saying, “Levante have improved a lot from the beginning of the season.” Speaking about his own players he simply said, “There’s not much to say. We tried and we did a good job. We tried to win the match from the outside and the inside. Their keeper played a great match.” Martino concluded saying, “We’re leaving here sad because we were unable to win. We know that we’re going to win nine out of ten of these types of matches.”
FC Barcelona player Sergi Roberto attended a press conference at the Ciudad Esportiva Joan Gamper yesterday. “Tata Martino is very important for me. During this time I haven’t given up and I work hard every day. Now I hope to make good on his confidence by playing well and helping the team. I have to continue working hard and earning my playing time both in games and in training sessions,” said Roberto, who has already featured in the last 12 matches, both as a starter and as a reserve. Speaking about the Blaugrana legend Xavi, Sergi underlined, “He is one of the best players in the world and I’m just starting my career with the first team. There are very few like Xavi. I’d be happy to be just a small part of the player Xavi is.”
FC Barcelona’s first team returned to training routines after a day off on Sunday. The squad followed a training session designed by the technical staff as they begin to prepare for Thursday’s Spanish Cup game against Getafe CF. Defender Gerard Piqué did specific recovery exercises while Andrés Iniesta trained apart after he was taken off as a precaution at half time against Atlético Madrid due to the slight knock he picked up.