After yesterday’s victory in the Ukraine, a number of the players spoke to the press about their performance against Shakhtar and the upcoming clásicos against arch-rivals Real Madrid. The comments from Valdés, Villa, Alves, Piqué, Busquets and Pedro are all below.
Barcelona’s victory over Shakhtar in the Ukraine secures their progress to the Champions League semi-finals for the fourth year in a row. The victory was also Guardiola’s first win in the knock-out rounds of the competition. What were some of the other interesting facts and figures from Tuesday’s game? Find out after the jump.
Josep Guardiola was elated after FC Barcelona reached the UEFA Champions League semi-finals for fourth year in a row. “It’s an absolute success, it shows how stable we are and that everybody has done their job right“, he said. “It is a global success, it’s immense news. I have to stress that a lot of work has gone into this. We are so glad to be back.” The coach congratulated the team and underlined that “it doesn’t matter what condition we are in. What matters is mentality and desire. This is a gift that any sportsperson would be delighted to accept. In this situation, all we can do is thank the players, and treat what’s happening as a gift.”
48! HISTORIC GOALS RECORD
Messi is the top scorer (goals/season) of the Spanish football
Barça qualifies for the Champions’ semifinals for the fourth year in a row
Great match by Valdés, Mascherano did very good as a defender and the team will be at the top of their form when they play el Clásico
Shakhtar 0 – 1 Barça
FC Barcelona’s curly-haired defender and Spain international Carles Puyol turns 33 on April 13.
An excerpt from his profile on the club’s official site best summarises the captain’s attributes.
“More than anything else, Carles Puyol is a reference point for the rest of the squad due to his character and qualities of leadership and because of his pride in the Barca colours and his total identification with the Club.”
Fifty two thousand Ukrainian fans raised the roof of their five star stadium tonight in a courageous effort to prove to the world that Pep Guardiola wasn’t the only person on the planet who did not consider this tie to be over. For Shakhtar to overturn their crushing defeat at the Camp Nou, they needed to rescue a four goal deficit, something that no other team in Champions League history has managed. However, the loyal home support dared to believe they could achieve the unthinkable and prevent the Catalan Giants from closing in on club football’s most coveted prize.
FC Barcelona reached its fourth consecutive UEFA Champions League semi-finals and Lionel Messi scored his 48th goal of the season, beating Ronaldo’s club record of 47. A memorable night deserves some memorable images. Glimpses from the Donbass Arena in Donetsk after the jump.
According to both ‘La Gaceta de Salamanca‘ and the official FC Barcelona web page, Policarpo Sánchez, a researcher from the city of Salamanca, Spain, found in the archives of Salamanca photos and names of seven persons who were responsible of protecting FC Barcelona during the civil war which started during the summer of 1936.
Shakhtar Donetsk: 0
FC Barcelona: 1
Shakhtar Donetsk: None
FC Barcelona: Messi (43′)
FC Shakhtar Donetsk – FC Barcelona
(Wednesday April 12, 2011 @ 20:45 Barcelona time – Convert to local time)
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The following is a translation of Johan Cruyff’s weekly article in ‘El Periodico’. The original can be found here.
Johan Cruyff’s key points.
Barring any major surprise Barca and Madrid will face four times in the next 18 days with three titles up for grabs. [To ensure success] it is not necessary [for cules] to insist on a clean sweep.
Madrid and Barca only need to formalise their qualification to the semi-finals of the Champions League. Except for a major debacle this should be the case, for both. And then, yes, up to four direct duels in the space of 18 days. Is that too much? Not at all. Because they are the result of an irrefutable fact: they are two very good teams, two very good competitors, and [as a result] they fully deserved to enter the final stretch of the season with the opportunities to win titles – a prize only reserved for the best. They’ve attested to their prowess in the Copa del Rey, in the League and are doing the same in Europe, where this week will see the final four contenders slugging it out for the title. And, barring any major surprise, two of those four will be them.
Speaking ahead of their second leg encounter with FC Barcelona, Shakhtar’s coach, Mircea Lucescu, and defenders Rakitskiy and Srna all had words of praise for the club that beat them 5-1 in the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals. All three, however, warned that they will try and rectify some of the mistakes made at the Camp Nou in order to secure a better result at home, even if Barça remain the favourites to lift the trophy at the season’s end.
April 12, 2011