“I asked myself, “And all this, that I wasn’t even involved in? When will it pass?” Never ending stories, some that happened, others that never did. I don’t like making excuses, and it’s a fact that while I was there [at Barça] I never did, but living with it all took a toll on me. At Barcelona, one feels permanently like the villain. I enjoyed living alongside the players day-to-day, they are great guys who I could speak football with, and despite being so famous, they were genuine. That calmed me down a lot but that year was really hard on me.”
“Pep’s Barcelona was the best team in all history. The comparison was never positive. At Barça, winning wasn’t enough. At Barcelona, if you won it was thanks to the players and if you lost it was my fault. It was hard to continue. And when the players back their coach in public it’s nice at the time, but you soon grow weary.“
“It’s great news for Cesc. He is happy, he looked contented to me. It’s a great opportunity to go to a great team and that was his idea. He may be more relaxed now that he knows his future. It’s a big loss for us but he decided. As a good friend of his, I wish him the very best and all the luck in the world.”
“I learnt the game for seven years here and I’m thrilled to be back, it’s a great challenge for me…I want to learn from these brilliant players.”
“I’m very happy, I’ve missed all of this…I know how much competition there is for places here, but I think that’s a good thing…I know what kind of football I can offer and I’ll do my best to help. I want to win trophies and contribute as much as I can.”
“Those who dispute the value of Xavi are idiots; they have no idea what they’re talking about. He is the best thinker on the team.”
– The ever-diplomatic Johan Cruyff
“Great friend on and off the pitch, Carles Puyol, announced he’ll leave Barça in June!! Good luck, mate.”
Former Barca legend and multiple Ballon d’Or and FIFA Player of the Year winner Ronaldinho wished his former teammate good fortune on his official Twitter account after the Barça captain announced his departure at the end of the season. The two legends shared the same locker room in Camp Nou for five years where they lifted two La Liga titles and a historically massive second Champions League trophy in Paris.
“Messi is great, I don’t think he needs to win with Argentina to be great. Ronaldo is great, I don’t think he needs to be world champion with Portugal to be great. But Maradona did it and Zidane did it and Ronaldo Nazario and Rivaldo did it. Many of the big guys did it, so everybody’s waiting for them to do it.”
“Martino is doing very well at Barcelona. I like the way he speaks, always calm, he reminds me a lot of myself, he doesn’t go looking for controversy and does the best for his team.”
In an interview on Canal+, Real Madrid’s Italian head coach Carlo Ancelotti took the time to praise his rival Gerardo Martino’s way of handling himself as a coach. Rivalry aside, Ancelotti reminds the world of the great respect football’s biggest rivalry used to have for one another, unlike a certain Portuguese and his puppet.
“I tackled him because I thought I was still outside the box, but I don’t blame the referee. It all happened too fast. I have seen the moment again on TV and think ‘why did I have to tackle him and not keep running by his side?’ I was sure that I would get the ball when I made the tackle and then you think that you will steal the ball from Messi, you realise that you don’t, but I did make the foul.”