26 May 2012

Piqué: "It could not have ended better for Pep"

The Azulgrana defender considers that the team “deserved to win the Cup” because of the work that had gone into winning it and he urged Barcelonistas to celebrate the title because it “should always be valued”.

Xavi: “it’s an honour to be able to lift trophies for the best team in the world”.



“We’re very pleased” and “we deserved this Cup.” These were the two sentences that most of the Barça players said after winning the Club’s 26th Copa del Rey title. Gerard Piqué said that the team had placed “a lot of emphasis on this match and that the players were eager” to win the title. He added that “we should always place value on the Cup.” The Azulgrana defender praised Guardiola’s strategy for tonight’s game, especially, in in the first half: “We knew that they would try to pressure us and we were clear that, whoever started off stronger in the beginning would win the Cup.” The Barça captain for tonight’s match, Xavi, agreed with his team-mate: “we took the lead and we played a great first half. In the second, fatigue forced us to take our foot off the pedal.”

Farewell and tribute to Guardiola

The team dedicated the title to the architect of Barça’s game plan, Pep Guardiola. “I believe that it could not have ended better for Pep,” said the Barça defender. Xavi thanked the Azulgrana manager for “everything that he’s taught me.” Guardiola was not the only person that the title was dedicated to, Abidal, who could not attend the match, was also remembered by the Barça players. In fact, after the players collected the trophy, they draped Abidal’s shirt over it as a tribute to their recovering team-mate.

After the celebration the players congratulated Athletic Club for the match and they thanked the Barça fans for their support. “The fans were exemplary,” said Piqué.

Positive season

Xavi explained what it felt like to lift the trophy: “it’s unique seeing that at that moment in time I represent the whole institution, the managers and the fans. It’s an honour to be able to lift trophies for the best team in the world.” Barça’s second captain also talked about Barça’s season by saying that the team “are used to competing” and used to “fighting for titles.” The midfielder said that his team-mates “never get tired of winning” and that, despite winning 14 out of 19 titles, “we want more trophies” next season.

Here are the statements made by the players after the match:


Pedro:

“The first minutes went in our favour. They were stronger in the second half.

“There are a lot of good moments, but I’m sticking with the good times with Guardiola, with the team-mates and with the titles we’ve won.

“We’re very pleased. The team recuperated well, we trained just enough and we played a great game.

“This victory is dedicated to the whole team. It was a tough season for everyone and we deserved this title. We’re very pleased that we’ve won it.”


Iniesta:

“We scored the goals, we were effective and we were at liberty to be calm in the second half.”


Dos Santos:

“Another title! I’m happy to be able to live these experiences #viscaelbarça.”


Valdés:

“I’m happy that this title culminates our good season. Next year we will give it our all once again.”


Bartra:

“Champions!!!! Here’s a photo of the captain!”


Cuenca:

“It’s an honour to be able to dedicate this Cup to you, to the manager and to my team-mates Abidal and Dani, who were not able to be with us tonight.” (via FCBarcelona.com)

Shakira kiss Piqué to celebrate the Copa


The singer Shakira, partner of Gerard Piqué has witnessed the final of Copa del Rey from the stage. There is expected to center when he went to seek the Copa and gave him another trophy. The Colombian was not cut and kissed her boyfriend in the eyes of the government delegate in Madrid, Cristina Cifuentes, who was able to capture the moment with a mobile phone.

Shakira had been at the Mestalla Cup final against Real Madrid but this time hug to comfort her partner after losing Barcelona against the set of José Mourinho. This time the outcome was much better for the couple of fashion. (via MD)

Bielsa: "I assume that the present approach was not successful"


Athletic Club coach, Marcelo Bielsa, has assumed today that "the approach" that has set his team in the final of the Copa del Rey today against FC Barcelona, which has fallen by 0-3, "was not the right. "

"I assume that the present approach was not successful, I realize that. The decision maker's me," said Argentine coach, disappointed by the outcome of the final and have not "fallen short of public the illusion of "rojiblanco.

"I imagined or prepared a party to achieve prominence, intensity and dynamism and fail to achieve that. From there I assume that the attempt was unsuccessful. The proposal was not successful and the differences were what we saw," summed up his view of game.

Bielsa, who has revealed he has observed "a lot of pain" in his team players for the defeat, said he sees the future of this "young" Atletico "from two readings." One of them, depending on "conditions, possibilities and age," believes "growth margin", but offers more questions in relation "to that hard constantly to be taken every three days all or nothing" .

In that regard, he recalled that Athletic has missed an opportunity to fight for fifth place in the last "date" league and has dropped by two semi-finals by 0-3 and fairly.

Rosario coach said that after "losing a game," like today he is "talking reckless" the issue of renewal, on which you were referred to an early "meeting" with leaders of the Basque club, but said that "Athletic is an experience that any man who loves football pleased to have lived."

Bielsa has revealed that at the end of the meeting Pep Guardiola congratulated for having achieved today, "another link in a magnificent and memorable work, which is his team." When asked if he considers able to Leo Messi to surpass Pelé and Maradona has said he does not like "comparisons" because he believes that "dwarfs" to players. I enjoyed Pele and Maradona and Messi enjoy. All three are wonderful, "he said. (via MD)

Of brotherhood Senyera-Ikurriña to the top of Abidal

At the end of the match the Barça players held the title as if it were the first in a stage and not the last.

It was a few minutes to the 12 at night. The referee blew the final whistle of the match. For the past few minutes, reserve players, technicians and auxiliary Barca were already hugging the edge of the pitch. With the whistle, all entered the pitch to congratulate their peers.

They improvised the first "Sardana" of the night, even smaller. Meanwhile, in the stands, the Barça fans chanted "Athletic, Athletic," while the Basques responded with applause. In the moment of victory, the Barça players did not forget his fellow Athletic. Thiago tried to console his team-mate Muniain, while Puyol and Iniesta also approached other Basque players.

While the Athletic players rose to collect his medal, Carles Puyol made ​​him the captain's armband to Xavi Hernández, for it was he who picked up the trophy. When opposing players and returned to the lawn, were the Barca who went to collect their trophies. Everyone, even the injured, with the shirt of Barca, unless Sergio Busquets, who wore a blue shirt with a slogan giving encouragement to Eric Abidal.

All to collect their trophies, unless Pep Guardiola, who was embraced in the grass with Manel Estiarte, and Tito Vilanova. The three left the only protagonist the players. After a brief "discussion" with Puyol, Xavi who was accepted to collect the cup and lift it.

Again all the grass. In the midfield players, assistants and technicians got on a platform and, as usual, bath confetti helped them to continue celebrating the win. For public address, as a few years ago at the Bernabéu, sounded the hymn of FC Barcelona.

Then the players started to turn around the field of honor, while Pep Guardiola and went to the locker room. During the lap of honor, Puyol picked up first one and then a ikurriña senyera. Them together with a bow to finish turning.

Subsequently, Guardiola returned to the field, to make the traditional "Sardana", all united in one round, this time in the midfield, but was close to where the Barcelona fans.

And how could it be otherwise, a great keepsake for Eric Abidal. Carles Puyol was the same who covered the Champions Cup with the French player's shirt to finish going around the pitch, while a very active Piqué encouraged fans to do the wave. (via SPORT)

The best and worst of Athletic-Barça

BEST: Another title and a great legacy. Pep Guardiola left the club through the front door after his 14 th title harvested in four seasons. The Barcelona coach is fired at the peak of their success and leaving to his successor, Tito Vilanova, a team second to none. The project is exciting now beginning. The Bellcaire, Pep second this time, has been instrumental in this golden age. Like Messi, Puyol, Xavi, Iniesta and co. Or Pedro, happily recovered from the injuries that led him to head all season. And whose goals were so important to win this final. How he had missed.

WORST: The lawn of Calderón. Even the poor condition of the pitch deprived Barça to win this final so placid. The site chosen because of the dubious arguments of the Real Madrid not to give the Bernabéu some works-apparently in the toilet-essential, proved to be the best option. Coldplay concert last Sunday left the grass shattered Athletic Stadium, and the sod replaced that were not optimal. But that was not an obstacle to the azulgranas performs its best game and win the 26th Copa in its history. (via SPORT)

Guardiola: "I'm convinced we're leaving good memories behind"

In his last press conference as the manager of FC Barcelona, Guardiola said that he’s happy and that he has the feeling that “with time people will say that these players played great football and that it was enjoyable”.

The Azulgrana manager noted that “this team isn’t ending,” keeping in mind that “the foundation is already made”.

Guardiola says that he’s “an absolute fan” of Athletic Club Bilbao and that they “never give up”.



Josep Guardiola has concluded his time on the FC Barcelona bench in the best way possible, with a victory in the last match of the season, in the Copa del Rey Final. It’s the fourth title of the year, and 14th during his time as Barça’s boss. The manager, who was very clam, explained during his last press conference that he’s leaving “happy,” especially because he “was able to to be part of this process that started so long ago, but it didn’t start nor does it end with me. I’m leaving something behind for those that take my place.” He added: “we didn’t invent anything. Everyone simply implemented their ideas.”

The Barça manager said that the team he’s managed “has left a good memory.” He added that “I’m infinitely content. I’m leaving happy, with great satisfaction, and leaving a future for the Club so that things can continue to work. We’ve had a great cycle. 14 titles in four years is a difficult feat to achieve. I’m convinced that we’re leaving a good memory behind, with time people will say that these players played great football and that it was enjoyable.”

On the match at the Vicente Calderón, the manager believes that his team played “very well in the first 35 minutes.” However, in the second half the players “were not as good” and that the Athletic Club players “created quite a few problems for us.” On Marcelo Bielsa’s team, Guardiola said that “they are one of the most magnificent teams I’ve seen all year. I’m an absolute fan of Athletic, of their ideas. They never ever give up. I congratulate them for the fantastic season they’ve had. They’ve taught us a lot of things.”

Finally, Guardiola said that, in terms of football, that this “was the best season yet.” He added, “we’ve grown tactically. In the first years it was all fireworks, pure energy. This season was more analytical. I’m convinced that with time the team will be even better,” he concluded. At the end of the press conference, the members of the press at the Vicente Calderón press room gave Guardiola a standing ovation.

“Messi has taught me to be more competitive”

Josep Guardiola singled out Leo Messi in his postmatch press conference: “he has taught me to be more competitive, I’m more competitive now than when I first arrived. It’s clear that we would have not won 14 titles in 4 years if we didn’t have him. I’ve learned a lot of things about football thanks to him. On our part, we’ve tried to teach him that if he participates in a collective dynamic of game play that he, personally, gains a lot more. It has been a privilege to train the best player I have ever seen. With his age and competitive spirit, he’ll continue to give a lot of things to this magnificent Club.” (via FCBarcelona.com)

[Copa del Rey; Final] Athletic Club 0 - 3 FC Barcelona

Guardiola has taken his curtain call after a stellar performance, the 14th in four unforgettable years: a swansong oozing success and seduction.

FC Barcelona have ended the 2011/12 season with 4 titles and only 4 defeats, an almost immaculate achievement.

The upset in the Champions League against Chelsea behind them, Barça were back to their best tonight and further entrenched their legend.


Surely there was only one possible ending to the Guardiola era. His first honour as Barça manager was a Cup Final win against Athletic Bilbao, and it ends in the same way, against the club and winning the same title. In his time on the FCB bench, Guardiola has left a legacy of 14 titles out of a possible 19, but even more importantly, has done so in a way that has earned respect and admiration all around the world. Guardiola said he felt drained, but at the same time he has filled not just Barça fans, but anybody with a true love for this game, with satisfaction and pride.

After the misfortune of elimination from the Champions League against Chelsea, football has put Barça back where they belong. The Vicente Calderón witnessed just why Barça is the best team in the world, just like at Wembley a year ago. The team looked relaxed and confident, playing first touch football and passing into space as only they know. And tonight got off to the most explosive of starts, with direct and effective play. Who knows whether that was because of an especially emotional pre-match speech from the manager, but whatever was said in the dressing room before the players went onto the field, it certainly worked.

The best thing about Barça under Guardiola has been that, as they did again tonight, they always dictate the play. Incredibly, in 247 games under Guardiola, Barça have never once failed to win in terms of possession. Not even one of the finest Athletic Bilbao sides for many years, which brings back so many memories of that great team of the eighties, was able to keep Barça away from the ball. Another amazing stat is that in these four years, Barça have only lost 19 official matches.

Guardiola has not lost a single one of the 15 games he has played against Bilbao in these four years. And he has always stuck to his principles. He has never lost faith in the players that he took from the Third Division to the Champions League, Pedro and Sergio Busquets, who both started the game and performed outstandingly; he has always used Pinto in cup matches (including three finals); with Xavi and Iniesta as prime examples of players that have Barça DNA in their blood; and with Messi, winner of three Ballons d’Or, all under the Guardiola reign, the shining light in this incredible team, and who has just completed the season with an astonishing 73 goals.

In 30 minutes of fantasy football, Barça once again wowed the world with their total football. As they did in Monaco, or in Yokohama, this same season. Even without three top class defenders (Abidal, Puyol and Alves), they were able to make Athletic feel overawed by the occasion, the weight of history on their young shoulders simply looking too much of a burden. Such stark contrast to Xavi, with 20 major honours behind him.

And so there it is. The 26th Spanish Cup title for Barça. The last of the incredible Guardiola era. The last of a season in which the club has added a further four trophies to its honours list. Yet even so, it is hard to argue that this team was worthy of even more silverware, especially considering the fact that they only lost four games. But as it says on the shirts that the players were wearing all day, we play for a principle that knows no end. Pep is leaving, but Tito has also accompanied him on the journey. This is not so much a transition as a continuation. One era has ended, but the cycle continues for the greatest team in the world. Thank you, Pep! (via FCBarcelona.com)


[Match Stats]
Athletic: Iraizoz; Iraola, Ekiza, Amorebieta, Aurtenetxe; Javi Martinez, De Marcos (Ander Herrera, m. 46), Muniain; Susaeta (Íñigo Pérez, m. 46), Llorente (Toquero, m. 72) and Ibai Gómez.

Barça: Pinto; Montoya, Piqué, Mascherano, Adriano; Busquets, Xavi (Cesc, m. 80), Iniesta; Pedro (Thiago, m. 86), Alexis (Keita, m. 71) and Messi.

Goals: 0-1, m. 3: Pedro takes a rebound in the area after a corner kick from Xavi and Piqué's header diverted. 0-2, m. 20: Messi beats overlook magnificent Iraizoz after a pass into space for Iniesta. 0-3, m. 25: Pedro, with a low shot from outside the box set.

Referee: David Fernández Borbalán (C. Andalusian). Admonished Susaeta (m. 39) and Iraola (c. 42), by the Athletic, and Xavi (m. 66) and Iniesta (c. 70), Barcelona.

Subs: Copa del Rey Final, played at the Vicente Calderón before some 54,000 spectators. Full.