06 April 2012

Guardiola: “Games like these are the most difficult there are”

The Barça coach insists that they are going to La Romareda just as Zaragoza are hitting their best form and spoke about the difficulty of playing teams that are fighting against relegation.

He also mentioned the experience of their next Champions League opposition, Chelsea.

Josep Guardiola knows they’ve got a tough game ahead of them at La Romareda. “Undoubtedly we are facing Zaragoza in their best moment. They have found good form and have beaten teams like Atlético Madrid and Valencia. I’ve watched them and they’re very intense. It will be a tough game because there’s a lot to play for. Let’s see if we can recover from last week’s exertions and deal with the next three games.”

As the manager observed, from being twelve points away from survival, they are now just four, and “with eight or nine games left until the end of the competition, the games against teams near the bottom of the table are the most difficult there are … I think they have a good chance of staying up, and that makes them even more dangerous.” He considers Zaragoza to be a good example of a team that believes in itself, and “as long as there is a still a chance, they’ll always keep fighting”.

Gerard Piqué will be missing on Saturday, as he is still suffering from a thigh injury. Neither is it clear whether Xavi will be in the right condition to play. “Xavi has done well in training. He’ll play when he’s ready. It’s the kind of thing that happens to him now and again through tiredness. We’ll decide what to do tomorrow” said Guardiola.

He was asked whether certain players suffer more than others at this stage of the season, and answered that “there are some that have the capacity to tolerate games and the effort involved more than others. With others you have to evaluate the effort they are making more. When you’re playing three games a week, you have to be especially careful with certain players.”

Guardiola also spoke about the club they will be meeting in the semi finals of the Champions league, Chelsea, saying that “they are one of the historic teams in English football of late. They are a very experienced team, and they have fantastic players in every sense. They’re one of the great European teams, and in short competitions they are capable of everything and more. Of course, in the Champions League semi finals there are no easy teams.”

But for the time being he prefers to concentrate on domestic matters. “There will be time to think about Chelsea later. We now have a very intense week against three intense opponents, uncomfortable, defensive teams, and we’ll need to be alert. Always playing attacking football creates fatigue, more than you might think. We have to see what condition we are in. After that, it’ll be my pleasure to talk about Chelsea.”

Mourinho has said that he’s sure Barça will qualify for the Champions League final. The Barça manager replied that “I’m grateful for his confidence, but all four of the teams have a chance of getting through”.

Finally, he was asked to comment on Barça only having two days’ rest before the clásico against Real Madrid at the Camp Nou. “That’s what we’ve got” sighed Guardiola. “Bilbao have already given us a lesson in how to deal with this fixture list. At this stage of the season, you don’t feel the tiredness so much because the end is in sight. Every bit of effort and dedication we have will go into winning titles.”

Afellay developing well

Josep Guardiola is happy with the way Afellay is progressing. The Dutchman is training normally, although he has yet to be given medical clearance to play. But the FCB manager thinks there’s even a chance he could be back before the season is out. “I think so” he said. “I think he will because he’s doing well in training. We’re happy to have him back and that he’s doing so well. The surgery has gone even better than we’d hoped.” (via FCBarcelona.com)

[Ex-player] Zenden: "My favorite to win the Champions League is Barça"

The ex-player of FC Barcelona and Chelsea, Bolo Zenden, is favorite to win Barça this season's UEFA Champions League.

Zenden spoke for the program Mas Esports of COMRàdio Barcelona, ​​and had no hesitation in saying that his favorite "to win the Champions League is Barça. Barça is better than Chelsea, Barca has more quality and do not forget that the second match at the Camp Nou and that's a big advantage. "

"The Madrid-Bayern tie of greater equality, I have clear who is going to happen. Bet by the end Madrid would be a galactic why if Barça-Madrid," he said. He added: "A final Barça-Madrid would be a dream, are the two best teams in the moment."

Concerning la Liga, believes it will exblaugrana for Madrid "because it has too many points of advantage."

Finally, on Pep Guardiola said: "When I was playing Guardiola, of course, with his attitude and you could tell he was going to be a coach but no one could think that in its first year won the treble. It's amazing and nobody expected it." (via SPORT)

19-player squad to face Zaragoza; Piqué

The player did not recover in time from the injury he picked up against AC Milan.

Guardiola has named 19 players, 16 from the first team plus Montoya, Muniesa and Tello, to the Barça squad.

Gerard Piqué will not play against his ex-team in Zaragoza. The centre defender continues to have issues with the injury he picked up against AC Milan on Tuesday and will not travel to Aragón.

Guardiola has named the same players to his team as he did against AC Milan with the exception of Piqué. 19 Barça players will travel to La Romareda, the 16 available first-team players plus Montoya, Muniesa and Tello.

Saturday, by train

In today’s training session, the last one before tomorrow’s match, both Éric Abidal and Ibrahim Afellay participated whilst Piqué worked on his recovery.

The team will travel to Zaragoza on Saturday. They will leave the Camp Nou at 9:25 for Sants Estació where they will board a train to Zaragoza. They’re scheduled to arrive at 11:30. Kickoff is set for 20:00. (via FCBarcelona.cat)

Cassano: "Barça is unbeatable, only earns them a volcano"

The former Madrid distanced himself from accusations of whites and praised the play of Barcelona.

The Milan player Antonio Cassano received the best news of his life this week, despite the elimination of his team at the hands of Barça. After the October 29 suffered a mild cerebral ischemia by a heart defect, which had to be operated, Italy forward this week received permission to re-dress short. In addition to the news for his recovery, exmadridista has also had its share media after branching off the mentality of the exequipo, which this week again accused to Barça of having the favor of arbitration.

In an interview in 'Studio Sport', Cassano Praises game Pep Guardiola is cleared of the charges of the white team. "What Mourinho said to be hard to beat Barca at home? Sure, it's difficult because they are stronger than others, these arguments are invented some, put the characters you want to appear in the film, "said Italian impetus to defend the Catalan squad.

He added that "Barça is unbeatable, they can only win with a volcano that requires them to travel by bus for 40 hours," alluding to the playoff semifinals two seasons ago when Barça fell against Inter, after see their plans altered by the Icelandic volcano, Eyjafjallajökull.

Upon his successful recovery, the forward who once confessed, "I was afraid to die and I would never play football, but now that I close my return to a level playing field." In recent months, he has lived his particular ordeal to get ahead, and he did it thanks to his inner circle and displays of affection from the entire football community, "during the 36 hours before the operation did not understand , could not speak. "Cassano received calls from around the world, Barça and Madrid made ​​contact with him to cheer him, "Iniesta called me, I realized how many people were worried about me as a person, not as a player" and says that if at any the field will not mind whistle "I am happy because all the fans have realized what was happening."

But fear not over, now the player will not be afraid to level and have to leave, "and if I'm okay, fine, if I realize that I'm not good back home, do not want anyone to feel sorry me for what happened to me. " (via SPORT)

John Terry wants to play despite having two broken ribs

The defender has said that he feels well enough to leave the pitch despite his painful injury.

The England defender John Terry said today that it can continue playing with Chelsea despite a medical examination confirmed that it has two broken ribs from last week. The return of the quarter-finals of the Champions League that the "blues" played yesterday against Benfica, Terry had to leave the field because "I could not breathe."

This morning, the defender spent a review that revealed how two of his ribs were fractured on 27 March in the first leg against the Portuguese, which, according to the player, will not prevent further jugando.Terry, who played 90 minutes last Saturday against Aston Villa, will not play this weekend's visit to Stamford Bridge Wigan, but expects to be available to coach Roberto Di Matteo on Monday, when the "blues" face Fulham.

"I got an elbow in the first match (against Benfica), and the doctors thought I might have broken two ribs. I said that was fine but then on the back (last night), I started feeling worse and could not breathing. I never felt that way, "told the player." I do not think that means I'm rejected. simply is a situation that must be managed. the truth is that when it comes to the ribs there is nothing you can do. you can not get a massage in the area to feel better, "said the defender.

The Englishman played a prominent role in the opening minutes of last night's clash against Benfica in the English sealed his move to the semifinals of the Champions League. Chelsea is now preparing to contest the April 18, the semifinals of the European showpiece against Barcelona, a round that republished the controversial 2009 clash between the teams, the Spanish Andrés Iniesta decanted from the Catalan side with a goal at the last minute. (via MD)

Ovrebo still receives threatening letters

The Norwegian still receiving threatening emails Chelsea fans for his arbitration in the semifinals of the Champions of 2009 against Barça.

Norwegian Tom Henning Ovrebo still receiving threatening emails Chelsea fans for his arbitration in the semifinal of the Champions League that the English lost against Barcelona in 2009, admitted today to the British newspaper 'The Guardian'.

The Blues will face off on April 18 against azulgrana in a controversial semi-final clash reissue the last three seasons in which a Spanish Andrés Iniesta goal in the last breath left out the whole of Stamford Bridge. On that occasion, the British claimed up to four penalties that the referee did not grant, and two players 'blue', Didier Drogba and Jose Bosingwa Portuguese, received penalties of four and three games respectively by angry rebuke to college after the final whistle .

After that day, Ovrebo, who is now 45, received several threats via e-mail, and ensures that you still receive some letters "abusive". "It's still hard. Keep getting three or four emails from Chelsea fans every year," said the referee, who lives in Oslo and continue refereeing in the Norwegian First Division. "It's not pleasant, but nothing too serious. Do not let it affects me or my family. The truth is that they do not know much about this because I teach mails," said Ovrebo, father of four, who also serves as a psychologist.

The Norwegian retired from international arbitration in May 2010, a year after the game between Chelsea and Barcelona in which, he admits, made ​​some mistakes. "Looking back, there are certain things I should have done differently. Learned a lot from that experience," said the referee, who stressed that "all referees have their good and bad games, times when they do well, and others where not so good. "

Stressed that the experience Ovrebo at Stamford Bridge "clouded" his "love of football" and that now looks less games on TV than before. Still, the referee said that will see the next semifinal between English and Catalans. "Despite everything that happened, I love the Champions League, especially the big games played in the final stages of the tournament, and this is definitely one of them," he said. (via MD)

Barça increased his lead over Real Madrid in the world ranking of clubs

Barça, which ended March with 7 wins and a draw from their 8 games delivered (6 Champions League and 2), continues to lead the world ranking of clubs, now with 76-point lead (382 to 306) on Real Madrid (6 wins, 2 draws), which in turn remains second in full countdown of classic Spanish league at Camp Nou and a possible Champions League final between the two 'big'.

At the end of February 2012, the difference between Barcelona and Real was 57 points: eleven Pep has distanced therefore the archrival in 19 points, reflecting clear that azulgrana go for broke. Remember also that Barça which last only 'pitched' at San Siro (0-0), this sum with its 43 º lead part in the classification of the IFFHS (International Federation of Football History and Statistics), a record which records all of the supremacy of the currently considered the best team in the world, proclaimed 'king of the World' in 1997, 2009 and 2011.

Special mention should Atletico Madrid, who has jumped from 15th to 7th place (248 points), while, Athletic, which was 22 °, Figure 12 º (222) and Valencia, which was 32 °, is 20 ° (202) , just behind the next European rival Barcelona, Chelsea, 19th with 204 points. The sets that far apart from blaugrana and 'meringues' complete the 'top 10' are Veléz (3 º / 287 points), University of Chile (4 º / 273), Bayern Munich (5 º / 257), the Saints Neymar (6 ° / 252 ) Manchester United (8 º / 241), Manchester City (9 º / 233) and Schalke and Universidad Católica de Chile, tied for 10th place with 224 points. (via MD)

[Youth] Josep Ramon Sardà, cadete of Reus, signing the best test of history at Barça

Play ram in Reus and scored five goals! in a friendly played in the Cadete A azulgrana against Lausanne (7-0).
Although Madrid, Milan, Valencia and Espanyol want to take over his services, it seems to be signed soon for Barça.

March and April are the months of evidence in the youth equipment of FC Barcelona. The players who have previously been favorable reports are collected through the Ciutat Esportiva to train or play friendly matches with what could be their future colleagues next season. And the references to confirm the good will remain.

A few weeks ago, there was a truly extraordinary event. The Cadet A Quique Álvarez, who is signing a sensational season with the Enguene, Adama, Sanabria, Kaptoum and co., Played on Wednesday 29 February a friendly in Sant Joan Despi against Lausanne Switzerland. In the ranks azulgrana, a striker to the test: Josep Ramon Sardà (Reus, March 2, 1996), which until that day had accumulated more than 40 goals this season with the Cadet Reus, which debuted with the Juvenil A of División de Honor and that it is exercised with the first team, who play in the second group III of Second Division B.

The examination was of honors. Because Barça overcame 7-0 and Sardà Lausanne signed 5 goals! The young striker Reus, which had the idol Marco van Basten and now Andrés Iniesta marked them in every way possible (with the head and both feet) and exceeded all expectations and even though other clubs like Real Madrid , Milan, Valencia and Espanyol also want to take over his services, it seems that in the coming weeks will sign for the azulgrana. (via MD)

[Selection] Borghi: "If Alexis was injured, no one's fault"

Chilean coach Claudio Borghi, removed iron Guardiola complaints about the physical state of Alexis Sánchez.

The head of the selection of Chile spoke at the Esports COPE program on his pupil Alexis and also discomfort FC Barcelona coach, Pep Guardiola, for your fitness especially after playing for his country. The Santpedor asked publicly to his forward to be dosed in international friendlies and Borghi replied: "It's hard to tell a player who enters the court and is dispensed. We understand that if the player is able to be played. He was injured and no one's fault, it was an accident and we hope that further in the future "

For the Chilean coach, Alexis "is in the middle" of this situation. "We understand that the club has made ​​a major investment and that the player belongs and we can quote it as it is being respectful of the player. We always talk with the player and understand the concerns of European coaches."

Nevertheless, Claudio Borghi made ​​clear that the deeply admires tocopillano Guardiola: "Alexis is amazed by his coach, with his companions, is a beautiful city. Football is his passion and a privilege to have a Chilean team of that level. "

The front is giving it all from your arrival at Camp Nou, although the coach jiuicio there are aspects that may not favorzecan style. "Barcelona has a very active game, a few touches and Alexis is over dribble, power, strength, but has done very well and the proof is the praise from the press, and technical people," said .

Finally, the head coach of Chile considers that "Barça makes it almost impossible to beat, scares the opponent before the game." And although Guardiola commitment "for its beauty sports" cobncluyó his speech with diplomacy: "Real Madrid is an impressive team." (via SPORT)

Kalou: "Chelsea can beat Barcelona in two games"

The Ivorian Salomon Kalou believes Chelsea the "blues" can defeat Barcelona of Pep Guardiola in a playoff over two legs as the semifinals of the Champions League, said the striker to Radio Monte Carlo.

"Barcelona are a great team, but in two matches is possible. We have seen Inter (José) Mourinho did cause problems for two years," said the London club forward.

Kalou recalled other "big shock" against Barcelona, as the semifinal of 2009 in which Andres Iniesta gave to the Catalans victory with a goal in the last minute.

"He Iniesta goal three years ago was a painful moment," recalled the Ivorian, who acknowledged that his team was "lucky" to pass the quarterfinal tie against Benfica.

In 85 minutes of the meeting, Spanish Javi García stunned Stamford Bridge with a goal at the exit of a corner that did to the English until the Portuguese Raul Meireles sealed the victory Chelsea in stoppage time.

"The start of the match was not easy, the meeting was going out of hand. We were lucky to score the penalty, but after the goal live a moment of doubt," described the player.

The reissue Chelsea on 18 April the Champions League semi-final they faced in 2009 to Barcelona, a team that has qualified for the penultimate round of the top European competition for five consecutive seasons. (via SPORT)

Iniesta goal marks the history of games against Chelsea

Barça and Chelsea have met six times in European competitions with the 2009 semi final – when Iniesta scored a late winner to take Barça into the final – the most memorable.

Chelsea and Barça are set to meet in the Champions League semis once again after a series of games between the two over the last decade, with the 2009 semi perhaps the most memorable.

Four days after seeing off Madrid 2-6 in the Bernabeu – a result that virtually ensured Guardiola’s team took the league title – Barça travelled to Stamford Bridge after drawing 0-0 in the Camp Nou in the first leg. Reduced to 10 men after Abidal saw red, Barça were up against the wall when Alves, in injury time, put in a cross from the right to the far post: Eto’o headed it back towards Messi, who laid it off for Iniesta on the edge of the area and the Spanish midfielder fired in a brilliant shot which gave Cech no chance and booked Guardiola’s team a place in the Rome final.

That meeting was the third time the two teams had met since 2005, when the Londoners, under the ownership of Roman Abramovich, began to chisel out a place in Europe’s elite. With the arrival of José Mourinho, the temperature of the games began to increase.

In the 2005 quarter finals, it was Chelsea who got through, whilst a year later at the same stage and with a young Messi and unstoppable Ronaldinho, it was Barça who had the upper hand . In the 2006/07 group stage, the English team finished top of the group thanks to the draw they achieved at the Camp Nou.

However, the excitement of the games between the two goes back further: one of the most spectacular comebacks in the Club’s European history came in the 99/00 season when Louis van Gaal’s team overturned a 3-1 defeat in the first leg at Stamford Bridge to win 5-1 at the Camp Nou.

Before that, the two had only previously met in the 1965/66 Fairs Cup, when Barça needed a third play off game to see of f the Londoners in the semi finals – a forerunner of the close and exciting games between the two that were to come. (via FCBarcelona.com)

One goal short of Guardiola era record

The first team celebrated their 157th goal so far this season on Tuesday – and that leaves them just one short of the record for a season under Guardiola in the 2008/09 campaign.

Messi, with 58 goals is the leading scorer, averaging 1.18 goals a game.

This season’s team look set to become the highest scoring of the Guardiola era, having already scored 157 – just one less than the current record set in the 2008/09 season. In the 2009/10 campaign, the team scored 138 and last year they managed 152.

Those 157 goals have come in just 53 games over the six tournaments the team have been involved in: 86 goals in la Lliga, 33 in the Champions League, 23 in the Spanish Cup, 8 in the World Club Cup, 5 in the Spanish and 2 in the European Super Cups. That works out at an average of 2,97 goals a game - much higher than previous seasons (2,54 in 2008/09, 2,33 in 09/10 and 2,45 in 2010/11).
A total of 19 players have scored so far this season: Messi (58 goals), Cesc (15), Xavi (14), Alexis (11), Villa (9), Iniesta (7), Pedro (7), Tello (7), Cuenca (4), Thiago (3), Alves (3), Adriano (3), Puyol (3), Keita (2), Piqué (2), Sergi Roberto (2), Montoya (1), Abidal (1) and Maxwell (1). The team have also benefited from four own goals – two in La Liga and two in the Champions League.

Leo Messi’s stats really stand out: the Argentinean has scored 37% of Barça’s goals, averaging 1.18 goals a game. (via FCBarcelona.com)

On-form Zaragoza to test FC Barcelona

An on-form Zaragoza will host FC Barcelona this Saturday as the Aragón side looks to continue their run of good results.

This Saturday FC Barcelona will travel to La Romareda to play against the second-from-the-bottom team in the Liga. Despite the distance between the two in the table, Zaragoza have found their form of late and the face off promises to be a tough one for Guardiola’s men. The Aragón side have won their last three matches; what once was a 12-point climb out of the relegation zone has turned into only 4.

The man responsible for turning the once-ailing Zaragoza team around is manager Manolo Jiménez. The Andalusian took charge of the morale-depleted team at the start of the calendar year and injected hope into the Aragón side. Since Jiménez took the reigns, the all-whites have won five games, drawn three and lost six.

After 16 consecutive matches at the bottom of the table, the “in extremis” victory against Sporting Gijón - direct rival - saw Zaragoza jump to the 18th spot of the table. Before that, the team won two games in a row; the first against Atlético Madrid (1-0) and against Valencia (1-2 - despite finishing the match with nine men).

Jiménez will not be able to use three of his favourite players on Saturday: the defender Mateos, the midfielder Apoño and the striker Luis García. Two ex-Barça B players, however, will be ready should Jiménez call on them to play against their former team: Abraham Minero and Edu Oriol. (via FCBarcelona.com)