Tag: FC Barcelona

Patrick Kluivert: Champions League title better than domestic double

FC Barcelona legend Patrick Kluivert has said that Real Madrid will have had a better season than Barca if they can clinch a third successive Champions League.

The former Dutch international striker said that a Champions League win would eclipse Barca’s domestic double ahead of El Clasico.

He had previously won Europe’s premier club competition with Ajax in 1995 and said that it is the biggest achievement in football.

“The Champions League is the biggest award any club can win but it is very hard,” Kluivert said. “Winning a double is good as well but winning the Champions League is better. I would prefer to play a UCL final and win it because if you lose it and you don’t have a double, it is not good either.”

“Real Madrid are playing well and they always do what they have to do. The Champions League is the most important title, but if Real Madrid don’t win it, it will be much harder next season.”

Ahead of El Clasico, Kluivert also spoke about the two teams and their star players.

“First of all, Messi is the best for me but he can’t do it all alone; let me think about it because I don’t want to say anything I could regret! Barcelona is Barcelona and Madrid is Madrid, one can win UCL and the other has a double, all of them play for victories.”

 

“Messi and Ronaldo are different players, both in the highest level and each one deserves good words from everyone. But Messi was born with an impressive talent; Ronaldo did too, but he had to work harder to reach that level.”

Giorgio Chiellini says he is ready to swap shirts with Luis Suarez

Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini says that he would swap shirts with FC Barcelona forward Luis Suarez if they come up against each other again.

Suarez bit Chiellini on the shoulder during a group game between Uruguay and Italy at the 2014 World Cup, resulting in a four-month ban for the former Liverpool striker from the game.

The suspension meant that Suarez missed the start of the 2014-15 La Liga season after signing for Barcelona that summer, and did not return to international football for almost two years.

However, the pair have since met in Champions League action for their clubs, and Chiellini has now revealedhat he disagreed with the severity of the punishment given to Suarez.

“I have met him since on the pitch and it was a pleasure, as he is a great forward and it always means a challenge,” Chiellini said. “I would like to swap jerseys with him.”

“His punishment was a pity, not being able to enter the stadiums was over the top. It was just to give an example because of the World Cup.”

Chiellini added that Spanish giants are favourites to win the Champions League with Manchester City and Bayern Munich also being in the running.

Although his team Juventus has reached two of the last three Champions League finals, they had been beaten by Spanish teams on both occasions; first by Barca in 2015 and then Real Madrid last year.

“We feel convinced we can do it, but you cannot deny that this has been the moment of the Spanish teams in the tournament,” he said. “City and Bayern are going well, the former in a more difficult league where there are always four or five challengers for the title.”

“But Real and Barca have something extra. They have both evolved in recent years, but they remain at the peak, and not just for Cristiano [Ronaldo] and [Leo] Messi. [Pep] Guardiola’s Barca, for example, were intense in attack, and reacted immediately when they lost the ball. Now they are different, more solid, but they beat you just the same.”

Lionel Messi trains ahead of Sevilla game despite injury doubt

Lionel Messi remains a doubt for Barcelona’s La Liga trip to Sevilla on Saturday after he joined training but was unable to play a full part in the session.

Barca coach Ernesto Valverde suggested that Messi could be a doubt for Saturday’s La Liga game at Sevilla while adding that the Argentine star would require a fitness test on his return from international duty.

The Catalan club had also since confirmed in a statement that Messi trained on Thursday, but only for part of the session.

“The session took place on the Tito Vilanova pitch, with Leo Messi working with the group for part of the session and Barca B’s [Carles] Alena making up the numbers,” the club said.

In the past week, Messi had missed both of Argentina’s friendlies during the international break due to a minor hamstring issue.

While the nation fared well against Italy in a 2-0 victory on Friday, a match up against fellow World Cup hopefuls Spain in Madrid on Tuesday resulted in humiliating 6-1 loss.

It is an entirely different story for Messi on club level, however, as FC Barcelona holds an 11 point edge on Atletico Madrid in the La Liga table heading into Saturday’s match and a very busy two weeks upcoming, the team may play it safe with their talisman.

Still, they face a challenging series of fixtures after the visit to Sevilla, Barca return home to face Roma in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie Wednesday. That is followed by a match against Leganes on Saturday at the Camp Nou and then the second leg of the tie with Roma on the next Tuesday.