Xavi: “We have a great opportunity”

Xavi. PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB.
Xavi reckons that a win against Madrid and the 11 point lead that would give the team, would be “an important advantage”, whilst insisting: “the season has really only just begun”

Contract renewal

Xavi Hernández, who is 32, admitted that contacts were ongoing to extend his contract beyond 2014: “I want to finish my career here, I’ve said that all my life. The Club is happy and so am I so I don’t see there being any problems”.

“We are coming into the game in good form, we are getting players back from injury and we are on a good run and full of confidence”

“Our philosophy is untouchable – we go out to attack and enjoy ourselves”

With just over 48 hours to go till kick off, Xavi Hernández faced the media this lunchtime and explained: “I don’t think there is a feeling of euphoria. We have a great opportunity to beat Madrid and leave them 11 points behind us, but the season has really only just begun and it ‘s too early to be making calculations about what could happen, though it would be a big lead. We are coming into the game in good form, we are getting players back from injury and we are on a good run and full of confidence. Based on that, we’ll be going out to put in a good performance that the fans and we ourselves will enjoy”.

Important but not definitive

Looking to the game itself, Xavi explained: “the game could be vital for how the league pans out, but it won’t be definitive, whatever happens there is still a lot of the league to go. It would be an important win and a boost to us to leave a big rival 11 points behind. We just have to concentrate on our game and on winning  -that would be a big morale booster. It’s only three points, but it’s against Madrid and we have to think about the distance between us and what could be”.

“We won’t change”

The Catalan midfielder went on: “regardless of the difference in points between us right now, anything could happen in the game  – it’s Madrid and don’t forget that we were favourites last year too. We won’t change though- our philosophy is untouchable – we go out to attack and enjoy ourselves”. As to Madrid, even Xavi admitted that their game plan was not so clear, but warned: “they will be a powerful Madrid, like always – strong up front and with a very direct game”.

Asked about Tito Vilanova’s great start at the helm, Xavi made it clear: “he looks very strong to me, with very clear ideas. He communicates a lot with us; he has a big personality and is doing a great job”.

Piqué

Xavi Hernández also spoke of the absentees and doubts for the big game, referring to Puyol’s injury as “a real shocker – we’ll miss him”, whilst revealing that Piqué: “is doing everything he can to be in the game. It’s still 50-50 as to whether he makes it  – we’ll see tomorrow”. Asked about the chances of Song taking the Catalan’s place at the heart of defence, Xavi answered: “he’s ready to do that and he has shown that over the last few games. He could fit in and do the job perfectly”.

The Clásico in statistics

Messi
Ahead of Sunday’s big game, when top spot Barça face sixth placed Madrid, we look at some of the stats of the two giants as they come into the match

– Barça have now gone 25 consecutive league games scoring at least one goal.

– Barça are the team who have had most shots on goal in the league so far(52), whilst Madrid are the side with most shots wide of the target(54).

– Madrid lead the table in shots against the woodwork(6) and all of their goals (12) have come from inside the box.

– 11 of Barça’s 17 goals (64,7%) so far have been scored by homegrown players, whilst no player who has come up through the ranks at Madrid has scored yet.
– Cristiano Ronaldo has had 19 shots, against Messi’s 18, with both players having scored six goals.

– Barça’s subs have scored the most goals – 6 – after being brought on.

– No league team comes close to Barça’s 4,181 attempted passes, with 3,704 of them completed successfully. Madrid have attempted 3.056.

– Xavi Hernández is the league’s leading passer (530), whilst Xabi Alonso is Madrid’s, with 434.

– Tito Vilanova’s team are the side with most goals scored in the last quarter of an hour -9 – but Madrid have yet to concede in the final fifteen minutes.

– 11 of Barça’s 17 goals have been scored by a left foot – and 4 of the 5 they have conceded have also come from left footers.

– Víctor Valdés has made 12 stops to Iker Casillas’ 10, with both keepers conceding 5.

– Barça have committed 53 fouls and been handed 10 cards, whilst Madrid have made 75 and received 12 yellows and one red card. Adriano has committed most fouls for Barça (6) and Ramos the most for Madrid(17).

– Piqué and Busquets have both picked up 3 cards, whilst Xabi Alonso, Arbeloa and Pepe are the men with most cards for Madrid (2).

(Information provided by Opta Agency)

 

Potential audience of 400 million

Una audiència potencial de 400 milions d’espectadors / FOTO: ARXIU FCB
Mediapro, the company in charge of production and distribution of the TV signal for Sunday’s Clásico, estimate that the game will attract a worldwide audience of 400 million

The Barça-Madrid game will be shown live in more than 30 countries on well known channels such as Sky Sports, Al Jazeera Sports and ESPN

A total of 500 media professionals – including producers, technicians and commentators – from more than 30 TV companies will be at the game

The Clásico will once again be the centre of worldwide media attention this Sunday and Mediapro, the company which will be producing and distributing the TV signal for the match, is expecting that a total worldwide audience of 400 million viewers will watch the game live.

More than 30 countries

More than 20 TV companies from all over the world have applied to personalise the production , which is a new record, and in total 30 international TV stations will be showing the match. The game will be broadcast across the globe in Europe, Asia, North America, South America, Central America and Africa; from China to the USA, in Japan, Korea, Thailand, Mexico and many more countries.

A total of 500 international TV professionals, including producers, technicians and commentators, will be at the Camp Nou on Sunday to provide the best possible service.

Mediapro coverage

Mediapro itself will be providing 300 professionals to cover the match, with eight mobile units, including a 3D team and 34 cameras, one of which is a Super Slow Motion camera, inside the ground.

FC Barcelona, best start in Europe

Barça's goal  / FOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
FC Barcelona are the only team in Europe to have won all their league and Champions League games so far this season – having taken three points from all eight games.

Tito Vilanova’s team are the only team in Europe to have won all of their league and Champions League games so far this season – six in the domestic competition and two more in Europe. Only Bayern Munch come near to Barça, but the win on Tuesday away to BATE Borissov dented their 100% record.

Other European big boys, such as Chelsea or Juventus, are leading their leagues, but both have dropped points in their own leagues and in Europe.

Record on the horizon

Barça are comfortably ahead in both the Spanish and Champions Leagues, with their only defeat in 10 official games coming in the return leg of the Spanish Super Cup and Tito Vilanova’s team are on their way to achieving the best ever start to a league season, with a win in The Clásico on Sunday set to take them past the records set by the sides of Bellamy, Cruyff, Van Gaal and Guardiola. Ho faran si guanyen el Clàssic de diumenge.