Andoni Zubizarreta: “We weren't looking for the draw, our intent is to always win”

Zubizarreta / PHOTO: Archive - FCB
“We’re a Club that is used to difficult times, but we never give up,” says FC Barcelona’s director of football

“We have to recover from this match because we face Deportivo next week,” explains Zubizarreta

After the 2-1 defeat to Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu, Andoni Zubizarreta said that “we weren’t looking for the draw” and that Barça’s intent “is always to win.” Zubi went on to say that “in a competition you sometimes win and sometimes your competitors do” and he added that “the Liga is very long and we’ll try to overcome these circumstances.”

FC Barcelona’s director of football, when asked who performed the best for Barça this afternoon, said “I rarely talk about who was the best player and who was the worst, but Valdés played exceptionally well, as did other players.” In addition, he noted that “Messi participated, but we weren’t able to link up with him in the second half.”

Lastly, Zubizarreta commented that “we’re a Club that is used to difficult moments, but we never give up. We always compete, that’s our history.”

Real Madrid – FC Barcelona: The Clasico comes just at the right time

Just five days after their Cup KO, the latest Clasico gives Barça the chance to take a massive step towards the league title

Xavi (hamstring) is Barça’s most important missing player

The timing of the second Clasico in five days is just right for Barça to put Tuesday’s defeat (1-3) behind them and recover the brilliant league form they’ve been showing all season. A win at the Bernabéu – where Roura’s team could easily have won the first leg of their Cup semi-final which ended in a 1-1 draw – would be a massive step towards confirming the league title, with second place Atlético currently second, 12 points adrift, and Real a distant 16 points off the pace.

Bad timing for Madrid

In contrast, the game comes at just the wrong moment for Madrid, who three days later travel to Old Trafford to face Manchester United for a place in the Champions League quarter finals. After the 1-1 draw against Sir Alex Ferguson’s side at the Bernabéu, Mourinho seems certain to give priority to his team’s trip to England, with the league leaders already well out in front and rest a number of key players.

Xavi out

Apart from any tactical decisions, Madrid will be without Di María who is suspended, whilst Barça will be without Xavi who has a hamstring strain, as well as Abidal, Montoya and Dos Santos, who Roura has left out of his 19-man squad for the game. Víctor Valdés seems sure to return to the starting 11 and Roura may also make other changes from Tuesday’s team.

This is the sixth Clásico of the season and it provides the perfect opportunity for Barça to once again stamp their authority on a league competition they are already dominating.

Real Madrid v FC Barcelona: Did you know?

Lionel Messi / PHOTO: ARXIU FCB
Barça are back at the Bernabeu – a ground they’ve not lost at in the league for four seasons, with three wins and a draw to their name

The team boast the largest ever distance between them and Real before a game at the Bernabeu – 16 points

Just a few days after their Spanish Cup meeting, Barça and Real Madrid face each other in a league clash at the Bernabeu on Saturday, with the visitors a daunting 16 points ahead in the competition – the biggest ever distance between the two ahead of a clash in Madrid.

There are plenty of other interesting facts and figures surrounding the game, for instance, did you know………?

– Whatever the result, Barça will come away from the Bernabeu with their biggest ever lead over Madrid following a game at the home of their great rivals – 13, 16 or 19 points.

Barça are unbeaten in their last four league visits to the Bernabeu, with three wins and a draw.

– A win or a draw on Saturday would equal their best ever run of results away to Madrid set between 1969/70 and 1973/74.

– Barça have lost just three times in the league in the last 10 years at the Bernabeu.

– Barça have won a total of 17 times away to Real Madrid in the league and five of those wins have come in the last ten years.

Jordi Roura was in the Barça team who went to the Bernabeu in the 1990/91 season, but he didn’t actually play.

– Madrid have gone 24 games without defeat at home (20 wins and 4 draws) following their 1-3 defeat by Barça in December 2011.

Leo Messi has scored in three of Barça’s last four trips to the Bernabeu in the league.

Messi broke the record of scoring in ten successive away games and has now scored in each of Barça’s last 15 league games.

Xavi has provided the assist for three of Messi’s last four goals away to Madrid.

Cristiano Ronaldo has scored four times in the last four meetings between the two teams and bagged 10 of Madrid’s 20 goals against Barça over the last two years.

FC Barcelona arrive in the Spanish capital

The team arrived in Madrid this evening at 20.30. Kick off against Real Madrid is scheduled for 16.00 tomorrow afternoon

FC Barcelona arrived in Madrid at 20.30 this evening. The team went directly to the team hotel upon arrival to Barajas Airport.

Jordi Roura’s 19-man squad does not feature Xavi Hernández, who has been sidelined for 10 to 15 days with a hamstring injury. Eric Abidal, Montoya and Dos Santos also stayed in the Catalan capital. Before this evening’s trip to Madrid, the team completed one last training session. Kick off against Real Madrid is scheduled for 16.00 tomorrow afternoon.

President Sandro Rosell, as well as the vice-presidents Josep Maria Bartomeu and  Carles Vilarrubí; treasurer, Susana Monje; Secretary and spokesman, Toni Freixa; and members of the Board of Directors Jordi Moix, Eduard Coll, Joan Bladé, Javier Bordas, Silvio Elías, Manel Arroyo, Josep Ramon Vidal-Abarca and Ramon Cicero accompanied the team to the Spanish capital.

Azulgrana RoundUp, Week 22 – The Clásico

Messi FCB - Madrid Copa del Rey / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
The Catalan and Spanish press predict Madrid will make big changes to the side it presented on Tuesday, while Barça will be without Xavi, who is injured

This Saturday, at 16.00, Real Madrid will host FC Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabéu for the second Clásico of the week. As the two teams ready for yet another showdown – this time in the league – the attention has turned to what changes will be made by Jordi Roura and José Mourinho from the match played on Tuesday.

No Xavi; Messi recovers

FC Barcelona sent out a starting lineup led by Xavi Hernández and Leo Messi against Real Madrid on Tuesday in the return leg of the Copa del Rey. Unfortunately, the vice-captain won’t be able to notch up another appearance against Madrid as the Club officially announced this afternoon that the midfielder will miss tomorrow’s match due to injury. However, Messi, who missed yesterday’s training session due to illness, has shown signs of a speedy recovery. “I haven’t talked to Messi in person, but the Club’s Medical Services keep me up to date [on his fitness],” says Jordi Roura, according to the Catalan daily ‘Sport‘. “Messi had a fever but I think he’s nearly recovered. Let’s hope that his recovery is perfect and that he doesn’t have any problems,” says the Roura. In addition, the Catalan manager adds: “when you have the best player in the world, it’s obvious when he doesn’t score. It’s just anecdotal if he doesn’t score in two or three matches. We have complete and total confidence in Leo, it’s ok if he goes a couple of matches without scoring.”

Big changes in Real Madrid’s squad

Meanwhile Real Madrid, who take on Manchester United at Old Trafford just days after tomorrow’s match, might make significant changes to the squad it presented at the Camp Nou on Tuesday, says the Madrid-based daily ‘Marca‘. The Clásico “will be a very interesting test for Kaká and Benzema,” declares the daily. “If the Brazilian or the Frenchman have a good showing against Barcelona, Mourinho would be forced to consider putting them in the team for the match at Old Trafford.” The daily goes on to say that Higuaín will probably be benched to make room for one of the two players.

As’ goes a step further and declares that Cristiano Ronaldo, who netted twice against the Blaugrana on Tuesday, will watch tomorrow’s match from the bench. “Cristiano will want to play against Barcelona. However, Mourinho will reserve the player ahead of next week’s important Champions League match,” says the Madrid-based daily.

Speculation aside, the only confirmed absence for Madrid is Ángel Di María. The Argentine will fulfill his one-match ban after he was given his marching orders last week in the game against Deportivo de la Coruña.

“A 19-point Clásico”

Bouncing back to form after a painful defeat is never easy. However Francesc Aguilar, who writes for ‘Mundo Deportivo‘, declares: “Barça should not fall in the trap of devaluing tomorrow’s match [due to the existing 16-point difference between the two sides]. On the contrary. Tito Vilanova’s men have a chance to pay Madrid back for Tuesday’s defeat in the Cup.” Opening the gap to 19 points would certainly give the Blaugrana the morale boost they need “especially with the match against Milan coming up in a couple of weeks.”

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