Cesc: “We have the necessary weapons, talent and technique to beat them”

Cesc / PHOTO: ARCHIVE FCB
“We have to be Barça, valiant, score goals and be solid all over the pitch,” said the midfielder

In the pre-match press conference ahead of the Champions League quarter-final, Cesc Fàbregas was optimistic about his team’s chances of progressing after the 1-1 draw at the Camp Nou. “We have the weapons, talent and technique to beat them,” he declared. He added: “We’ve been working hard and we’re ready to compete. The team is very motivated and ready, I’m sure we’re going to have a good game.”

According to the midfielder, “Atlético are one of the strongest teams when they are trying to preserve a 0-0. They close their lines, and they know what they’re doing.” He admitted that the four previous games between the two teams have been “tough and even” and that he doesn’t expect tomorrow’s game to be any different. “They have a small advantage thanks to the 1-1 from the first leg. We have to start the game with our heads held high and compete well. We want to bring joy to our fans,” he said.

“We have to be a great Barça”

Cesc was clear: “We have to be Barça, valiant, score goals and be solid all over the pitch. We have to be a great Barça in order to get to the semis.” He added: “We’re fighting on three fronts and we will fight until the end. Tomorrow is a crucial game.”

When asked about his personal performances, the midfielder said: “I really want to step up. I have had small problems this month but now I’m as strong as ever.”

Zubizarreta: “We want to be at our best” #AtletiFCB

Zubizarreta with the media before the trip to Madrid / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
The sporting director of FC Barcelona stressed that, despite the precedents of being so equally matched against Atletico Madrid, each game throws up its own circumstances

Andoni Zubizarreta spoke to the media before taking the flight to Madrid. “Do we have a good chance? Without doubt! We’ll leave the bookmakers to decide who are the favourites. We are going there knowing what we have to do. Our idea is  to be at our best and on Wednesday night get back on the plane knowing that we are in the semi-final draw. It’s obvious that Atletico Madrid have the same idea” the Barça Sporting Director said.

Although the precedents this season against Atletico have seen the teams so equally matched, Zubizarreta left the door open that we might see a different match:  “Up to now there has been very little difference but each match throws up it’s own circumstances and can be very unpredictable. A Champions League match is not the same as a Supercup game. We’ll see what happens in this game”.

Total support from the Board

Asked about his personal situation, Barça’s sporting director focussed on the support received by the Board: “If we had all been in the meeting we’d know why the nuances between the members might be slightly different. For me, the most important thing is what Manel Arroyo said  on Monday, and to have the full support of the Board, which is how I have always felt. Similarly, I also regret that my name was in the news on Monday, instead of focussing attention on the Referendum for the New Espai Barça, which really is a core element for the future of the Club”.

Finally, with regard to Pinto’s future, Zubizarreta said the following: “The conversations with Pinto have been very clear and there was transparency on both sides, and we all know what situation we find ourselves in. We have to carry on working, being aware that the football scenario can change almost every week”.

Barça are on their way to Madrid

Messi, Pinto and Alba, on the trip to Madrid. PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB.
The first team took off from El Prat Airport at 11a.m. for their one hour flight to Madrid

New Outfit

The Barcelona squad are wearing a new Nike outfit on this trip to Madrid. They’re wearing a sweatshirt carrying the letters FC Barcelona, a shirt with the slogan “More than a Club”, and comfortable trousers with an elastic waistband. It’s a very comfortable and attractive outfit for this very special occasion.

The Barça first team are on their flight to Madrid, where on Wednesday they’ll take on Atletico in the return leg of their Champions League quarter final. The plane took off at 11 a.m. from El Prat airport for the one hour flight to the Capital.

Heading up the Barça expedition is the President Josep Maria Bartomeu, accompanied by Vice Presidents Javier Faus, Carles Vilarrubí, Jordi Mestre and Manel Arroyo, Directors Susana Monje, Toni Freixa, Jordi Moix, Jordi Monés, Pilar Guinovart, Javier Bordas, Silvio Elías and Dídac Lee, and Sporting Director Andoni Zubizarreta.

It’s worth remembering that Gerardo Martino has called up 21 players. Once in Madrid, Barça will get together at the hotel and later they’ll train at the Vicente Calderón at around 6.30 p.m.