en, application, interactive_carousel
The team have league, cup and Champions League games between November 22 and December 20
FC Barcelona will be kept very busy indeed once the international break is over. Between November 22 and December 20, less than a month, they have nine games in La Liga, the Spanish Cup and the Champions League. That averages out at one game every 3.2 days.
In the space of just nine days, Barça host Sevilla (Saturday 22) and travel to Nicosia (Tuesday 25) and Valencia (Saturday 29). In other words, one week to play two of the leading clubs in this season’s Liga and a match in between on which much of Barça’s hopes of finishing top of their Champions League group are hanging.
That’s followed by the first Copa del Rey match of the season, at Huesca (Wednesday 3), and two home fixtures at the Camp Nou. And these are not any old games. The first is the city derby against Espanyol (Sunday 7) and the second is the crunch Champions League match against current group leaders PSG (Tuesday 10).
The last road trip of the year is to Getafe (Saturday 13), as was also the case in 2013. After that Huesca visit the Camp Nou for the second leg of the cup tie (Tuesday 16) followed by Cordoba (Saturday 20) in the final game before the Christmas and New year break.
The 213 members who requested tickets for the game between APOEL and Barça in the Champions' League on the 25th of November will all be able to travel to Nicosia
This Tuesday at 7PM (CET) the deadline passed for ticket requests for the game between APOEL FC and FC Barcelona on Match Day 5 of the Champions' League which will take place on the 25th of November in Nicosia. Since the process was opened on Monday, members have requested 213 tickets, grouped in 79 applications - as such all members who wanted tickets will be able to travel to see the game.
Given that there were fewer requests than tickets available (816), the draw that was planned for this Wednesday now will not be necessary.
This will be the first time that Barça visit the GP Stadium in Nicosia where APOEL play their home games. It will be the blaugranes third official game in Cyprus and their first since 1996.
Barça's rivals for top spot in their Champions' League group PSG beat leaders Marseille to move within one point of Bielsa's side in the league
Barça next opponents in Europe APOEL Nicosia held at home by bottom side Doxa Katokopias
Barça's rivals for first place in Group F of this season's Champions' League, Paris Saint Germain, recorded an important 2-0 victory over league leaders Marseille in the French League at the weekend. Goals from Lucas Moura and Cavani gave Laurent Blanc's side a valuable three points at the Parc des Princes and moves them to within a point of the side who are coached by former Argentina and Athletic Bilbao man Marcelo Bielsa. PSG meet Barça at Camp Nou in the final group game of the Champions' League on the 10th of December.
APOEL trip up against bottom side
Before facing the Parisian outfit, Barça have to face APOEL away in Nicosia. Giorgos Donis' team were held to a goalless draw against bottom side Doxa Katokopias in a game in which APOEL could not find a way through a well organised visiting defence in the GSP Stadium. The draw leaves APOEL still top of the table with four point lead over second place Apollon who they will face before their home game in Group F against FC Barcelona on the 25th of November.
Ticket requests for the match in Nicosia on November 25th now open until Tuesday the 11th at 7PM CET
Requests are exclusively for members, and must be made through the website
Beginning todaY Monday the 10th November at 10AM (CET) and through the following day, November 11th until 7PM (CET), Club members can make their requests for tickets to the UEFA Champions' League match between Apoel Nicosia and FC Barcelona in Cyprus on Tuesday, November 25th at 8.45 PM CET.
Requests are only available to Club members, who must fill out the online form in the members page of the FC Barcelona website. Each member may make only one request, but one form can include up four requests, for those members who wish to go together.
1,200 tickets available
For this match, FC Barcelona has 1,200 tickets at a price of 110 euros each. As is normal, 85% of these tickets will be distributed to members, with 816 available, and supporters clubs, with 204 available. The remaining tickets are set aside for commitments to sponsors and other institutional and Club uses.
Draw on November 12th
Requests will be processed once the window for making them has closed. If there are more requests than tickets available, there will be a draw on November 12th. The Club will immediately get in contact with the winners to charge the cost of the tickets and to give instructions for picking them up.
We would like to remind you that members under six years of age may not make ticket requests for away games. Also, one credit card can be used for a maximum of eight ticket requests. Tickets can only be picked up by the member who requested them. If this is not possible, you will need a letter of authorisation with the name and ID number of the person to be making the pick up. This person can only pick up a maximum of eight tickets for other people.
Messi equalling the all-time Champions League goalscoring record grabbed all the headlines in Amsterdam. Here's a look at some of the other stories behind Wednesday night's stats.
- Messi’s two goals against Ajax equalled Raúl’s all-time Champions League record of 71.
- Barça had twice as many shots as Ajax. The Dutch had seven (one on target and one hit the woodwork), while Barça had 14, eight of which were on target.
- Barça got three yellow cards, all in the first half.
- After four games, Barça are through to the second round with two more games in hand. Paris Saint-Germain also secured qualification by beating Apoel.
- Only three players started last night’s match that also started last year’s UCL fixture at the Amsterdam Arena, namely Xavi, Neymar and Mascherano.
- Xavi covered the most ground against Ajax, 11,195 metres. He was followed by Sergio Busquets with 11,032 and Luis Suárez with 10,605.
- Barça have set a new record for Champions League away wins, with 41, thus surpassing the 40 wins for Real Madrid and Manchester United.
- Last night, the Amsterdam Arena witnessed Barça’s first win in Holland of the Champions League era.
- Barça have not failed to make it through the group stages of the Champions League since 2000/01. That’s fifteen consecutive seasons.
- Xavi made his 150th Championjs League appearance, including qualifying matches.
The other side of Barça's win at Ajax
PSG and FC Barcelona have secured places in the last sixteen with two games in hand
The French and Catalan clubs will now fight it out for the all-important top spot in the group
Tonight’s matches decided which teams will be going into the last sixteen from Group F. Paris Saint-Germain won 1-0 against APOEL at the Parc des Princes, while Barça got the better of Ajax, 2-0, at the Amsterdam Arena. PSG stay top of the group with 10 points and FCB are one behind on 9. That leaves the Dutch (2) and Cypriots (1) out of contention, and the best they can now hope for his third and a place in the Europa League.
For the two qualifiers, there is still the matter of winning the group to decide. And it’s no small matter, because it means avoiding any of the other seven group winners in the second round draw, as well as playing the second leg at home.
Laurent Blanc’s side entertain Ajax in Paris in their penultimate match, while Luis Enrique will be taking his side to Cyprus on Tuesday November 25. The most likely scenario is that things will go down to a direct encounter on December 10 when PSG come to the Camp Nou. If the two sides finish level on points, top spot will be decided on the two teams’ head-to-head record, with PSG currently 3-2 up following their win in Paris.
The FC Barcelona manager was delighted with the atttiude that his players showed in Amsterdam on Wednesday night
"Messi is the best player I have ever seen" he said after the Argentinian scored both goals to equal the all-time UCL record
Naturally enough, Luis Enrique was all smiles after his side defeated Ajax 2-0 to ensure passage to the last sixteen of Europe’s premier club competition. "It is important to have qualified with two games in hand” he told his press conference. “I’d like to stress the way the players behaved. I have no complaints about their attitude tonight.”
The first half didn’t see Barça getting too many chances, but they did get the only goal. And the man who scored it, Leo Messi was described by his coach as “the best player I have ever seen. Without a shadow of a doubt.”
“Nothing happened in the first half that can’t happen in a football match” he continued. “We usually dominate in attack, but that wasn’t the case tonight. But we combined better in the second half and were able to recover the ball as far away from our own goals as we could. That’s what we’d been trying do from the start, but things don’t always work out.”
This was the first time that Messi, Neymar and Luis Suárez had played together in Europe. "We have so many different possibilities in attack” said Luis Enrique. “We know that Neymar and Luis can play in different positions, and their responsibilities change depending on whether we have the ball or not. I like the fact that we’ve got alternatives, that we’ve got variants. We have some very high quality players.”
Although Barça are now guaranteed a place in the second round, the Asturian knows that it’s important not to relax, because being one of the eight seeds makes a huge difference in this competition. Moreover, "the win qualifies us, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still be self-critical. There are still things we could be doing better. My players know that I’ll always demand nothing but the best from them.”
The midfielder was impressed with the way team reacted in the second half
He felt that the team deserved a win that proves there's no need to change the team's style just because they lose a match
Following Wednesday night’s 2-0 win at the Amsterdam Arena, Xavi Hernández said that “the team needed this win … We were the best team in the second half. We had more of the ball and felt more comfortable. In the first half, they put a lot of pressure on us up front. But that’s the Champions League. They’re a tough opponent and it’s a hard ground to come to. We knew that from last year … But I’m delighted with the three points, they’ll boost the team’s confidence”.
“The team made its style felt in the Amsterdam Arena. It’s the same style as the last few matches, and it’s not one we’ll change just because we lost a game. We won and we deserved to win”.
Xavi was also asked about how Gerard Piqué spent the whole 90 minutes on the bench. “Piqué is a very important player in this team” he insisted. “But Luis Enrique is the one who decides and he decided this was a game for other players. But he’s obviously going to be getting more chances, that’s for sure”.
From now on we have to keep working to carry on the same way” he concluded. “This result was a huge boost for the team”.
Marc Bartra, Ivan Rakitic and Javier Mascherano also made comments in the mixed zone after the match:
“I kept my faith in the move that set up Messi for the first goal. I know I could get to the ball before the keeper”.
“We take the past into consideration. We knew we got things wrong and got things right. This win will give us confidence for the Champions League and La Liga”.
“It was important to win to ensure qualification and that was a huge step forward for us”.
“I just keep working, and as long as I keep doing that, I’ll get my chances. Personally I’m happy and very pleased with the way I played”.
“Generally, that was a very complete job. We knew we didn’t win here last year and so we worked hard to win this time. I’d agree that early on we had some difficult moments but we worked hard and deserved to win”.
“At half time we analysed the things we were getting wrong and that helped in the second half. That’s part of football. Ajax played some strong football in the first half”.
“It is always important to carry on like this. We’ve just had a difficult week. Thankfully, there’s a new game every two or three days and we’ll need to keep working for the next few games”.
“It affects me the same way it affected me when I started on the bench against Eibar and against Madrid. But I always say it’s up to the manager to decide and what’s best for the team is what’s best for me”.
“I’m happy with the win. We knew perfectly well the team did a lot of good things, but we are also aware that we need to improve. We’re on the right track and hopefully this will all serve for the future”.
“Ajax controlled the ball in the first half and if they didn’t generate situations of danger, they did generate situations of control. We found it hard to adapt, but then Messi scored and we felt calmer. We knew we’d just lost two games, and what our opponent was doing started creating doubts among the team. So, it’s very important that we were able to win this game”.
“It’s huge that Messi has equalled Raúl. That shows what Leo Messi is doing as a player. He’s equalled a legend like Raúl, such a historic player, and he’s still only young. We know that he’s got a long future ahead of him and that’s very important for Leo Messi”.
A look back at the main stories we've covered in the build-up to the Champions League match at the Amsterdam Arena
The two sides have met in only three official matches
Barça have won twice in seven matches in the Netherlands
Ajax and Barça are set to play in tonight's fourth group stage match in the UEFA Champions League. Let's take a look at some of the more interesting facts surrounding the clash.
- This is the second time Barça is playing Ajax in Amsterdam Arena in an official match.
- In fact, the first and only time they have played there was last season, with Ajax winning 2-1.
- Ajax have played 16 times against La Liga opponents in Amsterdam, with 8 wins, 3 ties, and 5 losses.
- Barça have played 7 times in Holland versus Dutch sides in European competitions, and have 2 wins, 3 ties, and 2 losses.
- The last time Barça beat a Dutch side in the Netherlands was in 1996 in a 3-2 win over PSV Eindhoven in the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup
- Ajax are unbeaten in four straight home Champions League matches.
- Since losing in the last UCL match to Barça, Ajax have won their last three.
- Barça won the 1997 Cup Winners' Cup in Rotterdam after beating Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 under the leadership of Sir Bobby Robson.
- Tonight's managers, Luis Enrique and Frank de Boer, were Barça teammates from 1999 to 2003.
- Barça has lost two straight away Champions League matches. They haven't lost three straight away since 2005.
- Ajax haven't won in their last four Champions League matches.
- The top three all-time Champions League scoring leaders are Raúl (71), Cristiano Ronaldo (70) and Messi (69).
- Barça have scored in all but 1 of their last 29 group stage matches.
- The Catalans lead the tournament with a completed pass rate of 90.6%.
The striker made it clear in the pre-match press conference ahead of the game against Ajax in the Champions' League that he is looking forward to making his European debut for Barça
He made his debut in the Bernabéu and he played against Celta; he created Neymar’s goal against Real Madrid and he worked tirelessly against the Galicians. Little by little Luis Suárez is finding his feet at FC Barcelona. Now it is time to turn attentions to the Champions’ League – against no other than Ajax, the team with whom he made his debut in the competition. “I feel good, looking forward to playing and is always the case for professionals. This game brings back good memories.”
In his appearance before the press in Amsterdam ahead of European debut for Barça, the Uruguayan looked back on the importance of his time with the Dutch club. “I have made it clear on several occasions that my time at Ajax was the best thing I could have done in my career,” he revealed. “It taught me to grow and it gave me a lot from a footballing perspective. It gave me the chance to play in the Champions’ League. When I was there I said it was my dream to play for Barça and now those circumstances have come about.”
The Barça number ‘9’ cleared up any doubts about the additional pressure of returning to European competition against his former team. “At Barça we are always obliged to win, but I look at this game like any other, even though it is important because we have to keep fighting to qualify, even more so after two defeats.” Now it is time to show “we are capable of turning the situation around.”
Amongst the many positives of playing at the club of his “dreams”, he highlighted playing with Leo Messi: “the best player in the world”, according to the Uruguayan. “It’s a source of great pride to have the unique opportunity to play with him,” he said. And not just with Messi, with “any of my team mates, because you can learn from all of them; all the players have that understanding.”
The Barça coach is optimistic going into the game against Ajax even thought he admitted that "there is always pressure"
Luis Enrique and Luis Suárez both appeared before the press in Amsterdam ahead of their date with Ajax in Group F of this season’s Champions’ League. The Dutch side showed themselves to be capable of beating the blaugranes with a win in the Amsterdam Arena last season in the same competition. Luis Enrique is awaiting a “a valiant Ajax” due to their situation in the group, the fact that the sides only recently met at Camp Nou and due to the defeat in the group stage last year. Despite significant changes to both squads, Luis Enrique admitted he had looked at that match “to get a few ideas.”
After recent negative results, Luis Enrique confirmed that “being able to compete again after just three days is positive” and he added that he felt his players were “relaxed going into the game.” Following on from that he added that “we are used to the pressure”, and that winning in the Amsterdam Arena “would be a giant step forward with regards to making it through to the last 16.”
Ahead of the game against Ajax, the coach from Gijón explained that as in all games his side will want to take the initiative and “be better than their rivals” as well as warning: “I am looking to improve the team’s performance. As of now, I am optimistic given what I have seen from the players.”
Luis Enrique reminded everyone of something he has said often since arriving as coach. “We want to unpredictable, but by being ourselves, not making it up,” he explained, adding that “we are looking to best Barça possible”. The coach did not give clues about the starting 11 for the game in the Amsterdam Arena but he did reveal that “each player due to their qualities adds something different to the team.”
Luis Enrique and his 20 players have arrived in Amsterdam for Wednesday's game with Ajax
Vice-president Manel Arroyo is leading the travelling party
Luis Enrique and his squad of 20 players have arrived in Amsterdam for Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Ajax (8.45 PM CET). The plane touched down at Schiphol Airport at around 1.00 PM CET, after which the players were transferred directly to the Sofitel Le Grand Hotel.
The group are being led by vice-president Manel Arroyo. President Josep Maria Bartomeu will also be attending the match but is flying out on Wednesday. Other directors joining the team are Jordi Moix, Silvio Elías, Dídac Lee and Josep Ramon Vidal Abarca.
Training and press conference
As usual on the day before a Champions League match, the team will be training at the venue itself, in this case the Amsterdam Arena. That will be happening at 7.00 PM CET. Just before, at around 6.15 PM CET, Luis Suárez and Luis Enrique will be giving an official press conference.
Players sporting Nike Air Max 1
For the first time, the players were wearing Nike Air Max 1 trainers, which can be personalised with different designs and technologies, including the option of including the FC Barcelona crest.
The 3-1 loss a fortnight ago reminded the Ajax coach how hard it is to beat FC Barcelona
But he is confident that his players will show no fear on Wednesday evening
Ajax Amsterdam manager Frank De Boer spoke to the press today about his second meeting with FC Barcelona in less than a fortnight, commenting that he does not believe that the 3-1 scoreline from the first game will condition his approach on Wednesday night. "We need to have respect for any team, but that doesn’t mean we’re scared” he said. “We always play confidently, whether that’s in training or league matches, and now we have to apply the same to the Champions League.”
Last year, Barça lost 2-1 at the Amsterdam Arena, but the circumstances were very different as the Catalans had already qualified. De Boer believes that to win this time “we’ll have to play the best game in our history. Last year we didn’t let them breathe. So let’s see what happens tomorrow. We have nothing to lose.”
The game will also mark the return to Amsterdam of Luis Suárez, who was at Ajax for three and a half years. "Suárez will think of the Arena being partly his own stadium” commented the Ajax boss. “This is where he started making a name for himself.”
FC Barcelona have won twice, drawn three times and lost twice on the road against sides from the Dutch Eredivisie
On Wednesday, FC Barcelona are playing their eighth European fixture away to a side from the Dutch championship. To date, they have a record of two wins, three draws and two defeats.
The last trip to Holland was in last year’s Champions League, when they lost 2-1 to Ajax, the same side they’ll face this week. The only other defeat in Holland was on March 29, 1978, when PSV won 3-0 in the UEFA Cup semi-finals.
The most common result in these seven games has been draws. There have been three, one at Feyenoord in the 1974/75 European Cup (0-0), one at AZ Alkmaar in the 1977/78 UEFA Cups (1-1) and one at PSV Eindhoven in the 1997/98 UEFA Cup (2-2).
Last win in 1996
PSV Eindhoven, the Dutch side that has crossed paths with Barça the most times, was the last team that the Catalans beat in Holland. That was back on March 19, 1996, with Johan Cruyff on the bench for a 3-2 win in the UEFA Cup with goals from Zenden, Figo and Sergi. The only other Barça win was also 3-2, away to NEC Nijmegen in the second round of the 1983/84 Cup Winners Cup.
Don’t know where to watch Wednesday’s Champions League game? We have you covered
Wednesday's match at Amsterdam Arena will face FC Barcelona against Ajax in the fourth game of the group stage of Champions League. The following is a guide of TV channels showing the game around the world. If the game isn't being shown in your country or region, remember that you can listen to live commentary in English on Radio Barça and the international web sites. There will also be constant updates here at fcbarcelona.com, on Twitter (@fcbarcelona) and on all of the club's usual social networks.
Wednesday, november 5, 2014
Los Angeles – 11:45 AM (WST) / Nova York – 2:45 PM (EST)
Fox Soccer Plus, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Deportes Radio, Directv, SiriusXM FC, Fox Sports 1 USA, WATCH ESPN, Fox Soccer 2Go, Fox Sports GO
FC Barcelona: @fcbarcelona i www.fcbarcelona.com
Brasil – 5:45PM (Brasilia)
South America – Buenos Aires 4:45 PM / Santiago Chile 4:45 PM / Mexico City 1:45 PM
France – 8:45 PM (CET)
beIN SPORTS CONNECT, beIN Sports 1
Russia – 11:45 PM (MSK)
NTV+ Football 2, NTV+ Sport Online
FC Barcelona: @fcbarcelona and www.fcbarcelona.com
Thursday, novembre 6, 2014
India – 01:15 PM (IST)
Ten HD, TEN Sports LIVE
FC Barcelona: @fcbarcelona and www.fcbarcelona.com
China – 3:45 AM (CST)
CCTV 5+ VIP, QQ Sports Live, Sina Sports, CNTV Sports
FC Barcelona: Tencent Weibo, Sina Weibo and www.fcbarcelona.cn
Australia – 5:45 AM (Sydney)
FC Barcelona: @fcbarcelona and www.fcbarcelona.com
*Source: Live Soccer TV
The FC Barcelona midfielder knows that it's still early days in La Liga
“We've had a bad week" he accepted. "What we want to do now is turn things around"
Sergio Busquets has used his Monday morning press conference as call for calm, and insists that it’s too early for people to start jumping to conclusions about the team. “This has only just started” he said. “We were leaders a week ago, now we’re not. Let’s hope we can turn this around because that’s the whole squad wants”.
Painful losses to Real Madrid and Celta amounted to what Busquets admits has been a poor week, so “it’s only normal that there’s some debate and for people to analyse things through a magnifying glass. When you lose you have to improve because there are clearly things you’re not getting quite right. We are always self-critical, whether we win or lose. We have keep working to improve, there’s nothing else we can do.”
The Catalan also believes that the game with Ajax presents an ideal opportunity to start making up lost ground. “Hopefully we can put an end to this poor run” he said. But he hasn’t forgotten that Barça lost 2-1 a year ago in Amsterdam. “They came out strong and were all over us at the start of the game” he remembers. “With the sending off and our goal, everything changed. I hope it doesn’t happen again.”
He also rejected the suggestion that he’s having groin trouble. “They’re all rumours” he insisted. “I’m fine. I did have an injury in that area, but I’ve been fine for some time now. I’m just doing a few preventative exercises”.
Barça's next opponent in the Champions League beat Dordrecht 4-0 to stay in the fight for the top spot
Ajax dominated Eredivisie basement dweller Dordrecht on Saturday by a score of 4-0, getting in a nice tune-up ahead of their coming clash with Barça. With the win, Ajax drew within one point of leaders PSV Eindhoven, pending PSV's match on Sunday.
Paris Saint-Germain keep on winning
PSG is trying to catch the leader of their league, Marcelo Bielsa's Olympique de Marseille, as well. The Parisians came back to beat Lorient 2-1 on Saturday afternoon thanks to g goals from Cavani and Bahebeck.
APOEL crush Ethnikós Áchnas (4-0)
Meanwhile, APOEL faced Ethnikos Áchnas on Saturday. APOEL is the current leader of the Cypriot First Division and showed why in a clear 4-0 win. The game was completely dominated by Nicosia, with goals from Sheridan, who had two, Nektarios and Manduca.
Both strikers have scored in each of FC Barcelona's last five games
The Brazilian has ten goals season and the Argentinian has nine
Any team would be pleased to know that their striker has found the net in five consecutive games. But at Barça’s it’s even better. Both Leo Messi and Neymar Jr have achieved the feat, scoring 13 goals between them. Here’s a selection of other stats from the 3-1 win over Ajax on Tuesday night.
Neymar has scored ten goals this season and is followed in the FCB ranking by Messi with nine.
Messi has scored 69 goals in the Champions League, the same as Cristiano Ronaldo. The race is on to see who gets to top Raúl González’s all-time record, which is just two goals away.
Leo Messi was substituted by Munir after 65 minutes, meaning Ajax was the first game this season in which he didn’t play the full ninety.
Of the 25 goals that Neymar has scored for Barça, ten of those have been to put the team ahead.
Sandro scored his third goal for Barça and his first in the Champions League. His previous victims were Villarreal (0-1) and Levante (0-5), both away from home, so this was his first ever competitive goal at the Camp Nou.
Only four players have started all three Champions League games this season: Ter Stegen, Dani Alves, Messi and Neymar Jr.
Rafinha came on for the last 19 minutes to get his first football since the 1-0 win over APOEL.
Pedro was the only Barça player to get booked last night, and has now got yellow cards in his last two games for Barça.
The attendance at the Camp Nou was 79,357 spectators. That’s the second best figure of the season, only topped by the 80,181 that watched the game with Athletic Bilbao.
The Colombian former keeper believes the game between Barça and Real Madrid is a dream fixture and he feels they are the two most in form sides at the moment
He also praised the quality of Claudio Bravo and Ter Stegen who face their first clásico this Saturday
The Colombian former goalkeeper Faryd Mondragón has said that the clásico is the game that “the whole world wants to see”, adding that “they are the two most in form sides at the moment”.
With regards to the team’s current form, Mondragón is convinced that “Barça are a serious side who have gained that defensive solidity that they have lacked recently”.
Furthermore, he praised the form of the club’s goalkeepers and he stated that Luis Enrique “does not need to worry about Claudio as he is an excellent goalkeeper with many qualities”. He went on to highlight the fact that “his performances have not surprised anyone as he did well with Real Sociedad and in the World Cup, and now he has a phenomenal start to the season”.
He also mentioned Marc-Andre Ter Stegen: “I saw him play against Ajax and I liked him with the ball at his feet”, something that Mondragón feels “has developed in an extraordinary way” and he believes strongly that “this is thanks to Barça”.
Playing for the blaugranes back in 1999 there were figures such as current coach Luis Enrique. The Colombian looked back on his experience playing against Barça both for Zaragoza and Galatasaray with whom he claimed a 2-2 draw in Camp Nou in one of his two visits as the Turkish club’s goalkeeper.
He recalled his side playing for a place in the quarter finals of the Champions’ League in Turkey. Luis Enrique scored the only goal of the game which gave Barça the victory. Finally, he added that “it was always difficult coming up against a side who played such good football, with so much quality, it was very tough”. However, he added that “it was always an honour to play at Camp Nou”, which he described as a “footballing temple”.
The Colombian, who in July became the oldest player to play in the World Cup at 43 years of age, faced Barça at the end of the 1990’s as Real Zaragoza’s and later Galatasaray’s goalkeeper. After more than 20 years as a footballer he is now in the process of making a documentary about his life and his sporting career.
Pressure, Neymar, Iniesta, Ter Stegen and the substitutions were all talking points from Tuesday's game
- Neymar: 10 goals in 10 games. Could we have asked for a better return from the Brazilian? He’s proving magnificent at finding the target under pressure and he and Messi between them are tearing defences apart. The Argentinian has set Neymar up for exactly half of his goals this season, including a wonderful assist tonight. At his press conference, Neymar said he wanted to score against both Ajax and Real Madrid. That’s half the job already done.
- Pressure: Barça put so much pressure on Ajax in the first half that the Dutch side barely crossed the halfway line. With Bartra and Piqué threading the ball out to the midfield, Rakitic and Mascherano using their physicality to perfection and the three strikers working as a unit, two goals in 23 minutes meant they could go in at half-time in a very comfortable position indeed.
- Iniesta: In his 101st Champions League appearance, he was a worthy captain. He led the playmaking and connected well with the men in front of him. The finest example was his assist to Messi for the second goal. In the 38th minute he almost scored a beauty but Cilessen managed to get his fingertips onto the ball, and he got a well-deserved ovation when he was substituted.
- Ter Stegen: The goalkeeper was buoyed by the supporters from the very first minute. Although very little came at him in the air, Ter Stegen had plenty of chances to show that with the ball at his feet he’s practically a sweeper and the first line of the Barça attack. The accuracy of his long passes was especially impressive and there was nothing he could so about the Ajax goal.
- Substitutions: With just four days to go before the Clásico, Luis Enrique decided he could rest Messi, Neymar and Iniesta, sending on Sandro, Rafinha and Munir instead. The three youngsters all made contributions, and Sandro even got the goal that settled the result. It was especially important for Rafinha to get his first run-out since September 17 against APOEL.
The Brazilian full back told the ‘El Marcador’ show on Barça TV how confident the players are feeling head of the Madrid v FC Barcelona showdown on Saturday.
“We are assimilating the boss’ ideas very well” he said. “We have a very clear idea about what we want”
Dani Alves was as straight-talking as ever on the ‘El Marcador’ show on Barça TV tonight. “We live for games like this” he said when asked about the forthcoming Clásico. “Who would we be without games like this? We’re always checking the fixture list to see when they are.”
So what does think will happen on Saturday at the Santiago Bernabéu? “I wouldn’t say we’d win for sure, but neither would I say ‘crikey!’” he said in his typically jovial manner. “I’ll just say that we’ll rise to the occasion. You don’t need anything extra for these games. These games are the difference between someone who plays for Barça and someone who aspires to play for Barça. When I was playing in Bahía, I dreamt of playing in games like this. It’s an honour for me to be in a squad that gets to play games like these.”
He claims that there is no shortage of confident in the FC Barcelona squad right now. “We are assimilating the boss’ ideas very well” he said. “We have a very clear idea about what we want. And we seem to be getting better and better.”
Dani Alves also spoke about his decision in the summer not to leave Barça. “I am very happy to stay here” he explained. ”Because when I make life decisions I like to know I got them right. I am happy with my decision because we work here the way I like. It’s very intense and that’s what gives us the edge.”
As for his future, he said that “every now and again unfounded rumours come out of Brazil. There have been no conversations between my people and any team. If anything does happen, then I’ll be the first to say so.”
The Argentinian admitted that the game was difficult, but that's only to be expected in the Champions League
Iniesta, Neymar, Rakitic, Pedro and Bartra also responded positively to a game in which the most important thing was to ensure the three points
After beating Ajax 3-1, Leo Messi commented that “we could have scored more goals to sentence the game. After that, things got a bit more difficult, but this is the Champions League against strong teams.” As for the substitution, he wished to clear up that “a lot has been said these last few days but Luis Enrique is the manager and can take off whoever he wants”.
Luis Suárez ready to go
Luis Suárez will be free to play in the clásico and Leo Messi says that “we’re all looking forward to him, he’s an incredible forward and he’ll help the team in attack … I am very happy to have him here with us because he’s gone through a difficult time without being able to play in any matches”.
No thoughts for Zarra
As for breaking Zarra’s record “that’s the least important matter. The important thing is to play well, and hopefully win … There is a lot of league left to play but we’ll try to win and play the best we can”.
Neymar also spoke to the press, saying “I’m very happy with the way the team played. We played good football and it was a great win. We are doing the best we can for this team”.
Andrés Iniesta added that “Barça had a great game. We needed this win after losing in Paris … Ajax pushed forward more in the second half. They created more danger and we found it harder to keep the ball. But luckily we were able to sentence the match with the third goal”.
Along similar lines, Ivan Rakitic offered that “the team couldn’t quite control the ball in the second half, but other than the goal there was no other danger in our area … We are doing things right and working hard to get better … We can feel proud of ourselves”.
And Bartra admitted that “in the second half we had to run more because they were playing better, but we managed to win through in the end”.
Next challenge, the Bernabéu
Iniesta does not think the team was distracted tonight because of the game at the Santiago Bernabéu for “the most important thing was today’s game, where we desperately needed the three points”.
But turning to Saturday, Rakitic said “we’ll try to play the best we can. We’ll try to go out strong. We’re ready for it, we want to do well and win”.
As Pedro added “we’re going into the game in fine form. We are all hoping for a great game”.
Finally, Marc Bartra agreed that “both teams are arriving in excellent form. We can feel pleased with the way things are going. We’ll try to play our best football at the Santiago Bernabéu and come away with the win”.
Ter Stegen: "I want to be the goal keeper for Barça"
This is only the third time that the two clubs have met in an official encounter
Barça have never lost at home to a side from the Eredivisie (4 victories and 3 draws)
Barça and Ajax are to face each other on Tuesday night at 8.45 PM CET in the third round of matches in the Champions League group stage. Here’s some background trivia to warm you up for the game.
- Barça and Ajax are meeting for only the third time ever in a competitive match. In the first two meetings, in last year’s UCL, they got one win each.
- Barça won 4-0 in the first official meeting between the two historic clubs on September 18, 2013.
- Barça’s overall balance against Dutch teams is 6 victories, 6 draws and just 2 losses. At home, the stats are even better: 4-3-0.
- Ajax have failed to win their last eight Champions League road games. Their last away win was in Zagreb in October 2011.
- Ajax have lost on six of their last seven visits to Spain. The other game was a draw.
- Ajax are in an eight-game unbeaten streak. They haven’t lost since August 31, when Groningen beat them 2-0. However, their last three games have all been draws.
- Luis Enrique and Frank de Boer will be rival managers on Tuesday night, but they played together for Barça between 1999 and 2003.
- As players, they faced each other in the Champions League in 1995/96. That was when Luis Enrique was still at Real Madrid, and the Dutch side won 1-0. Just a few months later, Luis Enrique moved to Barça.
- The referee will be William Collum of Scotland. This is the second time he has whistled a Barça game. He also officiated at the Camp Nou for the visit of BATE Borisov in 2011/12 (4-0). He has never taken charge of an Ajax match before.
Luis Enrique has named his FC Barcelona squad for Tuesday's Champions League fixture
Sergio Busquets has a hip injury and has been left out as a precautionary measure
As usual, the Barça manager has left it until the day of the match to announce his squad, which will consist of the following eighteen players: Ter Stegen, C. Bravo, Montoya, Piqué, Rakitic, Xavi, Pedro, A. Iniesta, Messi, Neymar Jr, Rafinha, Mascherano, Bartra, Jordi Alba, Dani Alves, Samper, Sandro and Munir.
Sergio Busquets has a hip injury and has been kept out of the game as a precautionary measure, while Mathieu, Vermaelen, Sergi Roberto and Masip have all been dropped. Luis Suárez is still suspended and Adriano and Douglas are injured.
The team trained this morning at the Ciutat Esportiva in preparation for this evening’s game with Ajax, kick-off at 8.45 PM CET.
All look back at the main stories we've covered in the build-up to the Champions League match at Camp Nou
Once again, UEFA is using the third day of the Champions League group stage to express its desire to kick racism out of football
A number of actions will take place in association to the game at the Camp Nou, including the two teams and the officials posing for a picture behind a banner saying 'No To Racism'
On Tuesday, the day of the game between Barça and Ajax in the Champions League, the Camp Nou will once again be supporting UEFA and its campaign to say No to Racism. A number of actions before, during and after the match will be helping to raise awareness of the need to end racial discrimination in football. This is the 14th time that such an initiative has been organised.
UEFA’s campaign forms part of the FARE (Football Against Racism in Europe), a European network that is working to eradicate racism around Europe. UEFA has arranged no fewer than eight actions for this week’s games in the Champions League and Europa League.
Just before the players come out for the game, a banner will appear on the pitch saying No to Racism/Respect. The children being escorted onto the field by the players and officials will be wearing shirts with the same slogan. The last player out for each team will carry a banner saying No to Racism /Respect, which will also feature when the sides pose for their official team photos.
The teams will then combine for a joint picture along with the referees, with the same logo, which will also be featuring on the captain’s armbands. A number of messages will also be announced of the stadium tannoy and the UEFA promo film, involving some of the biggest names in European football, will be shown on the video scoreboard.
Don’t know where to watch Tuesday’s Champions League game? We have you covered
Tuesday's game at the Camp Nou will face FC Barcelona against Ajax in the third game of the group stage of Champions League. The rival, Ajax, has not yet met the victory and is in the third position of the group with 2 points. The following is a guide of TV channels showing the game around the world. If the game isn't being shown in your country or region, remember that you can listen to live commentary in English on Radio Barça and the international web sites. There will also be constant updates here at fcbarcelona.com, on Twitter (@fcbarcelona) and on all of the club's usual social networks.
Tuesday, october 21, 2014
Los Angeles – 11:45 AM (WST) / Nova York – 2:45 PM (EST)
Directv, Fox Soccer 2Go, Fox Sports 1 USA, Fox Deportes, Fox Soccer Plus, SiriusXM FC, Fox Sports GO
FC Barcelona: @fcbarcelona i www.fcbarcelona.com
Brasil – 4:45PM (Brasilia)
Sud-amèrica – Buenos Aires 4:45 PM / Santiago Chile 2:45 PM / Mexico City 1:45 PM
França – 8:45 PM (CET)
beIN SPORTS CONNECT, beIN Sports 1
Rússia – 10:45 PM (MSK)
FC Barcelona: @fcbarcelona i www.fcbarcelona.com
Wednesday, october 22, 2014
Índia – 00:15 PM (IST)
Ten HD, TEN Sports LIVE
FC Barcelona: @fcbarcelona i www.fcbarcelona.com
Xina – 2:45 AM (CST)
CCTV-5, Sina Sports, PPLive, CNTV Sports, QQ Sports Live, CCTV 5+ VIP
FC Barcelona: Tencent Weibo, Sina Weibo and www.fcbarcelona.cn
Austràlia – 4:45 AM (Sydney)
ESPN2 Australia, ESPN3 Australia
FC Barcelona: @fcbarcelona i www.fcbarcelona.com
*Source: Live Soccer TV
The Brazilian looked ahead to an important week in which FC Barcelona face Ajax and Real Madrid
He also agreed that he's feeling much more settled than he did last season
Neymar was asked today whether he would prefer to score against Ajax in the Champions League or against Real Madrid in Saturday’s clásico. But why choose? He wants to score in both games. And with the Brazilian firing in goals from all angles this season, there is no reason to believe that that won’t be the case.
Speaking at his Monday lunchtime press conference, he preferred to skip around questions regarding the trip to the Santiago Bernabéu, correctly insisting that all that should matter for now is Ajax at the Camp Nou on Tuesday. “It is a very important game because we need to win” he stressed. “At FC Barcelona we always play to win. But Ajax are a very well organised team both in attack and defence. They’re dangerous all over the place. We will have to do things very well to win. And only after that will our minds turn to Madrid".
Neymar has scored eight goals in La Liga and one in the Champions League this season, a considerable improvement on his return at this stage of his first season at the club. He’s also providing assists, to the extent that he has been involved in the vast majority of Barça’s goals in the ten games he has started. “I don’t know what’s changed, but I feel better now” he said when asked to explain this turn for the better. “I have adapted to the team more. I feel more at home. And I’m very happy at this club. Very happy.”
Neymar also seems to have developed a wonderful understanding with strike partner Leo Messi. "It’s incredible to play with him” he commented. “I think he’s the best player I have ever seen play” And from next week, Luis Suárez will be added to the mix. "With Suárez, I think we’ll be able to do even more for the team” said the Brazilian. “He always seems to play for the good of the team and every player. We are really looking forward to him playing with us.”
The manager stressed the importance of winning at the Camp Nou and called on the fans for their support
“Ajax is a well structured team" he said. "They know how to attack and take risks in defence"
Luis Enrique knows that Barça need to win all their home games in the Champions League, because with just six games to play, the group stage doesn’t leave much margin for error. “After winning one game and losing another, the third game is very important” he told his press conference before Tuesday night’s game with Ajax, which kicks off at 8.45 PM CET. “Home games are the key to qualification. We’ll need all of the fans’ support
”But Ajax are a difficult opponent” he continued. “We’ll need to play a complete game. They’re a well-structured team that knows how to attack and to take risks in defence. They create a lot of pressure out of defence. Last season they made things very difficult indeed for Barça.”
For the time being, he would rather not comment on Saturday’s trip to the Santiago Bernabéu. “The only important game that we have right now is the one with Ajax” he insisted. Rather than call this a ‘decisive’ week, he preferred to use the adjective ‘important’. “It’s what happens come March that I would call decisive” he said.
Asked about Sergio Busquets’ fitness, Luis Enrique limited himself to saying “we’ll see how he feels on Tuesday morning and whether he is in condition to play.” And as for Luis Suárez, the FCB manager commented that “he is a very important player in training sessions. He places a lot of importance on his day-to-day programme. He’s getting better every day.”
The Ajax manager commented on his FC Barcelona past and on his admiration for Leo Messi
“It is hard for any team to get points here" he said. "We'll try using our style and confidence"
Frank de Boer is back at the Camp Nou in search of better fortune than his last visit as Ajax manager, when the Dutch lost 4-0. He’s also back at the club where he played from 1999 and 2003, in the same team as colleague turned rival Luis Enrique: “I have very fond memories of him” said de Boer. “He was the second captain and was a good lad both on and off the pitch. He was a fighter and a winner, an example as a professional”.
So he is more than aware of how tough it is to play at the Camp Nou. “It is hard for any team to get points here" he said. "We'll try using our style and confidence. We have a very young team and they need to learn how to play games like these.”
Frank de Boer is one Leo Messi’s many admirers, telling his pre-match press conference that “He’s broken so many records. It’s incredible because he’s still so young. For me, he’s the best player in the world, not just because of the goals he scores but also because he gives assists. He’s very complete.” And as for Luis Suárez, he said “I like that fact that he’s at Barcelona, because he’s fought hard and ever since he was at Groningen he has tried to get better every year”.
De Boer left the pressroom to head straight for training with his Ajax players in the Camp Nou. As he confirmed to the media, he’s missing all of Serero, Boilesen and Fischer to injury.
In February 2012, five current Ajax players were in the Miniestadi for the NextGen Series quarter final
Striker Viktor Fischer got two of the Dutch goals that day
The FC Barcelona team included Samper, Grimaldo, Dongou, Bagnack and Patric
Barça host Ajax at the Camp Nou on Tuesday night at 8.45 PM CET, after the two sides met in a competitive match for the first time ever this time last year. But their respective U19 sides met back in 2011-12 for the quarter finals of the NextGen Series, with Ajax owning the Miniestadi to the tune of a 3-0 win.
Some of those Ajax youngsters are now in the first team, and are therefore back in Barcelona to play on the other side of the road, inside the Camp Nou itself.
FCB midfielder Sergi Samper was also involved in that game in 2012, and has since made his Champions League debut at the age of just 19 years when Luis Enrique used him for 90 minutes against Apoel. Other familiar faces in the U19 team of two years ago are Grimaldo, Bagnack, Dongou and Patric, all of whom now play for Barça B. Patric also has Champions League experience, and against Ajax no less, in the 2-1 loss at the Amsterdam Arena last year.
Five from Ajax
Five of the current Ajax first team appeared in that NextGen Series quarter final, namely defenders Joël Veltman, Stefano Denswill and Ruben Ligeon, midfielder Davu Klaassen and striker Viktor Fischer. The Dane was the star of the show that day, scoring two goals and setting up the other. Fischer played for the first team last season against Barça at the Amsterdam Arena, after being left out the side that came to the Camp Nou.
Cabaye, ex FC Barcelona man Maxwell and Cavani (pen) on target for the Parisians
Paris Saint-Germain were away to Lens in Ligue 1 action on Friday night and came from behind to take the three points. The current leader of Barça’s Champions League group, who travel to APOEL this week, are provisionally second in the table on 18 points, four behind leader Olympique Marseille, who have a game in hand.
Laurent Blanc’s side were caught napping early on when Coulibaly put Lens a goal up on ten minutes, but Cabaye only took six minutes to get PSG back on level terms. And in the 34th minute, former FCB man Maxwell put his side in the driving seat.
A penalty and red card against Gbamin was the cause of PSG’s third goal, converted by Cavani, who also ended up leaving the pitch for a second bookable offence. And there was more to come, for Lens ended the game with just nine men as it all concluded 3-1 to the defending champions.
The ex FC Barcelona forward extolled Leo's performance over the past ten seasons and said he is still the world's best
Former Barça attacker Ludovic Giuly visited the FC Barcelona Museum and received a commemorative jersey in honour of the Museum's 30th anniversary. He took a guided tour and had his picture taken with the Champions League trophy that he won with Barça in Paris in 2006. The Frenchman played for FC Barcelona for three seasons (2004-2007), winning La Liga twice, the Spanish Super Cup twice, and the aforementioned Champions League.
Giuly has fond memories of his years in Barcelona, and talked about what it was like playing next to Leo Messi and revealing that he was certain Messi would go far: “Leo was just so good both in training as well as the matches that I was totally convinced, I would have sat myself on the bench in a lot of matches so he could play more."
“Messi has things that other players don't have, he's a superstar, with natural ability, he's an unbelievable player, the best in the world, and I knew it 10 years ago when I was here."
Giuly recalled that Messi couldn't play in the final in Paris due to injury, divulging that "the entire team supported him; we knew he was very young and had a bright future, and it was true. He has played in two Champions League finals and won them both. He has more titles than me."
The team has played nine matches so far, winning seven, drawing one and losing one
FC Barcelona is leading La Liga after seven games
FC Barcelona started the season strongly. Nine official matches: seven wins, two draws and just one defeat. We look back to review what has so far given it the course. The leadership in both the league and Champions League matches, certificant renewed air of equip conducted by Luis Enrique.
See here all nine games information
First round of Champions League:
Second round of Champions League
Season 2014 - 2015iCal
Champions League - Round 5 - F Tue 11/25/2014 20:45
League - Round 13 Sun 11/30/2014 21:00
Copa del Rey - 1/16 1st leg Wed 12/ 3/2014 22:00