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Sales will open next Tuesday, first of all exclusively for club members
Sales of Champions League group stage tickets will open next Tuesday 10 September from 10.00 AM CET. The three visitors to the Camp Nou will be APOEL Nicosia, Ajax Amsterdam and Paris Saint Germain.
On the first day, only non-season ticket holding FC Barcelona members will be able to purchase these tickets, and get a special 20% discount on the cost. They day after, September 3, and also at 10.00 AM CET, sales will be open to the general public.
They will be available for purchase via www.fcbarcelona.com or www.ticketmaster.com, by phoning 902 18 99 00, from official FCB stores, Barcelona Tourism Information Centres, FNAC, Carrefour and the club ticket offices.
FC Barcelona’s Champions League 2014/15 campaign kicks off at the Camp Nou against Cypriot side APOEL Nicosia on September 17, with the price of tickets ranging from 39 to 114 euros. On the third day of competition, October 21, the guests will be Ajax, and tickets for that game will range between 49 and 139 euros. The group closes with FCB at home to French side PSG on December 10, tickets costing between 59 and 159 euros.
PSG, Ajax and APOEL will be visiting the Camp Nou in the first phase of the 2014/15 Champions League
FC Barcelona learned on Thursday evening that their 2014/15 Champions League bid will commence in Group F, which they’ll share with Paris Saint Germain, Ajax Amsterdam and Apoel Nicosia, the respective league champions of France, Holland and Cyprus.
Paris Saint Germain
The winners of the last two editions of French Ligue 1 last faced FC Barcelona in the Champions League quarter finals two years ago. A gripping affair ended 3-3 on aggregate, with the Catalans progressing by virtue of the away goals rule. The game is also a re-edition of the 1997 Cup Winners Cup Final in Rotterdam, also won by Barça, 1-0 thanks to a 38th minute Ronaldo penalty.
Barça’s squad that 1996/97 season included French defender Laurent Blanc, although he was forced to sit out the final through injury. The same man is now into his second season on the PSG bench, and he’s not the only connection between the Parisian outfit and FCB. Sweden’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic joined Barça from Inter Milan in 2009, and Brazilians Thiago Motta and Maxwell also spent time in the Catalan capital. The PSG squad contains two other big names from Brazil, David Luiz and Thiago Silva, plus other top quality players of the calibre of Lavezzi, Cavani, Marquinhos, Matuidi and Cabaye.
Barça and Ajax had never met each other in a competitive match until they were paired together in the group stages of last season’s Champions League. Under Tata Martino, Barça had few problems beating the Dutch 4-0 at the Camp Nou, but were beaten 2-1 at the Amsterdam Arena, albeit after already having sealed qualification from the group.
Ajax have made up for a seven-year spell without touching the Eredivisie trophy by winning the last four editions. Now managed by Frank de Boer, who played for Barça between 1999 and 2003, the squad includes several players that impressed at the World Cup, including goalkeeper Cillessen and defender Daley Blind. As tends to be the case, Ajax have an extremely young side, in which the oldest player, Moslander, is only 30 years old and most of the team were born in the 1990s..
This will be the first ever meeting between Barça and the most successful side in Cypriot football history, APOEL, who famously made it all the way to the Champions League quarter finals two years ago. In fact, it’s only the second time Barça have ever been drawn against Cypriot opposition. The last and only time was the 1996-97 Cup Winners Cup campaign under Bobby Robson, when Barça played and beat AEK Larnaca in the first round.
APOEL made it into the group stages of the competition for the third time by first beating HJK Helsinki, curiously enough just a few days after the Finns had played Barça in a preseason friendly, and then Danish side Aalborg 5-1 on aggregate. The squad includes Spaniard Urko Pardo, who spent three years at La Masia, where he shared a dressing room with the likes of Messi and Iniesta.
The Brazilian full-back, who scored the winning goal in the Champions League final in Paris, and was also World Champion with Brazil, talks about the World Cup and his time at Barça
Stade de France. 17 May 2006. Champions League Final. In the 81st minute of the Champions League Final between FC Barcelona and Arsenal, Belletti receives a pass on the right wing and plays a one-two with Larsson. Belletti takes the return pass, advances on goal and tries a cross shot, which goes through the legs of goalkeeper Almunia and ends up in the net, putting Barça ahead 2-1
The Barça players celebrated wildly in the rain in Paris, and the outpouring of joy extended to Barcelona, in one of the greatest celebrations ever seen in Catalonia. It was the goal that secured Barça’s second Champions League and would immortalise forever the Brazilian defender.
Juliano Haus Belletti (38) won two Spanish League titles, was the hero of the Champions League in Paris, and was part of the great team coached by Frank Rijkaard. All these achievements came after winning the World Cup with Brazil in 2002.
From what we’ve seen so far, do you think that Brazil can win this World Cup?
“I think so, but it won’t be easy. I expected them to suffer against Chile, as they are a great team, but I think that Brazil are getting better, and could well be Champions".
You are one of the fortunate players to win a World Cup. In your experience, what is the most important aspect to winning a competition like this?
"You have to play intelligently, and be focused the whole time, but most important is to improve with very game, especially in a competition as balanced as we are seeing here in Brazil. This is paramount".
What did winning the title mean to you? Did it change your career or your personal life?
"It's a source of pride for family, friends, and everybody in general. It’s priceless. On a professional level it’s also very rewarding. There are great Brazilian players who have never won this title. Very few have won a World Cup and being part of that group fills me with great pride that will stay with me forever”.
When you think about the World Cup, what is the first memory that comes to mind?
"When I went onto the pitch during the semi-final against Turkey, in 2002. A game of this magnitude is never forgotten. I’m from Cascavel (Paraná) and to achieve something like that is very hard".
TIME AT FC BARCELONA
What do you miss most about your time at FC Barcelona?
"Nothing specifically. As a professional, the major part of my career was spent at Barcelona, and everything was special. I can say that I am very proud of having played for this great club, and with such great players".
Why is Barça 'More than a club'?
"Because it wins trophies in all sporting disciplines. On the other hand, for the Club’s way of dealing with the families of the athletes, as it does with real care and in a special way, and also the special attention paid to the players themselves. Everything is done for you, and you only have to worry about playing. This is very important”.
You played with Messi at the start of his career. Does it surprise you how well he’s done and his four Golden Balls won?
"He was a special player, wanting to do something important. It was clear that he would be a great player, but nobody imagined that he would go so far. I must confess that I was surprised, because winning four 'Golden Balls', and maintaining that level for so many years is impressive. Nobody has done that before".
I don’t know if you are aware of what you signify for FC Barcelona. That goal in Paris, Barça’s second Champions League, made you immortal. What do you think about this?
"I remember the fantastic celebrations, some of the largest ever seen in Catalonia, but I’m not really too aware of it, as I live in Brazil and in the end you lose a bit of contact. Anyway, the Club gave me a replica of the Champions League trophy, which I have in my house. It’s very rewarding, because it was a title really tough to win, probably tougher than the ones which came later".
What’s your take on the changes that Barça are undergoing?
"What’s happening now is slightly different from our time. During that time, the problem was losing players. Now, age is the issue and, therefore, it’s an inevitable change. I don’t think that Barça has lost in quality, but the age of the players prevents them from maintaining the level shown in the past, and pressurising the opposition as they did before".
Do you think that Neymar will become an FC Barcelona idol?
"I think the same is happening with him as it did with Messi. In our time, Messi had a fixed position on the pitch. With the arrival of Guardiola, he got more freedom and he became the player he is. I think that Neymar also needs to show his full potential. In the National Team he has total freedom and is the star. In Barça he may well become the same”.
If you had to send a message to the Barça fans who always will remember you, what would it be?
"When I was signed, I just wanted to give enjoyment to Barça and the fans. I never imagined that I would become part of the life of the Barça fans. Having achieved that is a great honor, and fills me with pride. I couldn’t ever ask for more".
A total of 55 teams will feature in the qualifying rounds, and only 10 will advance to the group stage. FC Barcelona are one of the 21 teams that are already qualified for the first stage of the tournament
Luis Enrique's FC Barcelona will kick off its bid to win the title on the 16th or 17th of September
The 2014/15 Champions League is taking shape. A total of 32 teams will feature in the tournament, 22 of which are already qualified for the group stage. FC Barcelona are one of the 22 teams that are already qualified for the group stage. The competition will start on the 16th or 17th of September.
The first games of the competition will be the qualifying rounds (1/2 and 8/9 of July), when the first six teams of the first round will battle it out for a spot in the next stage of the qualifiers. Among these six teams are FC Santa Coloma, from Andorra.
The second round of qualifiers will see 31 teams enter the fray, among them former European champions Celtic Glasgow and Steaua Bucharest. The draw for the first and second round of qualifiers took place this Monday in Nyon, Switzerland. Of the 55 teams that will feature in the qualifiers, only 10 will advance to the group stage.
The group stage will kick off in September and end on the 9th and 10th of December. The Champions League will return in February (17-18 and 24-25) and March (10-11 and 17-18) with the Round of 16. The quarter-finals will be played on the 14th and 15th and the 21st and 22nd of April, while the semi-finals will be played on the 5th and 6th and 12th and 13th of May. The final is scheduled for the 6th of June 2015, at the Olympiastadion in Berlin.
Pep Guardiola's Barça claimed the Club's third Champions League title five years ago today (May 27, 2009)
In the final played in Rome, the Blaugrana defeated Manchester United 2-0 thanks to goals from Eto'o and Messi
This Tuesday, 27 May, is the fifth anniversary of the Champions League title won in Rome against Manchester United. The team managed by Pep Guardiola reached the final thanks to Iniesta’s miracle goal in Stamford Bridge in the second leg of the semi-final tie against Chelsea.
Barça were not able to call on Abidal, Márquez and Alves in the final, but Guardiola’s team deactivated Cristiano Ronaldo, the Red Devils’ biggest weapon. Samuel Eto’o, on 10 minutes, scored the opening goal. 60 minutes later it was Leo Messi who made it 2-0.
That night Barça lifted their third Champions League title after winning the trophy in 1992 at Wembley and in 2006 in Paris. It was Guardiola’s first Champions League in his managerial career and he would go on to win the title in 2011 in another final against Manchester United.
In addition, the title was the final trophy of the historic treble-winning 2008/09 season. It remains the first and only treble won (league, Cup and Champions League) in Spanish football history.
The injury time goal booked Barça a place in the 2009 Champions League Final in Rome
On May 6, 2009 Barça enjoyed one of their most magical European nights in the Club’s history. After a goalless draw at the Camp Nou in the first leg, Barça travelled to London to face Chelsea in the second leg, with a place in the Rome final at stake. It was a tough game and after Essien put the hosts one up after nine minutes, Barça found it hard to get their game into full swing, a situation made even tougher by the sending off of Abidal on 66 minutes.
A Magic Moment
Time seemed to have run out as on 92 minutes Xavi spread the ball wide on the right for Dani Alves whose cross to the far post fell to Eto’o, who was unable to control the ball. Essien cleared, but only as far as Messi who burst to the edge of the box before squaring the ball to Iniesta. The Spanish midfielder fired home a brilliant effort to the left of Cech and Barça were in the final!
That goal set up the 2-0 win against Manchester United in the Rome Final to give the team a treble of League, Cup and Champions League, titles that they went on to add to with the Spanish and European Super Cups and the World Club Cup to round off a remarkable 2009 with six trophies and that Iniesta goal on May 6 at Stamford Bridge was a key moment in that historic year.
A different take on the Calderón game
The last six times Barça have crashed out of the Champions League they have reacted with five wins and one draw
Going out of Europe’s premier club competition has come as a tough blow to Barça, but there is no time to dwell on that, because on Saturday at 8.00 PM CET there’s a crucial league match to be played in Granada.
And if recent history is anything to go by, then FCB have never let disappointment in Europe dent their morale in the domestic championship. Following their last six European exits, the Catalans have responded with five wins and one draw.
Last year, FC Barcelona defeated Betis 4-2 after being soundly beaten by eventual champions Bayern Munich in the Champions League. A year before they responded in even more spectacular fashion to the pain of defeat to Chelsea, thumping Rayo Vallecano, 7-0 away
The year before that, Barça won their fourth European crown at Wembley, while the season before that, they had followed their nerve-racking European exit at the hands of Inter with a 4-1 win at Villarreal. In 2008, it was Valencia who were trounced 6-0 after Barça had been knocked out of Europe by Manchester United. And in 2005, Athletic Bilbao lost 2-0 at the Camp Nou after Barça’s second round elimination at the hands of another English club, Liverpool.
The only recent case of Barça not bouncing back with a league win was the 2006/07 season, when the opposition was none other than Real Madrid. The teams drew 3-3 in a dramatic match that saw a young Leo Messi show just what a legend was in the making by scoring a hat-trick against the eternal enemy.
"It's not that we didn't match their intensity, it's that we were unable to string 4-5 passes together like we wanted to," said the manager
"The team isn't doing well now (morale). We will move forward in the Liga and the Cup," concluded Martino
Gerardo Martino commented in his post-match press conference that his men “were brave. We were brave in that we tried to play like Barça have for the past decade. Playing like this is brave.” When asked about the game against Atlético, Martino said that “the flow of the game was what they (Atlético) were looking for” and “it’s not that we didn’t match their intensity, it’s that we were unable to string 4-5 passes together like we wanted to.”
Domination from the start by Atlético
“We had our chances after Atlético had taken the lead, they had chances too, but if we could have scored it would have been a different game,” said Martino, who added that “all of the games against Atlético have been similar. They score the first goal because they were more intense than us.”
When asked about Leo Messi’s performance, the manager said, “we wanted Messi to engage in one-on-ones with his defender on the right wing. He didn’t have a lot of participation, but he did have two goal-scoring chances. We didn’t base our whole game plan on Messi’s position, we also had Cesc, Neymar and Iniesta.”
Finally, when asked about the morale of his men, Martino said that “the team isn’t doing well now. We will move forward in the Liga and the Cup. The most important thing is to continue competing, we have a decisive game in Granada and next Wednesday we have the Cup final.”
"It's a very hard day for us, but Atlético deserved to win the tie," says Alves
Andrés Iniesta says, "I thank the fans who came out to cheer for us" and "we'll fight for what's left of the season"
Dani Alves said this Wednesday that “it was a very tough day for us” and he added that “we played against a team that has been playing like this for a while and we have to congratulate them. They bet on this style of play and it worked out. They leave the pitch dry, they slow the pace of the game down and they look to get in behind you and hit you on the counter attack.”
The left back explained that the team tried “everything possible to fight back” and that “perhaps we could have scored a goal,” but “Atlético deserved to win the tie.”
The following are statements made by some of the Barça players after the match:
“They were the better team in the opening minutes and after that we took control of the match, but we didn’t know how to get into their area. It’s very difficult to beat a rival (that plays this way), now we have to win the Liga and the Copa del Rey.”
“It’s hard to beat Atlético because of how they play. After 20 minutes, the intensity was the same for both teams. We have to forget about this game and start over. We don’t like to lose these games, especially in a competition like this one.”
“We have to watch the game again, but we had four or five chances that we normally finish. I think the team was brave and deserved to tie and play extra time.”
“We’ve played good games and we could have scored goals in both legs, the tie got away from us because we didn’t take advantage of our chances. I congratulate Atlético Madrid.”
“Atlético deserved to go through because they took advantage of their chances. Like in the first 20 minutes, they pressured us and they took advantage. We tried to score until the end of the game.”
“The Champions League is a very good competition and it’s a shame that we didn’t make the semi-finals. There aren’t many league games left to win the title and we have a final in Granada this weekend and on Wednesday in the Cup.”
“We have to thank the people who came out to cheer us on, we have to fight for what’s left.”
“I think we fought well and in the second half we didn’t give up at any point. The team worked hard and now we have to think about the league and the final of the Cup.”
“We’re sad because we put a lot of effort in. If we win the Cup, the season will have been a good one.”
Four of Barça's last nine results at the Calderon would give them a semifinal place if repeated tonight and one would take the game into extra time
Barça are the competition’s leading passers with 7,401 passes, 6,301 of which have been successful
Barça will have to win or draw 2-2 or more at the Vicente Calderon tonight if they are to make it into their seventh consecutive Champions League semi-final. On three of the previous occasions they’ve drawn 1-1 in the first leg, they’ve won the tie. Below are some more nuggets of information ahead of the game.
- The last time Barça won a tie after drawing 1-1 in the first leg was against Fiorentino in the 1996/7 European Cup Winners Cup, when Couto and Guardiola scored to give them a 0-2 win.
- Barça’s biggest ever win at the Vicente Calderon came in 2007, when they won 0-6 with goals from Zambrotta, Eto’o, Ronaldinho, Iniesta and Messi (2).
- Since that big win, Barça have travelled nine times to play Atletico - four of those results would see Barça through to the semis if repeated, four would send them out and one would mean extra time.
- Howard Webb will ref tonight’s game. Barça have won all three of their Champions League games the English ref has been in charge of, whilst Atletic have won one and drawn one game in which he’s been in charge.
- Simeone can count on Raúl Garcia, who was suspended for the first leg, whilst Insúa, Juanfran and Gabi are one card away from suspension, as are Iniesta and Cesc.
- At the Camp Nou, Tata Martino’s side made 688 successful passes against Atletico’s 236
- Barça are the competition’s leading passers with 7,401 passes, 6,301 of which have been successful.
- Marc Bartra made his first team debut at the Vicente Calderon: on February 14 2010. He also played in last season’s league game in Madrid.
- Neymar will also have happy memories of the Vicente Calderon, it was there that he scored his first goal for the team, in the first leg of this season’s Spanish Super Cup.
- Leo Messi also enjoys the trip to Atletico – he’s scored nine goals on the ground(eight against Atletico Madrid and one against Bilbao in the 2012 Cup Final)
"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.”
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".
The Argentinian manager, who won't be able to call on Arda Turan, explains that Adrian will play if Diego Costa "isn't fit for the game"
"We can't forget that Barça scored four goals at the Bernabéu," says Simeone
In today’s pre-match press conference, Diego Pablo Simeone said that Atlético Madrid will go up against “a very important team” and that one of his best players, Diego Costa, is available to play. “If he’s fit, he’ll play; he’s just doing ok, he’ll be on the bench; if he’s not well, he won’t be on the bench at all. There are three possibilities,” explained the manager.
When asked about the game, Simeone commented that “beyond the fax that we have a small advantage given the 1-1, Barça will not change its style of play. They always try to score and dominate the game. We can’t forget that they scored four goals at the Bernabéu. They are used to the pressure.”
The Atlético Madrid manager then went on to talk about the different styles both teams use: “Each team has its own weapons. They will try to win through their quality, through possession, we’ll look for spaces, and try to counterattack. It’s now of the best games you can see in the Champions League.”
The first team took off from El Prat Airport at 11a.m. and arrived one hour later in Madrid, for the return leg of the Champions League quarter final
The Barça first team flew this morning 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 and landed in Madrid one hour later.
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 went straight to their hotel. They'll train this afternoon at the Vicente Calderón at 6.30 p.m.
Around 2,600 Barça fans will be in Madrid to support the team tomorrow.
Get all the info on the Champions League match between top two teams in the Spanish league. Don't miss out on all the news, interviews, press conferences, photos, and videos
Overview of international TV listings and kick off times for Wednesday's Champions League match at the Vicente Calderón between Colchoneros and Culés
Wednesday night's game at the Vicente Calderón is one of the biggest games of the season, and here's a guide to 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 there will be constant updates here at www.fcbarcelona.com, on Twitter (@fcbarcelona) and on all of the club's usual social networks.
USA – 2:45 PM (EST)
Brazil – 3:45 PM (Brasilia)
South America – Buenos Aires 3:45 PM / Santiago, Chile 3:45 PM / México D.F. 12:45 PM
China – 2:45 AM (Thursday morning) (CST)
United Kingdom - 7:45 PM
Sky Sports 2/HD
France – 8:45 PM (CET)
India – 0:15 AM (Thursday morning) (IST)
Indonesia – 01:45 AM (Thursday morning) (WIB)
Japan – 03:45 AM (Thursday morning) (JST)
Russia – 11:45 PM (MSK)
NTV+ Sport Online, NTV+ Football 2
Spain – 08:45 PM (CET)
Arab countries – 11:45 PM (Mecca Time / GMT+3)
The midfielder hopes that Barça score first against Atletico to see “how they react” to something that hasn't happened in the previous four matches
He was emphatic about the FIFA sanction on FC Barcelona: “It's disproportionate and totally unfair"
Two days before the decisive game at Atletico Madrid in the second leg of the quarterfinals of the Champions League, one of the stars of the Barca squad, Xavi Hernandez, appeared before the media to explain how Barça are facing the challenge. "We hope to go ahead on the scoreboard to see how they react. This hasn’t happened in the previous four games", he said.
The midfielder knows what they’re up against "Atletico cut down the space, it’s not easy to create chances, and we have to be fluent in the game and move the ball quickly. It’s a really tough match". He went on: "We’d have liked to have gone there with a better result, but it all depends on us. We have to win and that benefits us because we’re a team built to attack, but we are facing an opponent who is just the opposite".
"We’re going there with tons of illusion and we’ll try to be ourselves. We’ll have to play really well” he acknowledged.
The game on Wednesday is the first in a demanding schedule. "It's a coin flip and one of us is going to be really disappointed. It’s an important week as the match in Granada will also be tough, and then we have the Cup Final" Xavi said. Thus, Xavi labelled the Atletico match as “more important” than the recent visit to the Bernabeu in La Liga, when there was more margin of error.
On the other hand, Xavi was emphatic about the FIFA sanction on the Club. "In the dressing room, and the Club, we believe that the sanction is disproportionate and unfair. The Masia does everything perfectly correctly and we’ll try to defend it to the maximum. We hope that it all comes to nothing", he said. Despite the initial shock, he said that the group always comes out stronger from set-backs: "We’ve suffered so many blows this season but we still feel strong and competitive. These things unite the team".
Carles Puyol did specific recovery work, whilst Cuenca trained with the rest of the group
Gerardo Martino has called up 21 players for Wednesday’s Champions League quarter final second leg game against Atletico Madrid at the Vicente Calderon.
The team trained in Barcelona this Monday morning ahead of training in Madrid on Tuesday. Carles Puyol, who is in the squad even though he has yet to be declared fit, worked apart from the rest of the squad, whilst Isaac Cuenca worked with the rest of the group.
Today’s session also featured Barça B players Masip, Lucas, Planas, Babunski, Nieto and Espinosa and four Youth A team youngsters, Maxi Rolón, Corredera, Enquene and Fran Álvarez.
The goalkeeper believes that “little things” will be decisive in the return leg of the quarter final tie of the Champions against Atletico
Jose Manuel Pinto was the guest on the Barça TV program ‘El Marcador’ after the 3-1 win against Betis. This is how he summarized the Barça performance: "The feeling is that in the first half we were better than in the second. Maybe we suffered after the physical effort in the Champions League, or maybe Betis were just better in the second half". At the same time, he emphasised the importance of the win: "We're in the final stretch, and every game is vital. Really important" and he added that "There is little room for error and we have to fight right to the last game."
Coming back to the Champions League qualifier against Atletico, the goalkeeper admitted: "The other day was a very hard game, and we had to work very hard. For the return leg we will be in perfect shape". Pinto expects the decisive match at the Calderon to go like this: "It will be very even, just like here. Small details will make the difference. We hope to handle these details the best".
Not thinking about non-sporting issues
In a busy week at an institutional level, the keeper explained how the first team have dealt with recent events. "We try to put them to one side, although it’s true that there is a fairly strange atmosphere, some strange things are going on. We are staying focussed and trying to let these things not affect us in any way, but it hurts what’s happening to the Club".
Finally, the experienced Pinto stated that he was accustomed to pressure even before signing for Barça, in 2008. “Athletes learn to live with pressure, it’s part of the job", he explained
Leo Messi has scored a total of 20 goals against Atletico
Barça have lost just once against Atletico when Messi has scored
Leo Messi is a nightmare for any defence of course, but he’s surely caused more sleepless nights for Atletico Madrid’s defenders than for most. Barça’s Champions League quarter final opponents are one of the Argentinean’s favourite victims with Messi having scored 20 goals against them: 17 in the league and 3 in the Cup, with 12 coming at the Camp Nou and 8 at the Vicente Calderón. This season though, Messi has failed to score in all three games against Atletico... so far!
Another good omen for Wednesday night is that Messi’s goals have also generally proved decisive at the Vicente Calderon, with the team winning on four of the five occasions the Argentinean has got onto the scoresheet. Only the 2008/09 4-3 defeat saw Messi score and the team lose.
25 La Liga goals
Messi is also on a great scoring run right now, with 10 goals in the last 5 league games, which have taken him to 25, level with Diego Costa and three behind Cristiano Ronaldo, who have played two (Costa) and three (Cristiano) games more. All in all, figures that will could spell another nightmare for the Atletico defence when their tormentor in chief steps out at the Calderon on Wednesday night.
Barça has a crucial week ahead with must-win games against Atlético Madrid in the CL quarterfinals (Wed. 8.45 pm) and against Granada in La Liga (Sat. 8 pm).
The pressure is piling up on Tata Martino and his squad with two vital clashed in the CL and the Spanish league in the next seven days. The players will train on Monday and Tuesday with the focus very much on Wednesday’s CL quarterfinal showdown against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday (8.45 pm). Regardless of the outcome, the squad will then have just two days to prepare to take on Granada (Sat. 8 pm) and maintain their challenge for the league title. Sunday will be a rest day.
Monday 7th April
11.00 am. Training at the Ciutat Esportiva
Tuesday 8th April
18.30 pm. Training at the Vicente Calderón
Wednesday 9th April
10.15 am. Set off for Madrid
20.45 pm. Champions League quarterfinal second leg, Atlético Madrid v Barça
Thursday 10th April
18.00 pm. Training at the Ciutat Esportiva
Friday 11th April
11.00 am. Training at the Ciutat Esportiva
Saturday 12th April
9.15 pm. Set off for Granada
20.00 pm. League match, Granada v Barça
Sunday 13th April
Collection of the most interesting photos from yesterday's match against Atlético Madrid
Take a look at the most interesting and exclusive pre and post-match moments from the first leg of the Champions League quarter final between FC Barcelona and Atlético Madrid,
We look at how the FC Barcelona and Atlético de Madrid players spent the build up to the Champions game at the Camp Nou and their post match reactions, after draw 1-1. You can follow the Barça team as they make their way to the Camp Nou, watch the fans arriving and see how the media cover the game.
Barça dominated possession with 71% and had 18 shots - five on target
Xavi made the most successful passes for the team with 111
Dani Alves won the ball back 11 times and made 87 successful passes
Xavi Hernández and Dani Alves topped the stats for Barça against Atletico Madrid, with the Catalan making most passes and the Brazilian one of the players who figured most during the 90 minutes.
Four Barça players won the ball back more than 10 times during the game - Bartra 15 times, Mascherano 13, Jordi Alba 12 and Dani Alves 11. The team as a whole won the ball back 86 times – three more than Atletico.
Barça made 688 successful passes against Atletico’s 236.
Xavi made the most successful passes with 111, followed by Dani Alves with 87 and Busquets with 84. Gabi made 39 and was Atletico’s most successful passer.
Alves and Xavi were Barça’s most active players, with the Brazilian intervening 75 times and the Catalan 78, whilst Gabi was Atletico’s most active player with 44 interventions.
Barça had 71% of possession and had 18 shots, five on target to Atletico’s five shots, four on target.
Whilst Atletico made just six crosses into the box, Barça put in 29.
Atletico Madrid gave no quarter and committed 24 fouls - nine more than Barça and also picked up six yellows to Barça’s two.
Neymar suffered most fouls – seven, whilst Diego was the most sinned against Atletico player, receiving three fouls.
Atletico’s deep lying defence meant that the ref blew not a single offside against Barça’s forwards, whilst the visitors were blown up three times for the same offence.
Barça made 17 successful dribbles - Neymar contributing most with seven, Atletico made three successful dribbles,
The Catalan defender reckoned that Barça improved after the break
Jordi Alba spoke to the Barça TV programme ‘El Marcador’ after the game on Tuesday and made it clear that he's relishing the return trip to the Calderon: "we'll have to go with all guns blazing in Madrid if we want to reach the semis - we'll need to put a really good performance. Atletico Madrid are a tough team to play and we've drawn every game with them so far".
Alba was philosophical about Tuesday’s draw: “on the negative side, we wanted to win and we didn’t, but on the positive side we did play well . We had possession in the forst half, but weren’t able to create many chances, which we certainly did after the break”.
The Catalan also praised Atletico : “it’s true that they make it hard to play against them, they have some top quality players and they never stop running”.
Neymar what could prove a vital equaliser and his teammate backed him to succeed at the Club: “he’s putting in a great season, He looks great to me and he’s a player who’ll give the Barça fans lots to be happy about. The more the other team kick him, the more he likes to take on responsibility”.
Players confident they'll make it through to the semis
"We always play the same way, everyone know how we are going to play and we almost always win," says the manager
After the match, Gerardo Martino said this was “the game against Atlético that rendered the most goalscoring chances” and he was clear that he’s satisfied “with how the team played.” He added: “This is the first time we’ve played with the ‘4 pequeños’ (four small guys: Xavi, Cesc, Iniesta, Messi) [against Atlético]. I don’t think that we have a large set of variants. We always play the same way, everyone knows how we’re going to play and we almost always win.”
He went on to say that “Neymar is more comfortable on the left wing. Playing with four midfielders helps us equal their intensity. In the second half we had more amplitude and depth, more variants going forward,” said Martino, who added that “it was very difficult to get in through the middle. Even more so for Messi, who had a couple of chances that were well saved by the keeper."
“We elaborated our game well”
When asked about his substitution decisions, the Argentinian explained why he didn’t send in Pedro: “At the end of the match we created good attacking plays and that’s why I didn’t send in Pedro, a fourth striker, because I didn’t want to lose creativity in our elaboration of our game.” In addition, he was clear that not getting to the semi-finals “would be a failure.”
Finally, Martino said that the amount of games his players are featuring in should not have a negative effect on the team going forward: “We’re very accustomed to playing every three to four days and I see no reason why we can’t put in a good game against Betis. We have put in a lot of effort, but we’re in a position to keep on going.”
"We will have to be very patient in the second leg, we did enough to win tonight's match," says the midfielder
The one-all draw at the Camp Nou leaves the tie open, according to Xavi Hernández. “It’s wide open. We have to try to score goals there and that will lead us to victory,” said the midfielder. The FC Barcelona captain added that “the result isn’t good for us but Barça played well enough to win.” He added: “We had more goalscoring chances but they are well organised on defence and they don’t leave any space.”
The midfielder went on to say that Barça will “have to be very patient” in the return leg, scheduled for Wednesday 9 April at 8:45 PM CET, seeing that Atlético “are an intense team and it was very difficult for us to find space in the first half. In the second half, we had three or four good chances.” He added: “Unfortunately, they scored a great goal.”
Here are the statements made by some of the players after the game:
“Atlético have a great team and their players can really do damage. We competed against a very competitive side and we had clear chances to make it 2-1.”
“Because of Courtois we’re leaving with a draw. We’ll go to the Calderón to win. If we play the same way we played today, we’ll have our chances to win at the Calderón.”
José Manuel Pinto:
“I’ll have to watch the goal again but Diego pulled off a great shot and the ball went in the upper angle. When you concede a goal like that all you can do is congratulate [the shooter] but you should also analyse the play to see if you could have done something differently.”
“Some of the Atlético players shoot from distance and Diego did a good job. Courtois also made great saves and we didn’t win because of him.”
“Atlético have the advantage but we will not give up until the final minute. I approach each match like I always have, I maintain my excitement and I work hard. I’ve always been ready for my chance and I want to continue to enjoy each day.”
“I hope my goal helps us qualify.”
The defender was subbed off after 10 minutes of play for Marc Bartra
He'll undergo additional tests to determine the extent of the injury
After only 10 minutes of play Gerard Piqué suffered a bad fall. The player asked to be subbed off after he noticed pain in his hip due a pelvic contusion. Marc Bartra came on in his stead. The defender will undergo additional tests to determine the extent of the injury.
The injury problems didn’t stop there. Diego Costa also picked up an injury before the half-hour mark. The forward, according to Atlético Madrid, sustained a hamstring injury.
All the latest news in our minute by minute coverage of the build up to tonight's clash with Atletico Madrid at the Camp Nou
8.10 PM- For further coverage of thebuild up and throughout the game, follow us on Twitter #fcbarcelona - Enjoy the game!!!
8.00 PM - The players arriving at the ground earlier this evening
7.50 PM- The fans are beginning to arrive for what promises to be a magical European night.
7.45 PM -On the bench: Oier, Adriano, Song, Bartra, Sergi Roberto, Alexis and Pedro
7.40 PM- Martino has named his team:
Barça’s starting XI: Pinto, Alves, Piqué, Mascherano, Alba, Busquets, Xavi, Cesc, Iniesta, Neymar and Messi
6.20 PM – There are still tickets available for tonight’s game – you can buy them at the ticket offices or on the internet
6.05 PM – Atletico Madrid are expected to bring less than a thousand fans to the game – and this is where they’ll be coming in.
4.00 PM – Ahead of the directors’ lunch today, Club President Josep Maria Bartomeu sent a message to the Barça fans: “I’d like to ask the members and supporters to give us massive support tonight. We need you - we are playing against the league leaders and tonight is the Champions League!”
2.00 PM– The directors of the two clubs are having lunch together at the Hotel Alma in Barcelona. Barça President Josep Maria Bartomeu, vice-presidents Carles Vilarrubí, Jordi Cardoner, Jordi Mestre and Manel Arroyo as well as board member have been joined by Atletico Madrid President Enrique Cerezo , managing director Miguel Ángel Gil Marín and other representatives of the club.
1.30 PM – The squad have left the Stadium for the team hotel – The Princesa Sofia, where they will have lunch and rest before returning at about seven this evening
12.45 PM - The game at the Camp Nou is one of two Champions League quarter final ties being played tonight, with Manchester United also hosting holders Bayern Munich at Old Trafford. The newly crowned German champions are favourites to go through against a United side who are struggling to face up to life after Sir Alex Fergusson. The first leg games will be completed tomorrow when Chelsea face PSG in Paris and Real Madrid host Borussia Dortmund.
12.15 PM – Final Training Session. Tata Martino is leading his players through their final training sesión at the Camp Nou ahead of tonight’s game.
11:45 AM - When and where to watch the Champions League match between FC Barcelona and Atlético Madrid
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 there will be constant updates here at www.fcbarcelona.com, on Twitter (@fcbarcelona) and on all of the club's usual social networks. Read More
11:17 AM - Champions League: FC Barcelona v Atletico Madrid pre-game
10.00 AM – 80.000 flags! Supporters at the Camp Nou tonight will find a Barça flag on their seats to help cheer the team on - The Club has prepared 80,000 flags for the game.
09:00 AM - Valdés thanks fans for support. The Barça keeper has posted a video thanking the fans for their messages of support following his knee operation in Germany on Monday
08.55 AM - Catalan press round up. Not surprisingly, tonight’s game is the main story on the front pages of the Catalan press this morning. Sport calls on Barça to “Finish the tie off at the Camp Nou”, whilst El Mundo Deportivo reckons the match up is between: “ Barça’s controlled football and the explosive Atletico”. El Nou9 puts a different spin on the game, claiming Barça are up against ”the real rivals this season – they may be facing Real Madrid in the Spanish Cup Final, but it’s Atletico who are the main threat this season”
Get all the news, photos, analysis and stats surrounding tomorrow's match at the Camp Nou between FC Barcelona and Atlético Madrid
Alves warned that the team need to take a step up to beat a "tough to beat" Atletico Madrid
“We have to dominate possession, keep hold of the ball and have plenty of fluidity in our game”.
Dani Alves spoke to the media ahead of tomorrow’s Champions League quarter final first leg at the Camp Nou and although the opponents are also in the Spanish league, the Brazilian insisted: “playing Atletico Madrid is just the same as playing any other big European team and we’ll have to take them very seriously. They are a very tough proposition, but these big games are what we are here for. We are two teams with different styles, but both are equally valid. We’ll have to make a step up if we are to break our record against them this year and to get a good result at the Camp Nou”.
Alves is well aware that Barça have yet to beat Atletico this season and warned: “it’ll be a tough game - not just because of Diego Costa, Atletico have other high quality players and they play with such intensity, it’s hard to master them. We have to dominate possession, keep hold of the ball and have plenty of fluidity in our game. If we have the ball, that limits their opportunities. Most of all, we have to make sure we keep a clean sheet”.
Reflecting on the turnaround in the team’s fortunes over the last couple of weeks, the Brazilian commented: “15 days ago it was as if it was all chaos and the world was about to end, but we showed we are a team who when there was talk of the end of a cycle, we just began another. You can’t let the talk get to you. The way that we work, our ambition and the quality of our players is what defines this team. It sometimes feels as if people are always trying to find a weakness in the team, when we win it’s because of the refs, when we lose it’s the end of an era. Now there’s criticism of the defence, but we are different from other teams and we know we have to take risks if we want to win - it’s that attitude that has made us winners”.
Alves also explained his gestures to the crowd a couple of weeks ago at the Camp Nou: “I got the feeling that the fans had stopped coming to the Camp Nou and I wanted to let the fans know that we have to be united to achieve our objectives. If we want to enjoy winning titles then we need to do work together – us on the pitch and them in the stadium”.
Alves was then asked about his teammates Neymar and Iniesta: “Neymar has adapted here like the rest of us, the criticism has just come about since the details of his contract came out. You should value the work he puts in and what he brings as a player, not how much he cost. People demand more from players who they know can give more and I’m sure Neymar can do that. Iniesta was already a great player when I came here, but now he is even better and for all that he has brought to the game, he, like Xavi, should have won a Ballon D’Or”
Finally, Alves insisted that he was determined to do all he could to stay at Barça: “I’m feeling good and I am working the same as ever. Clubs are run like companies and it’s only normal that they keep an out for alternatives. I want to prove people wrong though – there’s been talk of finding another right back for three years now, but I’ll try and stay here for as long as I possibly can”.
Song is back in the squad after missing derby game with calf injury
Puyol, who's still not got the medical all clear to play, is also in the squad
Barça have named a 21-man-squad to face Atletico Madrid at the Camp Nou on Tuesday evening, with Martino including Pedro – who missed training on Sunday with a tummy bug – and Alex Song – who missed the derby game with a calf injury .
Only the injured Valdés, Cuenca and Dos Santo have not been called up for the game.
Monday morning training
The squad trained at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper this morning and both Song and Pedro took a full part, whilst Puyol trained apart from the rest of the group.
Barça host Atletico Madrid on Tuesday and Betis on Saturday.
The squad will also have five training sessions this week
The team are entering the business end of the season and the first week of April sees two big games, with the visit of Atletico Madrid on Tuesday for the first leg of the Champions League quarter finals (8.45 pm CET), with another key league game against Betis on Saturday(6.00 pm CET), before the second leg in Madrid next week.
The squad will train five times this week, starting with Monday morning’s session at the Ciutat Esportiva. On Tuesday, the players will train at the Camp Nou at eleven in the morning ahead of the game against Atletico Madrid.
There’ll be another morning session (11.00 am CET) at the Ciutat Esportiva on Wednesday, before enjoying a day off on Thursday, before coming back to train on Friday morning. After the Betis game, the squad will begin training for Wednesday’s Champions League second leg game in Madrid, with a training session at eleven in the morning at the Camp Nou.
The Barça and Atletico Madrid midfielders answer the same questions ahead of the Champions League quarter final
With the quarter final first leg set for this week, the Barça and Atletico Madrid midfield generals, Xavi Hernández and Koke, who are teammates for Spain, answer our questions. Xavi admits he wasn't too happy aboout the draw, whilst Koke is looking forward to an exciting tie.
Season 2014 - 2015iCal
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