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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
Exclusive behind-the-scenes footage from before and after Tuesday night's Champions League game at the Parc des Princes
Our cameras were there alongside the first team players for their Champions League trip to France to play Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday. We’ve got exclusive pictures of them as they arrived at the Parc des Princes, including the extraordinary atmosphere in the stadium and several incidents from after the game, including the meeting between some players and their former team-mate Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The other side of the game in Paris
The Brazilian has scored seven goals in as many games this season
Rakitic and Mathieu now know what it's like to play a Champions League game in an FC Barcelona shirt
Neymar scored 15 goals in 41 games last season. This time round, he’s already netted nearly half that amount in just seven outings – a goal a game. Here’s a round-up of other stats and facts that came out of last night’s game at the Parc des Princes.
- Neymar scored his 22nd goal for Barça, and his fourth on the road.
- It was the first time a Neymar goal has served to reduce a deficit. Of his previous goals, ten had been to extend a lead, nine to put Barça ahead, and two were equalisers.
- Jérémy Mathieu and Javier Mascherano won the most balls last night, 16 and 10 respectively.
- Although Dani Alves didn’t stay on to the finish in Paris, he still led the team by quite some margin in passes, totalling 112, considerably more than second-ranked Iniesta with 75.
- Leo Messi is still irreplaceable. He has played all 720 minutes of the season so far.
- Andrés Iniesta made his 100th Champions League appearance against PSG.
- Messi’s 10th minute goal was Barça’s first this season in the first quarter of an hour of a match. Before then the earliest goal was Neymar’s against Granada after 25 minutes.
- Dani Alves got Barça’s first and only, to date, yellow card in the 2014/15 Champions League. He got it for handball just moments before David Luiz scored for the French side.
- Six players that featured last night also appeared at the Parc des Princes on April 2, 2013, FCB’s last visit to PSG. Those players were Alves, Mascherano, Alba, Busquets, Iniesta and Messi.
- Jérémy Mathieu and Ivan Rakitic made their Champions League debuts in a Barça shirt. As was the case for Ter Stegen, Munir and Sandro, it was also their first taste of defeat while playing for the club.
- FC Barcelona have now scored twenty goals in all competitions this season, an average of 2.5 a game.
He admits that the defeat is hard to swallow “but we have to keep doing what we have done up to now”
Andrés Iniesta spoke to the press after the defeat to PSG, saying that “in some phases, they were the better side. You pay dearly for mistakes in the Champions League when your opponents take their goal chances. We reacted when they scored but we found it hard to equalise or turn the game around”.
“It’s tough not to win but we have to keep going” he continued. “It’s not easy to play here in the Champions League. But we need to carry on as we have done until now. Nobody gives anything away for free. We lost but we just have to press on”.
Here are some other comments from FC Barcelona players after the 3-2 loss in the French capital:
“You don’t deserve wins. You have to achieve them. We didn’t start the first half well and we struggled to get into the second. You pay a high price for slight errors in games like these. But we carried on battling in the second half”.
“Defeats are always worrying. We need to improve. We could have got a bit more out of it towards the end. But we have to lift our heads up because this hasn’t finished yet. We need to correct our mistakes and keep improving”.
“Every game is a test for us. We have to carry on doing what we’ve been doing until now. We have to think positively because we have another very hard game on Saturday. We are self-critical every day”.
“This day was always going to come. But we’re convinced by our football”.
The FC Barcelona manager accepted that PSG took their chances and that his own team made errors getting the ball into play
“We couldn't find clear ways to cause damage in the last 30 minutes but I think we should have got a draw" he added
Luis Enrique faced the press after Barça’s first loss of the 2014/15 season, saying that “PSG took their chances and made the most of our mistakes. … I’m not in the slightest bit bothered about losing the lead. I’m worried about getting back the good feelings for the next few games … We made mistakes getting the ball out and that gave away set pieces. When you’re behind in a game, it’s very hard to turn it around,”
He added that “PSG were able to cope with our pressure. We couldn’t find the way to cause real damage until the last 30 minutes and I think we could have drawn.”
He also preferred to divert criticism away from his players, saying that “I am the person responsible for this defeat. It wasn’t my day for getting things right. I’ll try not to do it again or at least do it less … Favourites have to prove that they are favourites on the pitch.”
As for PSG winning, Luis Enrique said “it was no surprise to me. As I’ve said, they’re one of the favourites to win the Champions League”.
All look back at the main stories we've covered in the build-up to the Champions League match at the Parc des Princes
This will be the sixth official meeting between the French and Catalan outfits, and here's some trivia to get you in the mood
- This will be sixth time that Paris Saint-Germain and FC Barcelona have met in an official match. In their previous meetings, they have one win each, while the other three games were all drawn.
- PSG qualified when the two clubs met in the Champions League in 1995, while it was Barça who made it through on away goals in 2013. The Catalans also won the Cup Winners Cup Final in 1997.
- Luis Enrique played in that final in Rotterdam, where Barça won their fourth and final Cup Winners Cup title.
- Current PSG coach Laurent Blanc, known as ‘Le President’, was also in the Barça squad at the time but missed the final through injury.
- PSG have not lost at the Parc des Princes for 29 matches in Europe. They have won 19 and drawn 10.
- The French side have not lost in ten official matches this season (eight in Ligue 1, one in the Champions League and one in the French Super Cup played in China). Barça are unbeaten in seven games.
- Barça have survived for 630 minutes this season without conceding a single goal.
- The three former Barça players in the PSG squad are also the ones that have played the most games in the Champions League: Ibrahimovic (104), Maxwell (72) and Motta (59).
- Barça are led by Xavi (148) and Iniesta (99).
Almost four minutes of behind-the-scenes images of the FC Barcelona players on their way to Paris
The Barça squad travelled to the French capital on Monday, and here’s our exclusive behind-the-scenes footage of the trip. Our cameras followed them from their journey to El Prat Airport and onto the plane, through to their arrival in Paris and coach transfer to their hotel.
The manager claims to be prepared for whatever approach the French side adopt, and expects them to be just as strong despite missing Ibrahimovic
"We'll have to play our very best if we want to win" he added
Luis Enrique knows that Tuesday’s game at the Parc des Princes won’t be easy, and doesn’t think it will be any less difficult just because Zlatan Ibrahimovic is out injured. “My approach will be no different if he doesn’t play” said the FCB manager at today’s press conference. “Any team would miss a player like him, but PSG are still a fearsome and dangerous team. They have resources. They are a candidate to win the Champions League.”
He added that “we are ready for whatever PSG do. Whether they come at us like Athletic Bilbao did, or keep it tight at the back. They’re a team that can play us face to face.”
He was asked how important winning in the French capital would be for his side’s season, but argued that “the aim right now isn’t even to qualify for the knockout round. It’s to keep improving as a team and get to the end of the season in a good position. We can only make an impact in one game. And that game is always our next one. And against PSG we’ll need to be at our very best if we want the three points … We’ll need accuracy and concentration.”
He ended by praising Leo Messi. “I still think he’s an amazing player, a decisive player” he commented. “He’s scoring and giving assists and also doing things he’s perhaps not recognised for so much, like creating pressure and defending. He is the number one in the world in several different aspects of the game.”
The FC Barcelona defender is back in his home country to face Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League
“I wanted to play against Ibrahimovic" he admits. "But his absence is good for us"
Jérémy Mathieu was the player chosen to appear in the pre-match press conference in Paris – the natural choice considering his nationality. But asked whether playing in his home country added to the challenge, the defender replied that “it’s important for me, yes. But there’s no added pressure. It’s a game like any other.” Asked what he recalls of playing at the Parc des Princes in his time in France, he said “I have fond memories. Like the day I scored for Sochaux here.”
He also commented that "PSG aren’t the same without Ibrahimovic. Their game changes … I wanted to play against him but his absence is good for us.” Does this mean that Barça can now be considered favourites? “PSG do have some players injured but they have other players that can come in to play this game, and they’re top quality internationals. But we’re here to go for the three points and I think we can get them.”
Barça have yet to concede a goal this season, and as a defender, Mathieu was asked to comment on that. “It’s a nice challenge to continue the unbeaten run” he said. “With us, defence starts in attack and when everyone does their job it’s so much easier. We’ll try not to let in any goals tomorrow and keep this momentum going.”
Happy with the way he is performing at his new club, the Frenchman said that “I try to do the best I can to help the team. I play like I did at Valencia. It’s the same style and I’m glad that the people appreciate what I’m doing.” He ended with a few words about Leo Messi, saying that “he’s a nice lad. He was very welcoming to me when I arrived and I thank him for that.”
PSG made the announcement on Monday following an examination of the player's injured heel
The Swedish striker, and his colleague Maxwell, reminisce about their time at Barça
It has been confirmed that PSG striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic will not be lining up against Barça at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday night. He has sat out the last two French championship matches with Caen and Toulouse, but it was hoped that he would have recovered from his heel injury in time for the Champions League fixture.
However, following a medical examination on Monday morning, the Parisian club officially announced that the Swede will not be playing.
Ibrahimovic was at Barça in the 2009/10 season, and was very much looking forward to the chance to face his former club. Speaking to PSG’s media, he commented that “playing against Barça is a special moment for me. I had a very nice year at Barcelona and learned a lot both on and off the pitch … Playing Barça in the Champions League is a spectacular situation. It will be a nice experience for us, a great game and I think we’re ready for it ... I hope we get better results than we did last time."
School of tactics
As part of the same feature, Maxwell Scherrer, who played left back at FCB from 2009 to 2011 and is also now at PSG, said that “FC Barcelona was a lesson in football. A school of tactics for me … The club is a football legend. I learned a lot on a tactical level. I arrived at a good time for Barça. We won a lot of titles, the players were amazing both individually and as a team. It was a fantastic time for me. The city is also very nice to live in. It was a great moment, I have very fond memories of it.
The current PSG and Barça managers were both at the Camp Nou in the 1996/97 season
With the two of them in the side, Barça won 22 matches, drew five and lost six
Laurent Blanc and Luis Enrique, the current managers of PSG and Barça, followed very different career paths. The former started out at Montpellier and went on to play in Ligue 1, Serie A, La Liga and the Premier League. The latter only ever played in Spain. But they did coincide for one season at the Camp Nou.
Both players came on free transfers in 1996. The Frenchman, aged 30 at the time, arrived from Auxerre; the 26 year old Asturian from Real Madrid. Laurent Blanc was the first signing of the Bobby Robson era and was officially unveiled on May 20. Luis Enrique’s arrival was announced a week later, on May 27, and he was officially presented on July 23.
Together at the Calderón
Having both just competed at Euro 96 in England, the duo first appeared in the same Barça line-up at the Vicente Calderón in the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup (Luis Enrique had played in the first leg, but not Blanc). That August 28, 1996, Barça lost 3-1 to Atlético Madrid, but it was still enough to win the first silverware of the season.
The two would play a total of 33 games together (23 in La Liga, 5 in the Cup Winners Cup, 4 in the Spanish Cup and the aforesaid Super Cup game). Those matches resulted in 22 wins for FCB, five draws and six defeats, and included the dramatic cup games with Real Madrid (Barça going through 4-3 on aggregate) and Atlético Madrid (Barça coming from behind to win and incredible match 5-4). They were also together when Barça won 5-2 against Atlético at the Calderón.
Laurent Blanc missed the finals of both the Cup Winners Cup (coincidentally against PSG) and the Spanish Cup. At the end of the season he departed for Olympique Marseille. Eighteen years on, and Blanc and Luis Enrique are set to meet again – this time as rival managers.
The French defender spoke to the Club media ahead of Tuesday's game against PSG
Mathieu also discussed Luis Enrique, the Champions League group stage and how it feels to play at the Camp Nou
Ahead of Tuesday’s trip to Paris, Jérémy Mathieu spoke to the Club’s media about the Champions League group stage, his first impressions of working with Luis Enrique, what it’s like to play at the Camp Nou and his take on PSG: “they are a group of players with a lot of skill, but without Ibrahimovic they aren’t the same side”. We will have to be 100% focussed in defence against them because they are full of talent”
For the French defender, Luis Enrique is: “the right coach for Barça. He is very ambitious and is clear about his ideas and how we should play”. As to his feelings about playing at the Camp Nou, Mathieu admitted: “you have to be focussed for 90 minutes. You feel more pressure because you are wearing the Barça shirt”.
The FC Barcelona squad have arrived in the French capital, where they will face PSG on Tuesday night
Andoni Zubizarreta spoke to the media shortly before departure from El Prat Airport
The plane that took the Barça party to Paris left El Prat Airport at 11.00 AM CET and touched down less than two hours later.
President Josep Maria Bartomeu joined the players on the flight, along with vice-presidents Javier Faus, Jordi Cardoner, Carles Vilarrubí and Manel Arroyo, and directors Jordi Moix, Ramon Pont, Javier Bordas, Silvio Elías and Josep Ramon Vidal-Abarca.
The 20-man squad includes Montoya as a late replacement for Douglas, who has a bruised foot.
Before the flight left, Andoni Zubizarreta spoke to the media, saying what an excellent game he expects between PSG and Barça. “This is the Champions League against an important opponent in PSG” he said. “They have a great squad and great players. They’re an important team from an important city. It’ll be a top class match.”
Especially after PSG and Ajax drew the first game in the group, the director of sport refused to accept that Tuesday’s match is a clash between the two favourites to qualify. “The groups have only just started” he said. “After the first three games have been played, then it will be time to get out the calculators. Right now, each team’s destiny is in its own hands.”
Asked to comment on Neymar and Messi, he replied that “I don’t judge forwards by their goals, but by their work-rate, their ability to adapt, their will to work every day, and Neymar is not letting us down in those respects. And Leo Messi is an exceptional player.”
The team will train at the Parc des Princes this evening and Luis Enrique and one of the players will be giving a press conference at around 6.00 PM CET – which we will be streaming live with an English translation on this website.
Luis Enrique has called up 20 players for Tuesday's game against PSG in Paris
Piqué, Jordi Alba and Douglas are back in teh squad, but Montoya and Vermaelen miss out
Luis Enrique announced a 20 man squad for Tuesday’s game in Paris against PSG after putting the players through their paces at the Camp Tito Vilanova at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper this morning. Gerard Piqué, Jordi Alba and Douglas Pereira are back in the squad and B team strikers Munir and Sandro will also make the trip.
The injured Rafinha and Masip again miss out and the boss has also left Montoya and Vermaelen . The full list is: Ter Stegen, C. Bravo, Piqué, Rakitic, Sergio, Xavi, Pedro, A. Iniesta, Messi, Neymar, Mascherano, Bartra, Douglas S., Jordi Alba, Sergi Roberto, Adriano, Dani Alves, Mathieu, Sandro and Munir.
Barça B players Sandro, Pol Calvet, Bicho and Diagne joined in the training session on Sunday morning, whilst Rafinha, Masip and Munir worked apart from the rest of the players and Vermaelen stayed in the gym.
The París Saint Germain coach was at the Camp Nou in the 1996/97 season
After leaving the Club, he moved on to Marseilles, Inter Milan and Manchester United and was a member of France’s 1998 World Cup winning team
París Saint-Germain coach Laurent Blanc spent a season at the Camp Nou, where his skill on the ball, leadership skills and ability in the air left a lasting impression.
Blanc joined the Club for the 1996/97 season – curiously enough, at the same time as Luis Enrique – from Auxerre. At 31, he’d spent most of his career in France, with just a season oat Naples at the start of the 90s.
Five centre halves
Under coach Sir Bobby Robson, Blanc was one of five central defenders fighting for a place in the team, alongside Nadal, Abelardo, Couto and Popescu, but he played a total of 28 league games (with one goal scored), 5 in the Cup Winners Cup, 4 in the Spanish Cup and 1 in the Spanish Super Cup in a season that saw the side take the three Cup titles – though Blanc missed the games in Rotterdam and at the Bernabeu.
After leaving Barça, Blanc ended his career with stints at Marseilles, Inter Milan and Manchester United and was a member of France’s 1998 World Cup winning team.
Supporters travelling by train to the Parc des Princes are advised to allow plenty of time to get through the security and entrance checks, marked with a V on the stadium plan
The almost 900 supporters (about 520 members and approximately 300 supporters club members) that will be travelling to watch FC Barcelona take on PSG next Tuesday in the Champions League group stage should all make sure they know where they have to enter the stadium to get to their seat and be aware of certain security regulations at the stadium in order to avoid any problems on entering the Parc des Princes.
The game kicks off at 8.45 PM CET and all supporters going to the stadium are advised to allow plenty of time to get through the security and entrance checks. The best way to get to the ground is on public transport, preferably by train or metro. Please note that Parisian trains tend to be quite crowded, so make sure you leave in good time to avoid problems getting into the stadium.
Please note that the FC Barcelona supporters will not be located in the same zone that they were in the last time the team played at the Parc des Princes. This time, the FC Barcelona fans will be located in zone V, in the opposite corner to two years ago. The entrance is very close to the ‘Porte de Saint-Cloud’ metro station on line 9, heading southeast from the city centre towards ‘Pont de Sèvres’. But although this metro station is very close to the stadium, the security and entrance checks always delay entry by visiting supporters in the ground.
After Tuesday's second UCL group game against PSG, Luis Enrique's side travel to Madrid to take on Rayo on Saturday
The squad will travel to Paris on Monday and train at the Parc des Princes in the evening
The squad face another busy week ahead of the next international break, with trips to the French and Spanish capitals this week. On Tuesday, Luis Enrique’s side face PSG in the second game of their Champions League group and on Saturday they are in Madrid to face Rayo Vallecano.
The squad fly out to Paris on Monday at eleven o’clock and will train in the Parc Des Princes at seven in the evening, with the game itself due to kick off at quarter to nine on Tuesday evening (all times CET)
The players will be back in training on Wednesday morning at the Ciutat Esportiva, as they begin preparation for Saturday’s game in Madrid. There will also be training on Thursday and Friday, with the squad making the trip to the Spanish capital on Saturday morning for the six o’clock kick off . After seven games in two weeks, the squad will then enjoy a well-deserved day off on Sunday, with the international break meaning the team are not in action again until the visit of Eibar on October eighteenth
Don’t know where to watch Tuesday’s Champions League game? We have you covered
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.
Tuesday’s Champions League game at the Parc des Princes is the first Champions game 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 the international web sites.
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Los Angeles – 11:45 AM (WST) / New York – 2:45 PM (EST)
Brazil – 3:45 PM (Brasilia)
South America – Buenos Aires 3:45 PM / Santiago Chile 2:45 PM / México D.F. 1:45 PM
United Kingdom – 7:45 PM
NOW TV, Sky Go, Sky Go Extra, Sky Sports 1/HD
France – 8:45 PM (CET)
Spain – 8:45 PM (CET)
TVE 1, TV3
Arab countries – 9:45 PM (Mecca Time / GMT+3)
beIN Sports Arabia
Russia – 10:45 PM (MSK)
NTV+, NTV+ Sport Online
Wednesday, October 1, 2014
India – 0:15 AM (IST)
Ten Action, TEN Sports LIVE
Indonesia – 1:45 AM (WIB)
China – 2:45 AM (CST)
QQ Sports Live
Japan –3:45 AM (JST)
Sukachan 6, SKY PerfecTV LIVE
Australia – 4:45 AM
SBS One Australia, ESPN3 Australia
*Source: Live Soccer TV
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