Borussia Dortmund’s manager, Jürgen Klopp, spoke to El País ahead of his team’s Champions League showdown with Shakhtar Donetsk. “Our style of play most resembles Barça’s,” said Klopp, who added, “everyone wants to play like Barça, but that’s not possible. Without Xavi, Iniesta and Messi, Barça wouldn’t be able to play like it does. However, their defensive plan is perfect.”
Klopp went on to say that the most impressive characteristic of FC Barcelona is “how eager they are to play.” He added: “Messi scores and he shouts with joy as if it were his first goal. Xavi receives that ball as if it were the first time in his career. You get the sense that he wants to pick it up, kiss it, contemplate it and continue playing. Iniesta is the same way. Busquets is the mean one of the bunch, he’s the responsible one with a hard job. Puyolis simply incredible - true his hair style is frightening - but he’s a super player, and an even better person. Puyol has a big heart, he breaks his elbow and his back on the pitch in two weeks. They fight so hard to win. They are the model to follow.”
Read El País’ interview with Jürgen Klopp in its entirety here.
• Robert Pirès on Andrés Iniesta, Cesc Fàbregas and Éric Abidal
“For me, Iniesta is the best Barça player ... if you take Iniesta out of the midfield, Barça are a different team,” said ex-Arsenal and Villarreal player Robert Pirès in a recent interview with Xarxa Ràdio (which was then picked up by El Mundo Deportivo).
“Iniesta is the maestro of the team, he decides when he’s going to hold on to the ball, when pace needs to be added, when his team needs to score. [Iniesta makes it look] all so simple.”
When asked about his ex-teammate Cesc Fàbregas, Pirès said: “he’s doing a great job ... it comes as no surprise to me that he’s doing so well.” He added: “Cesc’s position within the team is undeniable and you can tell because he’s getting a lot of playing time. It’s obvious he’s happy because of how he carries himself and for a footballer that’s the most important thing.”
Pirès then went on to talk about his fellow countryman, Éric Abidal. “When he plays again the Camp Nou will explode. Abidal is the example to follow, he’s a warrior. As long as you’re willing and eager you can fight against anything. I’m very pleased [that Abidal is recovering] and I’m very happy for him.”
Read El Mundo Deportivo's article in its entirety here.