Ludovic Giuly: 'Barça have more experience in this type of game'

Ludovic Giuly: 'Barça have more experience in this type of game'

The former Barça and Paris Saint-Germain forward looks ahead to the clash between his former clubs and back to his time as a blaugrana alongside Xavi Hernández

The Champions League is almost upon and with it a tie that has become a classic over recent years: Barça v Paris Saint-Germain. A semi-final place is at stake in the tie between the Catalans and the French club and one man who knows both teams well having represented them during his time as a player is Ludovic Giuly. 

Of the 26 goals he scored as a blaugrana, the most famous without doubt is his strike in the 2006 semi-final against AC Milan which allowed the blaugranes through to the final where they eventually lifted the trophy for a second time thanks to win over Arsenal in Paris. 

After lifting the famous trophy with FC Barcelona, Giuly left for AS Rome followed by a three season spell at Paris Saint-Germain. Currently an expert analyst and commentator on French media, the former blaugrana spoke to the Club's official media ahead of the European clash between two of his former teams. 

What do you remember about the Champions League? In 2006 you won it with Barça and we all remember your goal in Milan in the semi-final. What comes to Ludovic Giuly when he thinks about Barça and the Champions League? 

I think about the win in Paris (smiles). It was a dream for Barça but for me also as we played in the Stade de France, a stadium I know really well - it was a special night. It is a really tough competition to win and I remember seeing so many happy people in that final.


I suppose at moments like that is when you realise the power you have to make people happy. 

Yes, completely. Two years before I had lost in the final with Monaco against Porto, and that's something totally different and tough for a player. I remember the final against Porto and I said to myself "I am going to get to another final to get this sadness out of my head." Two years later, everything changed. I was really happy because the change was amazing, from losing to winning a Champions League. It was a real responsibility working in Barça to try and win trophies. 

With Monaco I scored two important goals against Real Madrid. I think when I scored those goals, Barça said, "we have to sign this guy"

Ludovic Giuly

You were an important player in that Champions League win. You played all of the final and obviously we remember the goal in the semis in the San Siro. I imagine it was the most important goal you scored for Barça, and maybe in your career.

It was important because it was an incredible goal for how Ronaldinho created it and I finished it. It was a really tight game and the return leg at home was also really difficult. There was a lot of pressure on us in those games, to get to the final. The goal was a liberation, for the Club and for me, because thanks to it we reached the final. Also, with Monaco I scored two important goals against Real Madrid. I think when I scored those goals, Barça said, "we have to sign this guy." Those two games were key in my career. 

What do you think of Barça this season? After two difficult seasons not making it past the group stage and ending up in the Europa League, how do you value Barça being back in the quarter-finals? 

It has been tricky because people are always hopeful and financially it's really important to do well in the Champions League. When Laporta came back to the presidency it was difficult for him, but a team has been built. Xavi came back and there have been two good years, winning the league. This year has been tricky because there is a new generation that have to develop well and there is a lot of pressure. Furthermore, with the construction work at Spotify Camp Nou, it's a rebuilding process in many ways.


Talking about Xavi, you played alongside him in your three seasons at Barça. How do you think he is doing as a coach? What has he brought to the team? 

I see him as a very organised and professional coach, how you need to be at a great club like this one. Xavi was an incredible player and he knows how to work with players and how to deal with them. You have to work with talent and he is a coach who always wants more. He loves football, he loves Barça and he feels the Club. He has always been really good to me and he is a great guy. Sure, there are difficult moments but you have to help him. He knows the work he is doing and he knows where he wants to go and you have to give him time. 

Xavi was an incredible player and he knows how to work with players and how to deal with them

Ludovic Giuly

What can we expect of PSG, outside of the obvious such as Mbappé and Demebélé? Are they in their best form of the season? They have not lost since November. 

In the league they win easily because the quality is not as high as in England or Spain. Everthing has changed with the arrival of Luis Enrique and his idea of how to play and management. In the Champions Leaugue they have to change their mentality. We will have to see if their stars can make the difference. 

As the season has gone on, the two teams have improved. PSG signed a lot of players last summer and they seem more and more like a team. Individual quality is there but I understand the influence of Luis Enrique is also important. 

Luis Enrique has changed everything. There is competition is all positions and he has not put out the same XI in more than three consecutive games, almost. There are not 11 players but 20 who can play. That's good and bad. In the league it's fine but in the Champions League you have to have players who work well together and that is what they lack a little. The management of the team is great but we have to see how they perform in two demanding games in quick succession. 


You don't see a favourite then?

Perhaps Barça because, as a club, they have more experience in these type of games but I don't see a great difference between them in the tie. The big stars will make the difference. 

You are still linked to Barça through the Barça Legends team. You left the Club 17 years ago but you still have Barça in your heart.

Barça is a family. People think that we stop playing and that's it, but no. When we play with the Barça Legends it's always something very special. You are playing with your former team mates, you see how people are, if they are still following the game, if not...and we have a great week. Wearing the jersey is always a source of pride and I am fortunate to be able to do so. We have a lot of respect for the shirt and I am always happy to be able to play and see friends. 

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