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Alessandro del Piero was one of the stars of the Juventus team that won the Champions League in 1995/96, and he spoke to www.fcbarcelona.com ahead of the final in Berlin between the blaugrana and bianconero. Luis Enrique, Messi and Xavi are three of the names he mentions.
-Will you be in Berlin? What kind of final do you expect?
Yes, I’ll be in Berlin. And I’ll be expecting … a final! So anything can happen. You can’t predict games like these. The favourite might win or the roles might be reversed. I’ve lost when my team were favourites, and I’ve won when they weren’t. That’s football and these are the games that count!
- Juventus haven’t been in a Champions League Final for 12 years. That season they knocked out Barça in the quarter finals. Does that Juventus have anything to do with the current one?
They’re two very different teams with very different histories. But they have one thing in common. Both teams have gained capacity and personality as the tournament has progressed. Game after game, their level has improved, thanks to wins against the great teams they have met along the way. The semi-final against Real Madrid in this case and the quarter-final against Barça in the other.
-Xavi and Pirlo have often been compared. You know them both very well after playing with or against them on many occasions. What would highlight about each of them?
We’re talking about the Olympus of football, on the greatest level of intelligence. They are two unique parts of football history, real phenomena. It has been a pleasure to play with and against them.
-Where do you think Juventus can be the most dangerous?
Pirlo’s free kicks, Tévez and Morata’s shooting, solid defending and the ability to hold onto possession to defend a result if they go ahead.
-How do you think the two teams have evolved this season?
-At the start of the season, neither Juventus nor Barça were the favourites. People thought Barça were extraordinary, but not quite as good as other great teams. The fact they have got to the final, and on such merit, shows that this is something they have built up day by day and victory after victory.
-Where do you think Allegri and Luis Enrique have made the biggest mark on their teams?
Allegri took over a winning team and improved it without shaking things up too much. He did it gradually, by inserting his principles without losing confidence in his team. Juve play serene, organised football now. They play good football, it’s very technical. As for Luis Enrique, he’s also done an extraordinary job. The team has found brilliance and unity, with the guarantee of three great players up front who have complete freedom of expression, yet they always work for the good of the team.
-How would you define Leo Messi?
-Messi is the number one. He has talent, instinct, passion and magic. Messi is part of football heritage and we’re so lucky that he’s living in our time and that we can enjoy watching him.
-Would you dare to make a prediction?
-Absolutely not! Like I said at the start, a final is a final!
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