Gerard Piqué in the match against Granada /PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ

After the 5-3 win over Granda, Gerard Piqué analysed, on Barça TV’s El Marcador, the team’s attitude in the Liga: “the team is very motivated and we’re on a good trajectory, with great football. At times we play at a high level and that reinforces us in the Liga and in other competitions.”

However, the Barça defender considers the challenge of gaining ground on Real Madrid at the top of the table a difficult task: “it was hard to pull two points back, the Liga [title] is difficult to win and we don’t depend on ourselves.” On the two penalties called against Barça tonight, Piqué said that “in those plays, and even more so with how sensitive the referee issue is, you don’t call them.”

The center of attention

The Azulgrana talked about the controversy that’s been circling around him in the past couple of weeks: “at first it did have an effect on me, but in the end there comes a point where you have to disconnect and focus on your training.” Piqué considers that footballers that play for the Club is synonymous with always being the focus of attention, “playing for Barça means that you are always looked at though a magnifying glass. My job is to go out onto the pitch and give it everything I’ve got. You must improve each year to continue at this Club.”

On his manager's statements last week when he said that Piqué would only leave the Club when the defender chose to, Piqué said that “it’s an honour that Pep would say that, usually it’s the Club that opens the exit door for a player.” The Azulgrana went on to say that “I don’t have a date set for leaving the Club.”

Situation that needs to imporve

“On an individual level I’ve enjoyed playing for the team, but I have to improve a lot of aspects of my game, like my aerial play. I have to be strong,” explained Piqué. He also went on to talk about  the way Barça defends: “[the team marks] in zone, we’ll try to dominate and make fewer mistakes. We have to cover each other's backs.”

Leo Messi, in focus

Breaking César’s record and netting a hat trick have undoubtedly made Leo Messi the star of the game. Like many of his teammates, Piqué had words of praise for the Argentine: “it’s a pleasure to be in the same generation as him, I believe he’s the best player in the history of the sport. I’ve been lucky enough to be on the same team as him, I consider myself privileged.” He went on to add that “it doesn’t matter where he plays, if it’s cold or hot, he always proves that he’s the best.”

Here are statements made by Barça’s players after the match against Granada:

Víctor Valdés: “Messi will mark an era. He’ll be the best ever.”

Cristian Tello: “In person, Leo is just like he is on the pitch; a simple lad and very friendly to his teammates.

“The truth is that the match went a bit against us, but we were able to control it. However, we have to wait and see what Real Madrid does.”

Isaac Cuenca: “We managed to score more goals to win the game. I feel great. The Liga title is difficult to win but we have to see if we can keep on winning out matches in order to keep our possibilities open.

“Leo Messi is amazing, he’s the best in the world and he proves it on a daily basis. For me, he’s the best ever.

“It will take years to see someone else do something similar to what Messi does. We have to enjoy him and his plays.”

Training session on Wednesday

Barça will train this Wednesday at 11:00 at the Ciutat Esportiva Sant Joan Despí. Thiago will hold a post-training press conference.

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