FC Barcelona vice-president Carles Vilarrubí gives CNN an exclusive tour of the Camp Nou.


It might be tougher than you think.

"When he [Mascherano] speaks he does so with clarity and conviction, a quiet authority, and with rare understanding and analysis. Yet there is also a kind of wide-eyed eagerness and he is never off message. He speaks with a convert's zeal, describing team-mates with a kind of hushed awe. "I have never seen anything like Barcelona; it is not that they win, it is the way the win," he said. "I now know that there's another way of thinking about football."

"Everybody knows the current situation of course; Cristiano has reached 40 goals, Messi is just one behind with 39 [now 41 goals apiece]. The Argentinean leads the assists department with 14, compared to Ronaldo’s 11. However, there are a lot more stats behind these numbers that may escape the average fan. Until today that is, as we take the challenge of analysing every aspect of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo during this amazing season."


"The last definitive shift in tactics in football occurred back in the late 80s, when Arrigo Sacchi, the master tactician from Italy decided that a change was required from the five-man backline or the sweeper formation to a four-man backline, which depends more on the offside trap than sheer defensive prowess. While it was Italy’s domination of Europe in the 60s which made the sweeper-formation famous, it was Milan’s domination in the late 80s – early 90s which brought an end to it."

"Barcelona mark a watershed in the evolution of football. There is a before and an after with this team. They have redefined the way the game is played and caused the football world - from coaches of children’s teams to the technical staff of the biggest clubs on the planet - to return to the drawing board and reconsider their most basic premises."

"El catalán es una lengua hermosa que coquetea con el francés para desespañolizarse, que tiene música portuguesa, pero que cuando alcanza la mayor expresividad es puro italiano. En catalán, al albañil le dicen paleta, en ejemplo prodigioso de metonimia popular. La paleta es también el arma del pintor. Para hablar de Pep Guardiola, entrenador del FC Barcelona, es apropiado reparar en esa ambivalencia."

"Optimism laced the resignation. Barcelona had been beaten for only the third time this season, but they had not yet been defeated and they felt entitled to believe they would not be either. The natural reaction might have been to insist the second leg will be different; in fact, the European champions insisted it will be much the same. If the final score needs to change, the performance need not."

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