Jordi Alba was speaking to the press on Thursday morning / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB

Jordi Alba expects a difficult game against Eibar on Saturday. “They are having a great season since being promoted to the first division” he told Thursday’s press conference. “I like the way they play football. They have had some very good games away from home.” As an example, he cited their narrow 2-1 loss at the Vicente Calderón. Eibar have also won 2-0 away to Elche and got an impressive 0-0 draw at local rivals Athletic Bilbao.You could tell since he was young that Messi was going to be a phenomenon. He’s a different kind of playerAlthough most of the questions directed at the FCB defender were related to the forthcoming  Clásico, he insisted that “we have to think about Eibar first, because if we don’t win but Madrid do, then they’ll just be a point off us. We have to take it game by game because every match is like a final.”

He also discussed various members of the first team, including Luis Suárez, who received the Golden Shoe trophy on Wednesday. “I’m sure we’ll improve with what he contributes, but it’s up to the manager to decide who plays” he said. “There are other members of the team that are in fine form.” And he also had praise for Leo Messi, who is celebrating the tenth anniversary of his first team debut. “You could tell since he was young that he was going to be a phenomenon. He’s a different kind of player, you can’t compare him to anyone else”.Mathieu has adapted really well. I think the fans and the club can see that he was a great signingAlba was also asked to comment on how his former Valencia team-mate Jérémy Mathieu is settling in. “He’s adapted really well” was the answer. “He’s a very quick, strong player. I’m liking him a lot and I think the fans and the club can see that he was a great signing.”