Iniesta: ‘The semifinals will be really tough’
Iniesta: ‘This is the fifth consecutive time that Barça have reached the semifinals of the Champions League. It’s the result of a job well done year after year and this is the only way you can put it. This team has ambition and results come with that. Our Barca squad is now in very good shape and it is something we have to maintain’
Lampard: ‘Everyone’s got unfinished business with FC Barcelona. You have to respect they’re the greatest team in the world; they have been and still are at the present time. That game is still in our minds, but this is a completely different year so we need to try and beat them’
Lampard: ‘Obviously, Barca are going to be favourites because of the way they’re playing but we have a lot of belief in ourselves here, we know we’ll have to perform at out absolute best to get a result against them and we believe we can do that’
Mata: ‘Barca are a great side and all players can unbalance a match, it is not just Messi. They have not had an easy time at Stamford Bridge in the past, and let’s hope that the same thing will happen now’
Mata: ‘We will see at the end of the season if we can say that this season was good. We have to play the semi-finals, but I have always said that Madrid and Barca are favourites to go through and be in the final’
Romeu: ‘Chelsea has already shown we can beat Barca’
Mourinho: ‘For me the big question is knowing who will play against Barca in the final
. It will be a great semi-final, Bayern against Real Madrid, and the best team will go on to play against Barca. Why? Because they are very good’ (Then stormed off, ending the press conference)
– After having faced Chelsea countless times in recent years, the first feeling that went through my head after hearing we are facing The Blues was ‘excitement’ – Not fear, difficulty or defeat.
I can still clearly see how Ronaldinho scored at Stamford Bridge using the magical tip of his boot back in 2005, virtually qualifying Barca for the Champions League final after years of Blaugrana European misery. It wasn’t to be though, as Terry (who is doubtful for this year’s semis) made it 4-2, knocking us out of the competition.
Revenge was widely taken years later. After 180 minutes of poor football, Barca was miraculously saved by Don Andres Iniesta in the dying seconds of the tie, scoring a goal who has been printed with fire in every Cule’s heart around the globe. I remember watching that game in London, surrounded by Chelsea fans who nearly killed me after I started celebrating that Iniesta goal as if my life depended on it – which it did!
To be honest, and despite having lived in London for over 10 years now, I haven’t followed Chelsea’s progress much this season. I have watched a couple of matches, mainly to see if my friends were right to rubbish Torres as ‘The most overpriced, lazy Spaniard after you’ – Yes, my mates have a very delicate, specific way to make me feel welcome…
I know Di Matteo has taken over as manager and seem to have taken off since. Torres isn’t as dead as most believed him to be. Lampard and Terry are giving way and it’s others such as Mata, Kalou or even Sturridge who take responsibility when it most matters.
To be honest though, I couldn’t care less about our rivals. The power of FC Barcelona is such that it whoever we face who needs to worry about stopping us, not the other way round.
Barca have many positives going for us recently:
Since Guardiola took over, Barca have gone through in 93% of ties
over two legs.
Valdes has been a rock all season. Puyol and Mascherano are doubling their efforts to cover Abidal’s absence. Alves is as fast, piercing and committed as ever. Pique, despite not having his best season
so far, may recover in time.
Xavi, Cesc and Iniesta, despite battling with ongoing minor injuries, should be available for the tie and continue to perform at the highest level, especially when Messi drops back to help construction of plays from mdfield. Busquets keeps establishing himself as a true leader in midfield.
Messi’s current scoring form is tremendous, La Pulga keeps showing he’s the best player alive
on a weekly basis. Alexis is slowly but surely adapting
to his new role, Tello and Cuenca are making their way into the team. As for Pedro… Well, he needs to find the net a bit more often but continues to work as hard as an unemployed ant in defense.
And last, but definitely not least: Of course I’ve heard Mourinho rumbling and whining
about Barca already but, to be honest, I prefer to leave the sly Portuguese alone for today, let him rot under all his nasty, dirty comspiracy theories. Who knows? Maybe he gives his best buddy Zlatan Diva-himovic
a call so they can discuss their miserable
lives with each other!
CHELSEA-BARÇA? YES, PLEASE: BRING IT ON!!!!!!!!!!!
What do YOU think of the upcoming Champions League clash vs Chelsea?