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Ballon d’Or to Iniesta? and coach of the year to Del Bosque?

Italian newspaper Gazetta Dello Sport guarantees that Andrés Iniesta will win the Ballon d’Or, Xavi will be second and Messi third. As for the coaches, Del Bosque will win, Mourinho will be second and Pep will be third.

Gazetta dello Sport is not a 100% reliable source, although just a week ago, the same newspaper named the top three and they were proved right. 

However here are some thoughts from…

Andres Iniesta: “Beyond who will win the award on January 10, it will be an historic and unforgettable event. It’s great that three Barça players that have grown up through the ranks and were formed here should be up for these types of awards. It has an incalculable value.”

Iker Casillas: “I’m disappointed not to get into the finalists. They are great players and, in fairness, I hope Messi will understand, I opted for Xavi and Iniesta. Messi is the best in the world, but I prefer them.”

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Filed under Andres Iniesta Iker Casillas Juan Mata David Villa ballon d'or Spain NT Leo Messi Xavi xavi hernández

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Mata: “There are days when I miss him [David Villa] here”

Interesting interview with Juan Mata, he also talks about the World Cup, after the break!

Valencia have lost David Silva and David Villa this year. We saw Villa get two against Real Madrid in the Clásico last week. He was also top scorer at the World Cup. And he’s a fellow Asturian. Do you miss him? 

Yes. Not just in footballing terms but also in human ones. He is a very good friend and there are days when I miss him here.

Why isn’t anyone talking about him as a candidate for the Balon d’Or? 

Being realistic, if he hadn’t had such a good World Cup we wouldn’t have won the tournament. There were a lot of games in which his goals were the difference, they unblocked tight games – against Honduras, Portugal and Paraguay. That Paraguay game was huge. If it wasn’t for him, we might have drawn and then lost on penalties, or got caught and lost the game outright. And when he scored, when his shot went in off both posts, that was the moment that I thought maybe things were going to go our way – maybe we were going to win the World Cup after all. I think he was hugely important. For me, he should be a candidate. But I imagine the voters will look at his club season too. And Barcelona won the league.

Villa’s a mate. But who’s the nicest guy in football? 

Joaquín Sánchez … Joan Capdevila … and MC Pepe Reina!

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Filed under Juan Mata Spain NT Valencia FC interview David Villa

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El Clásico: Post-match musings

PepHow we did it - that makes us proud. Now just let us sit back and enjoy that win - we’ll reflect and look at the whole game, but now it would be wrong not to revel in the win. Games like that happen very rarely indeed. There are still a lot of games left to play in this league. We were the better team tonight, but both teams are at a very high level. We are only two points ahead and Real Madrid remain an impressive team”. 

Puyol: “I wanted to defend my teammate because I think it’s a very hard tackle. We have many friends in the Real Madrid dressing room, and we do not have problems with it. Whatever happens on the field let’s finish it in the field. I have a good relationship with Ramos, and the incident had been forgotten. There’s other important things I should think. This victory gave us a confidence. The team played well and we want to defend it.”

Iniesta: "We have played a great game. We had to play with great intensity and the team has put on a great performance. It was a very big margin, as they almost had no attacking options. We know that this is not winning the league, but just a small step. We have been spectacular and put on a show for both the players and public.”

David Villa: “It was very important to win. We looked for the victory and we succeeded. We wanted to get ahead and secure a lead. And what better way than the way we have done it. We could not have asked for more. We must now continue to work hard as we are only in November. The title wasn’t lost prior to the match, and neither is it won. We have an advantage, but we now have to keep on winning.”

Dani Alves: "This team is capable of anything. The League doesn’t end here and we must continue with the same modesty.

Mourinho: “I am not humiliated at all. This is the biggest defeat I have ever suffered in league play. It is hard to swallow because we never had a chance of winning. It wasn’t one of those defeats that leave a bad taste in your mouth because we didn’t deserve to lose or because the referee performed badly or because the ball hit the post. One team played as well as it could and the other played badly. It is a deserving win and a deserving defeat, which makes it easy to swallow.”

Xabi Alonso: “Barcelona were the better team  in all facets and we must look back to understand the mistakes we made. Their two early goals made things a lot easier for them and much more complicated for us. We did not expect thins, but there is still a lot of season left and nothing has finished. We are not happy, but we shouldn’t jump to conclusions. We must only look towards the future.”

Filed under FC Barcelona Real Madrid el clasico pep guardiola Jose Mourinho xabi alonso Carles Puyol David Villa Andres Iniesta Dani Alves

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El Clásico round-up: two days to go

What their saying…

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero 

The PM predicted on Friday that Barcelona will crush Real Madrid 4-2. He said: "Barcelona caresses and cultivates the intelligence of football and converts it into something more than a physical contact sport. Sometimes it recalls a game of chess."

He also said he respected Real Madrid’s tough-talking Jose Mourinho, but in terms of personality he prefers Barcelona’s Catalan coach Pep Guardiola and that he prefers Leo Messi’s “dribbles” over the playing style of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Gerard Pique

"You can’t say this game will decide the League title, but it is certainly very important. Maybe this season the distance between other teams has shortened but I’m sure that Barcelona and Real Madrid will be the two teams that fight for the League title till the end. Right now this is the best or one of the best games in the world. So it makes sense that there’s much talk about it.”

"Pep is a coach who likes to have everything completely under control, he wants everything to be tied, and not leave anything to chance. He prepares very well for matches, studies them to the maximum."

"Real Madrid have two years without winning anything and it’s logical to seek a shock, something new. They have a good coach, you can’t deny that. In England he succeeded, as he did in Inter. In his team, everything revolves around him. He is an incentive to try to keep winning. No doubt he has had a positive effect for Real Madrid, but he has inspired us, is an extra motivation.”

Carles Puyol

"Both Barça and Madrid are playing well and confidently, and have few injury concerns. We have the advantage of playing at home, but I still think it’s 50/50."

"Madrid are very strong in defence, they place themselves well. They have very fast players on the counter and they make all the difference. If you give them space, they are hard to control.”

“Nothing motivates us more. Madrid is always an important match… but the league will not be decided by this game”. 

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Filed under Carles Puyol FC Barcelona Gerard Pique Sergio Busquets el clasico Iker Casillas Jose Mourinho David Villa Cristiano Ronaldo Gonzalo Higuain