matchdays | 2015-06-02
Piqué: This team has a bright future and we shouldn’t stop here
"I think we have one of the best teams in the club’s history"
Ahead of the Champions League final against Juventus, Gerard Piqué spoke to Mundo Deportivo about the club’s current situation.
How much would you bet on winning the treble right now?
I don’t know. From the way I see the team and the desire we have, I’m sure that we can do it. But we have to keep our feet on the ground. We know that Juve is going to be a difficult opponent. Everyone is saying how we’re favorites, but we know that it’s going to be complicated.
What makes Juve such a complicated rival?
In terms of intensity, we’ve played a few finals and even though people said that we were favorites things can happen. I remember the European Super Cup in 2009 against Shakhtar in which we had to play extra-time to win. Or the Cup final in 2009 against Athletic in which they scored first. And the Club World Cup game against Estudiantes. There are lots of situations that we can’t control, that we can’t anticipate and that we will have to deal with like we have done all season. What I do know is that Juve will sit back and then counterattack with Tevez, who we already know, and Morata, who proved that he’s in great form against Madrid. In midfield they have people like Pogba, Marchisio, Pirlo, great players. And at the back they’re strong in numbers and they also have quality.
At the start of the year, in January, would you have said that Barça would be where they are?
I wouldn’t have said that in January and I wouldn’t have said it at the start of the season. You never think that you can reach the final with the possibility to win the treble. It’s something that has only happened once in the club’s history, in 2009, that was the only treble in the history of any Spanish club. A treble almost never happens. That’s why you don’t think about it at the start of the season. You think about having a good season, trying to win the league because that’s the competition that shows your consistency and from there, if you can add the Cup or the Champions League it’s even better. But I don’t think anyone was thinking we’d be here in January or last August.
Would winning the fifth Champions League mean that Barça can feel satisfied with its trophy cabinet?
At this point we have to try and win the fifth, the sixth, the seventh… I think that we have a team with a great future ahead. You look at the three up front and Messi is 27, Suárez is 28 and Neymar is 23. That tells you everything. This team has a bright future and we shouldn’t stop here. We have to win everything we can and next season we’ll see what happens. But the objective will be the same, to try to win everything, to take advantage of this unique generation of players. We’re doing well now, we’re used to winning, but I’m sure there will be a time when Barça won’t be winning as frequently as it is now, and we’ll go through bad times, so we should enjoy the good ones.
The forward line looks great for the future.
The forwards, the midfielders, the defenders… This team in itself, I think we have one of the best teams in the club’s history. A generation of players that have been at the club from a young age and with the fortune of winning a lot of titles and we should take advantage of this and win the maximum amount of trophies we can.
Do you think that you’re now one of the top 3 center backs in the world?
Everyone has their opinion; some would tell you that I am, others that I’m not. I’m enjoying this season a lot because we won the league being the team who conceded less goals and I played a lot. I’m very happy with my performance. I wish every year would be like this one. I’ve always felt very important and this year too.
Who are the best center backs in the world for you?
There are great defenders like Thiago Silva, Ramos, Pepe…. Generally the ones at the great clubs are good, but in the end there is something that makes you better than the others: winning titles.
Did you go through tense times with Luis Enrique?
No. When a player who is usually a starter doesn’t play some games, people always say that something happened between him and his coach. I’ve never had a problem with any of my coaches. It was said that I had problems with Pep too, and that wasn’t the case. It’s just that the coach makes decisions that you have to respect and you have to change his mind in order to have the role you want to have in the team.
How would you define Luis Enrique’s relationship with the squad? Because it has been said that he’s cold and distant.
It’s a coach-squad relationship like any other. Like the ones we had with Tata or Pep or Tito.
Really? Pep seemed closer to you, at least in terms of gestures...
In the end the coaches, at least the ones I’ve had, try to not be very, very close to the players, like any executive in a company, but it’s true that the relationship has to be cordial, there has to be some degree of friendship. In the end we spend a lot of time together and we wouldn’t want to deal with a very cold person that you can’t relate to.
And after a season in which you can win everything, why do you think that there are rumors about Luis Enrique’s future if he has another year left on his contract?
Because that’s the way things are in this house. That’s part of this club’s life. Despite winning everything and being in a great spot, there always has to be a doubt. In this case it’s the coach or Dani… There always has to be something to talk about.
Is that part of Barça’s greatness or its misery?
You can pick whatever you want. From when I was a kid, I remember that this has always been the case with all the great players at this club and it will always be this way. We, Catalans and culés, are this way and we like living like this.
Would you have preferred playing the Champions League final against Madrid?
The final is what it is. I’d like to experience a Barça-Madrid final because of everything it represents, because of the rivalry between the two entities. I like living to the fullest extent possible and I hope that one day this final happens. That’s why we’re football players and that gives meaning to this profession. Now we’re facing Juventus and we have to be at our best. And if we can play other Champions League finals in the future, maybe one of them will be against Madrid.
But Barça fans suffer for everything and a final against Madrid could trigger an anxiety crisis.
I think that the older generations suffer more, because in their youth they didn’t live moments like we are living now. My generation and a couple of older ones don’t suffer as much. There are people who enjoy seeing Barça play, who are positive, who have grown up watching a team win everything and that I’m sure have a lot of faith in us.
What do you think of Bartomeu’s decision to call for elections?
Looking back, it looks like it was a decision that worked out rather well. After that, you can debate whether it was a decision that had to be taken before that time or not, but I think that the president was brave in making this step. If I can, I will surely vote. We don’t know the dates yet, but if I am in Barcelona I will vote for sure. And so should everyone who can, it’s for the good of the club.
How would you characterize Xavi?
He’s a very simple person, very warm and smart and you can see that on the pitch. There are few players, you can count on the fingers of one hand, who could survive in today’s football without being strong, fast, without being tall, and he not only survived, but he was the flag bearer of a style of play that led us to win so many titles with the national team and with Barça. We’ll miss him in the dressing room and on the pitch, but Barça is a great club and we’ve lost great players (like Puyol and Valdés last year) and great coaches, it’s the law of the land and the club has to try and make the impact of that absence as minimal as possible.
It was said that you dedicated beating Bayern in the semifinals to Tito.
Tito is always with us. Every day you go to training and you see his name above the training field. He left a mark on all of us and ever since he left us, a part of everything we win is for him.
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