Football News

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Javier Mascherano: Barcelona have the measure of Real Madrid

Javier Mascherano: Barcelona have the measure of Real Madrid

The Argentine midfielder believes the Catalans have the psychological edge ahead of Wednesday night's Clasico clash - as well as the world's best player, Messi, on their side

Javier Mascherano - Barcelona
Javier Mascherano - Barcelona
By Francisco Delgado & Ben Hayward

Barcelona midfielder Javier Mascherano believes his side have the measure of fierce rivals Real Madrid after the Catalans' dominance in the fixture over the last two seasons, but says they must take nothing for granted in Wednesday night's Copa del Rey quarter-final second leg at Camp Nou.

Barca won the first match 2-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu last week and will advance to the last four of the competition by avoiding defeat on Wednesday, thereby gaining some revenge for their loss to Jose Mourinho's men in the final of last season's Copa del Rey.

That match remains the only disappointment for Barca boss Pep Guardiola in the Clasico since taking over at Camp Nou in the summer of 2008, and the only time Mourinho has tasted success in the famous fixture, too.

"We have the measure of Madrid," Mascherano told in an exclusive interview.

"But that doesn't always guarantee success and we are still not in the semi-finals of the cup," he added with a note of caution.

"The tie against Madrid isn't won yet, but we are optimistic; we have a good advantage from the first leg but it is no good being over-confident and we know Wednesday will be a harder match than the one at the Bernabeu."

Mascherano says Sunday's sublime showing at Malaga, where Barca beat the Andalusians 4-1, will give the Catalans confidence for the latest Clasico clash and adds that his side depend on themselves on Wednesday.

"The three points we won at Malaga on Sunday in the league will give us more energy for the cup match," he said.

"We are working well and now we have to finish the job at home.

"We know that Madrid will give us a difficult match because they are obliged to come out and win if they want to get to the semi-finals, but this game depends on us and if we manage the situation well, we will be in the next round."

The Argentine midfielder, who has been utilised in defence by Guardiola on numerous occasions over the last two seasons, claims he is looking forward to what he describes as one of the world's finest fixtures.

"The atmosphere is guaranteed and the passion as well," he enthused. "Nobody can doubt that this is one of the best games in world football today."

And aside from their first-leg lead, the former Liverpool star claims Barca have one more big advantage over their biggest rivals: Lionel Messi.

"For me there is no doubt," he stated. "Leo Messi is the best player in the world whether he scores three goals in a game or whether he doesn't score at all.

"With him we have a plus point that no other team can count on."

Starting in November and continuing through to the middle of February, is publishing exclusive extracts from Graham Hunter's highly-anticipated new book, 'Barca: The Making of the Greatest Team in the World'. Friday's extract looks at how Barca suffered rare disappointment at the hands of Real Madrid in a gripping finale to last season's Copa del Rey. Don't miss it!

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Hot & Cold – The psychological game in quotes ahead of the Real Madrid v Barcelona

Hot & Cold – The psychological game in quotes ahead of the Real Madrid v Barcelona Copa del Rey Clasico

Wanker News  keeps a record of whatever has been said over the past two weeks ahead of Wednesday's Copa del Rey clash at the Bernabeu...


Real Madrid - Barcelona (Arte: Carlos Pizzatto)
By Leo Harsha
With Real Madrid set to host Barcelona in the first of the two Copa del Rey Clasicos in the midweek, it is always interesting to know what kind of emotions are conveyed in words.

Cristiano Ronaldo has been on the receiving end of negative comments in the past few weeks for his alleged inability to shine in the big games, but Mourinho had nothing but praise for his star player on Tuesday.

Real Madrid

If someone criticises Cristiano Ronaldo, he has a problem with me. We won the Copa del Rey because of his goal, and he's scored I don't know how many goals for us. He's scored countless hat-tricks, he carries so much pressure on his back.

Jose Mourinho, 17 Jan

Barcelona defender Dani Alves is eagerly anticipating the upcoming Copa del Rey clash against the 2011 cup winners and expects the showdown to be evenly balanced regardless of form.


We really enjoy playing against Real Madrid. There is always a certain balance between the two teams when we meet, regardless of the form in previous weeks.

Daniel Alves, 17 Jan

While Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo has been accused of going missing in the derby clashes,Lionel Messi has proven a key performer for Barcelona over the past few seasons and Xavi is anticipating more magic from his team-mate in the first leg clash at the Santiago Bernabeu.


Leo will always make the difference. He's usually a decisive player and he's someone who grows with these games and likes playing in these games.

Xavi Hernandez, 17 Jan

Xavi admitted he is looking forward to Wednesday's Copa del Rey Clasico against Real Madrid and stressed his side will adopt an attacking approach at the Santiago Bernabeu.


We will attack, we want to dominate and score goals. That is what you see in every match, a lively and eye-catching attacking style.

Xavi Hernandez, 16 Jan

Pepe featured as a holding midfielder against the Catalans in the 2010-11 campaign in an attempt to keep Lionel Messi quiet, and the centre-back does not oppose the ideal of man-marking the Argentine again.

Real Madrid

Whether I'll play in midfield again? The coach will know what to do against Barcelona. I'm always available to help Madrid.

Pepe, 16 Jan

CR7 received his fair share of criticism after failing to find the net in Madrid's 3-1 La Liga loss against Barca back in December 2011, but Ronaldo has insisted that the high expectations do not affect him.

Real Madrid

I always try to relax before a game. The pressure doesn't get to me. I try to stay positive and always see new challenges. My mental strength is very important to me.

Cristiano Ronaldo, 16 Jan

When asked for his comments before Real Madrid's weekend Liga match against Mallorcathe 'Special One' insisted that he is doing his utmost to prevent his players from being distracted by the mounting hype surrounding the Copa del Rey quarter-final first-leg clash with Barcelona.

Real Madrid

It makes no sense to speak of Barcelona. For the media it is very good because you sell more and work less.

Jose Mourinho, 13 Jan

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has voiced his belief that are no favourites whenever his side and Real Madrid meet, and says that fixtures between the two ferocious foes leave players physically and mentally exhausted and that the vanquished will feel a little diminished.


There are no favourites between Barca and Real Madrid. These matches have a lot of tension, where you get physically and mentally exhausted. Whoever loses is a little diminished.

Gerard Pique, 13 Jan

Turning his attention to the first leg of the Copa del Rey quarter-final showdown with Madrid, the Catalans' coach stated that Barca will try to “play the best game possible” and will be going all out for goals because “we know scoring away from home is much more complicated”.


The quarter-finals will be great and exciting for the spectators. Both Barca and Madrid are teams that, no matter what competition we are playing in, always try to win.

Josep Guardiola, 13 Jan

With the two great rivals now set to lock horns twice more in the Copa del Rey, Iker Casillas is of the opinion that the Clasico is losing some of its lustre because Real Madrid and Barcelona are playing eachother so regularly.

Real Madrid

When there are few it's agreeable [but] when there are a lot you get tired [of them]. In my opinion, as we’ve played so many games, sometimes feels a little decaffeinated.

Iker Casillas, 12 Jan

Real Madrid's Xabi Alonso believes that Los Blancos are equipped to deal with the Blaugrana's challenge.

Real Madrid

I do not want to compare [both clubs]. We have been doing well, we have started 2012 with three victories and we are not concerned about what happens elsewhere.

Xabi Alonso, 12 Jan

Ronaldo will score but Real Madrid can't keep Messi quiet for Barcelona

'Ronaldo will score but Real Madrid can't keep Messi quiet for Barcelona' - Leo Harsha picks his key battles ahead of El Clasico

Jose Mourinho's side take on their rivals at the Bernabeu on Wednesday in the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final, with the most pivotal personal clashes singled out

On Wednesday,Leo Harsha El Clasico Promo will be watching the latest instalment of El Clasico when Real Madrid take on Barcelona at the Bernabeu in the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final.

Ahead of the clash, the two-time La Liga winner has been talking to about where he thinks the game will be won and lost...

Cristiano Ronaldo v Dani Alves

"Ronaldo is the perfect modern day footballer: tall, strong, fast, good in the air and he’s got a great shot on him. I love watching him in full flight but I think suggestions that he is a bit of a flat-track bully are fair. 

"I thought he was poor in the last game against Barcelona and he looked very frustrated. He wants to be driving in from the left and running at Barcelona, not tracking back to defend because Dani Alves keeps bombing forward. I think both players will let the other go defensively because they are so attack-minded and then it’s down to who can do the most damage. 

"Ronaldo will obviously have happy memories of the Copa del Rey last year and, with home advantage, I have a feeling he will score on Wednesday night."

Angel Di Maria v Eric Abidal

"I really like watching Di Maria play and I think he’s become so important for Real Madrid in the final third. Whether Barcelona play a back four or a back three, Eric Abidal will be on the left side and he’ll be responsible for dealing with the Argentine. 

"Unlike Alves, Abidal won’t push Di Maria back, so this is more of an ‘attack against defence’ battle. I like Abidal, he’s a very accomplished defender, but for whatever reason he’s considered the weakest link in an unbelievably strong Barcelona side. 

"Di Maria has the dribbling ability to cause him problems, especially when he cuts inside and looks to slide passes to runners or get a shot on goal."

Xabi Alonso v Xavi

"These are the two metronomes for each side, they boss the midfield. Barcelona don’t have the same rhythm without Xavi and Real Madrid need Xabi Alonso dictating in the middle of the park. 

"They have slightly different styles but are equally effective. Xabi Alonso will look to fire quick passes out wide and into feet, but he relies on movement in front of him and doesn’t like to take too many touches on the ball. Xavi, on the other hand, will be drifting all night looking to pick up the ball and make angles with short, quick passes. 

"It’s an interesting mix of styles between two of the best passers in the game - and you can see why they complement each other well for Spain. If Xavi wins this battle, Barcelona will control the game and probably pick up a win ahead of the second leg."

Marcelo v Alexis Sanchez

"Alexis Sanchez has really impressed me with the way he’s adapted to playing for Barcelona. Big names have found it hard in the past but he’s been superb in the last couple of months and he popped up with an important goal against Real Betis at the weekend. His pace on the run and off the shoulder of defenders gives another dimension to Barcelona’s play. 

"He will look to pin back Marcelo if he plays wide right and the fluidity of Barcelona’s attack means he will be a handful. 

"I can understand the comparisons between Marcelo and my old team-mate Roberto Carlos because he’s quick, skillful and loves to bomb forward. But I worry about his defending one-on-one and if he’s caught out Barcelona could have the ball in the net within seconds."

Pepe v Lionel Messi

"No-one man can mark Messi, we know that. It will be up to the whole of the back four, plus Xabi Alonso and Lassana Diarra, to make sure he is denied any space to work his magic. 

"The issue for Real Madrid is that Messi is just impossible to keep quiet for 90 minutes. Even if he has an average game by his own standards, he can pop up with a moment or two of quality that decides the match. 

"I’ve singled out Pepe as the key battle as  I can see Messi targetting the centre-back on the run. Pepe seems to lose his head a bit in the Clasico and if he makes rash challenges, he will either end up in the referees’ notebook or Messi will skip past him."

Real Madrid-Barcelona, ​​a cult of patience

Copa del Rey Preview: Real Madrid-Barcelona, ​​a cult of patience

Leg at the Bernabeu. Jose Mourinho and his choice: take care of the zero in its goal or try to take advantage of facing the Camp Nou. Madrid What will we meet?

A new Real Madrid-Barcelona already appears in the immediate horizon. The first Classic of 2012 to see which team will take advantage in the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey. Although Jose Mourinho takes weeks to ensure that La Liga is the priority, the fact is that this Wednesday, and under the spotlight a full Bernabeu to the flag, the white team players will give everything for revenge against the rival sports.

Real Madrid-Barcelona | Best special
White ObsessionMou-Pep: ChallengesThe PreviewThe One to One
Real MadridBarcelonaReal MadridBarcelonaReal MadridBarcelonaReal MadridBarcelona

The Portuguese coach on Tuesday appeared before the media today to discuss, talk about the great game and review the possibilities of his squad for the tie copera overcome.

"DI MARIA IS WORSE than we expected"
"Di Maria is worse than expected. Feelings are not the best. Do you prioritize? I do not know.Tomorrow is a great game and we play with the best. We will wait. Enter the call. Do not hide that the League not a priority. "


"The scheme against Barcelona? I'll think aloud with you to see what you think, that sure what I think.If you play right-back Ramos criticize me because it is a central phenomenon. If you play right-back Fabio, because left-handed. If you play Lass, because without Khedira should play in the midfield. If playing Pepe in the center, because it must play in the middle. If you play in the middle, because it must be central. If we play with trivote, because we should be more offensive. If not, why we must defend better. If it is with Pipit, because you must play Benzema. And if not, the reverse. We all know how it will end this. "

"Do not let anyone TOUCH RONALDO"
"I've been with Ronaldo a year and half. He has scored many goals I do not know, hat-trick, playoffs, we won the title with his goal. You know the part I like it? The second half against Mallorca. It is the game where I felt most proud of his role. is used to being the phenomenon, to make differences, being the man in front, and against Mallorca who did not play well, he worked as an animal, he did what was needed for the team ... fantastic. The team is more important, the most important result. I told you that by working so that no one will touch. Because his job working as I'm not going to leave. It should not be criticized because it has made, does not have to make. Let no one touch ".

"The Cup is the third objective, but tomorrow is PRIORITY"
"The Cup is the third objective, but tomorrow's game. What is not a priority, tomorrow will be a priority, and no one plays to lose. Speaking of Champions and Cup, you have to play two games in February, with all competitions. The semifinals are very demanding against Valencia and Levante, and the remaining teams in the league will have an advantage eleiminado in February. But let's not be hypocrites, we want those two games. And Barcelona, ​​alike. "

"Changed to four or five players RESPECT TO OTHER CLASSIC"
"I do not think the previous Classics. Neither the best nor the worst. For they are basically the same players. For us there. Sure change four or five players. It has nothing to do. "

"If I play a lot in this Classic? What do you think so? How many titles do you think I have to win to stay alive? Each match I play my satisfaction, my joy is Thursday be happy or sad. And on Saturday I feel sad game on Monday, me or mine. "

"I do not know if you play with three defenders, four or five. It's a great team anyway. We respect and will be a tough opponent. "

"CARVALHO know how to answer"
"Carvalho? I think it is possible and necessary. Ramos and Lass have four yellow, many people with three cards. And as I said when he started training some time ago, Ricardo will be prepared to give an answer. "

"Things are as usual. I have no problem with Pep and nobody has had any problems. So as usual ".

Monday, 16 January 2012

Cup Preview: There are a lot of football beyond the classic

Cup Preview: There are a lot of football beyond the classic

Although the highlight of the competition it will KO Real Madrid and Barcelona, ​​only one of the four semifinalists will come out of that game.

Real MadridBarcelona

Once again Real Madrid and FC Barcelona are the faces , although it seems that they do in a situation different from what had occurred in previous Classics: meringues come with the lead in the league and good feelings , while Barca are on the front have led to hesitation on the latest results. Nevertheless, Pep Guardiola's men have already shown that they can remake when they are face to face with his arch rival, and more on a two-legged match.Mourinho, meanwhile, wants to shelve its major unresolvedcontinue to defend the championship title of Copa del Rey .


Bielsa Athletic Cup wants to make its competition talisman. The Basques hope that this is their year of regeneration that has starred in Argentine coach, and for it receive an old acquaintance: Joaquin Caparros Mallorca try to show your surprise in San Mamés after starring in the most spectacular landslide in recorded recent seasons of competition at the Royal Society. Maximum voltage for a meeting promises.

EspanyolCD Mirandés

Espanyol in the Copa has deposited all his expectations . Pochettino those know who are the most affordable in the box and the prospect of an end excited at Cornell. However, no one loses sight of the blue and white will face the big surprise of this year's KO Tournament ...The Miranda wants to continue his dream and try to leave it out to another rival of First Division after leaving the lurch Villarreal and Racing Santander. The Burgos arrive in Barcelona led by Pablo Infante, the best player of the tournament so far.


The Valencian derby, more appreciated than ever, returns to Mestalla for Valencia and Levante challenge . Locals do not cross its best in League and Cup Emery wants to act as a stimulant to revive expectations of a team that has slowly been losing steam. For its part, the granota seek to follow his spectacular career with a major rival entity.