Costanzo unmoved by Barça glamour boys
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
The opposition are likely to field some of the most illustrious names in world football, but FC Basel 1893 goalkeeper Franco Costanzo will be looking for points, not autographs, when FC Barcelona visit St. Jakob-Park.
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The opposition lineup is likely to be studded with some of the most illustrious names in world football, but FC Basel 1893 goalkeeper Franco Costanzo will be looking for points, not autographs, when UEFA Champions League Group C leaders FC Barcelona visit St. Jakob-Park.
Basel are without a point after two matches while Barcelona have beaten the two teams that got the better of the Swiss champions, Sporting Clube de Portugal and FC Shakhtar Donetsk. Back-to-back games against Josep Guardiola's side over the next fortnight mean, therefore, that this is no time to get starstruck. "It's going to be a real party for the supporters but we, as footballers, don't play just to exchange shirts at the end – we'll be going out there to win," Argentinian custodian Costanzo said.
Another defeat would leave the Swiss Super League titleholders well adrift at the bottom of the group, but the man charged with keeping the opposition armada at bay believes he and his colleagues will be at the top of their game. "I'm looking forward to the match and we'll be united against a very strong team," the 28-year-old said. "It doesn't matter whether you're Argentinian, Swiss or German, it's special for any player to play against Barcelona."
Costanzo is also relishing the chance to raise his profile back home, where the keeper capped once at international level has seen his visibility wane since leaving CA River Plate in 2005. "One good thing is that the match will be broadcast on Argentinian television," said Costanzo; and there could be no better way to impress his compatriots than to frustrate Lionel Messi, in particular. Despite refusing to cite which Barça players he fears most – "every one of them can score"– Costanzo admitted he is backing either Messi or fellow No1 Iker Casillas of Real Madrid CF to collect this year's Ballon d'Or.
A season spent with Deportivo Alavés in 2005/06 before moving to Switzerland clearly left Costanzo with a lasting admiration for the Spanish Liga but his dedication to Basel's cause since has been total, earning him the captain's armband this summer. His enhanced status notwithstanding, however, he does not feel the need to take his younger colleagues aside before such an exacting test. "If the guys ask me something, I'll talk to them about my experiences in Spain," he said. "But that's all. They can also go to [Ivan] Ergić, [Marco] Streller and [Scott] Chipperfield. We have a good mix of experience and youth here."