Piqué and Neymar on Juventus-Barcelona
Friday, June 5, 2015
While Gerard Piqué is playing in his third final, it is a first for Neymar – the pair shared their thoughts on Juventus, FC Barcelona's season and what victory in Berlin would mean.
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Gerard Piqué: "We'll have the ball and more control. Even though Juventus are an Italian team they really want to play with the ball. They showed that in the Bernabéu, a very difficult stadium, when they were under pressure. They'll try to do the same tomorrow. We like to have the ball though, even if we've had more joy on counterattacks recently."
Neymar: "It's difficult to pick a favourite in a match like this. Both teams have high-quality players and it's a final – we have 90 minutes to express our game. We'll try to do that as best as we can to win the trophy. Anything is possible in football. You can't say who's going to win a final; it depends who gives their best. We're going to give our all and hopefully we can win."
Neymar: "I've played many finals but this is the biggest one in my career to date. It's the most important match in my life and that's why I'm going to give my very best. It's been my dream since I was a child and I hope I'm going to enjoy the game. Of course I've dreamed about scoring, I hope I can score a goal to help my team – otherwise Gerry will! The important thing is that we win the trophy."
Piqué: "I expect we will have the ball, possession, and they will try to counterattack. They have a lot of power up front with Tévez and Morata and good midfielders like Pogba, Vidal and Marchisio who are really strong and go box to box. We'll have to really concentrate on defending and then, with our possession, try to create chances and score goals."
Piqué: "Juventus are a great team, a fantastic team – that's why they're in the final. We know it's going to be a great but very difficult match. Buffon is a great goalkeeper, one of the best in history. I used to be him on Playstation, I'm a big fan – but I would love to score a goal."
Barcelona's defensive excellence
Piqué: "When you talk about defence, people normally just think about the defenders and the goalkeeper, but for me it's the whole team. It starts with the strikers – if they don't run and press, it's impossible for us. This year we've had that and the stats show that. All year we've been really good at defending. It's been one of the keys – we've won the league and the cup, and now, we hope, the Champions League."
Marc-André ter Stegen
Piqué: "Ter Stegen is a very young player but, whether he's 22 or 35, the way he plays, his mindset and character, made it seem like he was playing a friendly at the start of the season. He plays as if it doesn't matter, as if he doesn't care. His footwork is amazing – few players could pass the ball the way he does. I'm sure he'll do extremely well."
Why Barcelona are so good
Piqué: "We have Leo, Neymar, Luis and Andrés. We have an amazing team, one of the best in the history of the club. Maybe we weren't at our best at the start of the season, perhaps we expected more from ourselves then, but we've managed to turn it round, we've started winning and kept winning. We have the chance to show the world how good we are tomorrow and we'll aim to do that."
Neymar: "Leo and Luis are two extraordinary players, extremely high quality. The main factor is our friendship on and off the field – we're very good friends and that helps a lot. I hope we can finish our season, come out of the stadium feeling very happy after all the hard work we've done this season with the team. I'm quite confident we can be victorious."
Comparisons with the 2009 treble winners
Piqué: "I don't know if we play better or worse [than Guardiola's side] – the main thing is that we're here. I hate comparisons. I hated it when we weren't winning two years ago and were compared with Pep's team. Some people will think we're better now, some that we were better a few years ago, but it's working. We've won the league, the cup and we're in the final of the Champions League. We have to keep focus and keep playing the way we have been. If we do that, we have very good chances to win."
What victory would mean
Piqué: "It's going to be a great season whatever happens. If we win this final we'll be writing history – it'll be a perfect season, like in 2009. We have enjoyed winning two trophies this season but now we're 90 minutes away from perfection. That's what we're trying to do."
Neymar: "This is a dream, a childhood dream – I've been waiting for this since I was six or seven years old. Now the time has come and I hope to enjoy this dream along with my team – to win a Champions League final. The trophy is closer and closer. It's a final I've dreamed so much about – this is the best moment of my life. I hope that I can kiss the trophy tomorrow."