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15.12.2009 16:28

"An opportunity not to be wasted"

Vanessa Forns

Rafa Márquez knows that the chance to win the first Clubs World Cup in FC Barcelona history "is an opportunity not to be wasted … it would end a fantastic year for the club ".

The Mexican defender was addressing the press shortly before the second training session since arriving in Abu Dhabi. The tournament provides the club with a great chance to win a title they have never won before, and Márquez insisted that the players “are hungry to keep winning titles ".

No time to relax

2009-12-15_ENTRENO_013.JPGA day before the semi final match, he was asked if the defeat in the 2006 final to Internacional de Porto Alegre (1-0) adds to the motivation. The defender said “perhaps that was because we were too relaxed … we didn’t play in the final the way we did against América in the semi final".

Márquez said that one of Josep Guardiola’s finest achievements has been making sure his players never relax like that. "We can’t let the same thing happen this time, and the manager is pressing home that point, because he experienced the same thing in 1993. He has reminded us that there is no way we can afford to relax".

The opposition

Being Mexican, Márquez has some of the clues FC Barcelona need ahead of the Wednesday semi final with Atlante: "I know Atlante, but not too well, because I don’t follow the Mexican league all that much. I know they are a very complete side, with a good core of interesting players." He also knows his Mexican namesake, the ‘other’ Rafa Márquez. "He is a strong player; he’s goal-hungry, tough and intelligent, as I’ve found out in the national team". He is one of the reasons the Barça player knows "it won’t be easy to make the final".
Photos: Miguel Ruiz (FCB)
Photos: Miguel Ruiz (FCB)

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Professional situation
Asked how he feels about the first choice centre back pairing being Carles Puyol and Gerard Piqué, Márquez spoke bluntly. "I have to admit that they’re doing very well, I also know I’m here waiting to get my chance.” He added that this "competition for places” along with a demanding schedule of matches, means that all of the players “are forced to perform at their best”.

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