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05.05.2008 13:55

“Playing against Madrid is always important”

Berta Brau

Carles Puyol says that a clásico “is always important” even when Madrid are already the League champions: “We aren’t happy about them celebrating the title, but it does give us extra motivation to beat them.”

Even though the League has already been decided, Carles Puyol believes that a Real Madrid-Barça clash is always a different game: “Playing against Madrid is always important. Ok, they are celebrating the League title which we aren’t too happy about, but it does give us extra motivation to beat them.”

Applauding the champions

Carles Puyol said that he had conflicting feelings about applauding Madrid onto the pitch: “As a Barça fan I don’t like doing it, but as a sportsman I think you have to acknowledge the champions.” Barça’s captain added that if Madrid have come out on top, “that’s because they deserve it and have played best”.

On the same theme Puyol said that Barça had been very uneven in the League: “We haven’t done the business even though we’ve worked hard and so I think Madrid are worthy winners as they racked up a lot of points, especially in the first half of the season.”

Yellow cards

mati050508_x9x.jpgSamuel Eto'o and Deco received their fifth yellow cards on Sunday and thus won’t be playing next Wednesday in the Santiago Bernabéu. Commenting on the controversy about these cautions, Puyol said that each player is responsible for keeping their own count: “I don’t know if they knew or didn’t know about how many cards they were on; each player keeps their own count. I know the situation is monitored, but I don’t know whether they were informed.” Nevertheless Puyol said that it was a very intense game with some tough moments, and suggested that there was no need to go on about the issue.

First review of the season

Barça’s captain said that the players are not happy with their performance this season: “We haven’t done what we set out to do this campaign and it’s been a poor season, but as always we’ve given it our best shot.” He added that what was needed was “to work to make sure that this doesn’t happen again next season”.

Praise for Frank Rijkaard

Puyol praised Barça manager Frank Rijkaard, who he thinks is “a great coach”: “He’s given us an awful lot and has always supported us. That’s something you have to be grateful for, and you won’t find many people like him who are always willing to stand up for their players.”
“Playing against Madrid is always important”

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Champions League qualifying rounds
If Barça finish the season in their current position of third in the League, the Catalans will have to play in the Champions League qualifying rounds in August. “It’s always better to go straight into the next stage,” commented Puyol, “and that’s what we’re going to be trying to do by winning all the matches we have left.” However, the Barça captain says he is not worried about having to play in the qualifying rounds.

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