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01.10.2007 20:42

"We have to demonstrate that we’re the favourites”

Sandra Sarmiento / Anna Segura

The Barça coach is determined not to take on the role of favourites before the game has been played. He told reporters that there are no easy matches in the Champions League but insisted that Barça were looking for a win against Stuttgart.

Frank Rijkaard is looking forward to the Stuttgart game but remains cautious and full of respect for the German champions: “People say that we’re favourites but we’ll have to demonstrate that on the pitch. Obviously we want to finish top of the group. We’re working to win all the matches we have to play”.

Ronaldinho, a luxury

dinho11007.jpgThe return to the team of Ronaldinho is, according to Frank Rijkaard “a luxury”. However, though he assured reporters that the Brazilian is a vital member of the squad he refused to confirm that he would figure in the starting line-up: “I haven’t chosen my team yet. Ronaldinho still has to train this afternoon. It’s the same case with Milito”. The Argentine defender is still troubled by a groin problem.

Stuttgart a strong team

The German champions are currently in a mediocre tenth place in the Bundesliga and were beaten 2-1 by Glasgow Rangers in their opening CL Group E match in Scotland. Despite this unimpressive start to the season, Frank Rijkaard believes Stuttgart will create plenty of problems for Barça: “There are no easy matches in the Champions League. We have to play against a very strong team. They’re playing in front of their own fans and they have to get the fans back on their side”.

Injury woes

Touré Yaya is the latest Barça player to fall injured. Asked why the players were picking up so many injuries in recent matches, Rijkaard told reporters: “Everybody is looking to apportion blame but we have to remember that we have to play a lot of matches and we have a full calendar. The important thing is that the players let us know when they’re overloaded. We have a strong enough squad to rest any player”.
“We have to demonstrate that we’re the favourites”

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Praise for Messi
Frank Rijkaard was asked many questions by the German press about the quality of Leo Messi. The Barça coach did not hesitate to praise the young striker highly: “He’s a unique player. Very strong and very young. He has the kind of talent it’s difficult to find”.

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