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04.11.2007 22:25

"Ronaldinho is fundamental"

Vanessa Forns

Ronaldinho earned the praise of coach Frank Rijkaard after producing a fine display against Real Betis that he capped with two stunning free-kicks. Thierry Henry and Lionel Messi also stood out as Barça eased to victory.

The Dutch coach could not hide his delight after the Blaugrana bounced back to their best and swept to victory to move to within one point of league leaders Real Madrid.

More to come

Rijkaard admitted that seeing Ronaldinho begin to rediscover his best form had made him very pleased: "I am happy for him," the trainer said. "He is improving little-by-little and we could see that he is a fundamental player for us by the way that he brings such happiness to the team. He played 90 minutes and worked very well. He can still give so much to this club. He is taking players on again and has shown that he can make the difference."

Pleased for Henry and Messi

QM3D5935.jpgTwo other players that earned the respect of their boss were Henry and Messi. The Frenchman opened the scoring and Rijkaard stated that "the goal came at a very important moment". On the Argentinian's incredible run from the halfway line in the second period, he said: "It is a pity that Messi could not score what would have been a fantastic goal he deserved it. His motivation is very high."

A long way to go

The win over Betis reasserted Barça's surge towards the top and the team now lie just one point behind Madrid. Rijkaard does not believe that the title race will become a battle between the two sides however: "There is still a long way to and there are a lot of games to still be played. There will be plenty of teams up there, but we have to just keep adding as many points as we can," he explained.

Schuster creates talk

Finally, the coach reacted to Bernd Schuster's comments about the referee after seeing Madrid lose to Sevilla on Saturday evening. "He is someone who is used to saying what he thinks and generates discussion, that keeps the game alive," he concluded.
“Ronaldinho is fundamental“
Laporta: "This team transmits enthusiasm"
Joan Laporta could not hide his delight after FC Barcelona's win against Real Betis and he stated that the big crowd inside the stadium helped the team. "This team transmits emotion, enthusiasm and it shows as the people come to watch them," he said. "The side is looking more and more solid and this will be hopeful to help us achieve the objectives that we have set ourselves. The fans are with this team, they help and that is the best thing."

Reflecting on the goals, the president said: "Ronaldinho and Henry need the goals. I am pleased for them and for the team. I will motivate them even more and it will lift the squad. They are among the best players in the world. They have us real strength." Finally, Laporta looked ahead to the game against Rangers on Wednesday. "If we win we would be in a great position," he added.

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