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26.04.2009 11:31

Belletti: “It should be the final”

Berta Brau

Chelsea player and ex-Blaugrana Brazilian Juliano Belletti said he saw “a great Barça” and a Chelsea “looking at the final”.

Few people could speak more knowledgably about the coming Barça-Chelsea ties than Juliano Belletti. In an interview with Barça TV and www.fcbarcelona.cat, he talked about the coming clash that “some people thought would be the final.”

How do you see the coming games between two of the best teams in Europe?

20080814_Champs_lge_team_group_DSC3846.jpg“It’ll be difficult. I think the winners will end up being champions. Barça have beaten some of the great teams of Europe, and we’ve beaten Juventus and Liverpool. So whoever picks up the cup will have defeated the best in Europe”.

Do you think Barça and Chelsea are each other’s worse possible rival?

“I think people thought this would be the final. Obviously there are other great teams like Liverpool and Manchester United, but Barça and Chelsea are the two best teams in their leagues at the moment. It’s a game worthy of the final”.

What do you think of Guardiola’s Barça?

“I think he’s doing a hard job well. He’s changed the players and the new arrivals want to win. The whole thing looks like a very well thought out plan”.

Do you think Barça are unstoppable?

bf1f2430.jpg“Nobody is unstoppable? I’ve played in the Brazilian national side for a long time and we’ve never thought we were unstoppable. When I was with Barça we played great football but we weren’t either. Unstoppable teams don’t exist”.

What do you think are Barça’s strengths?

“Great individual players, and a great team. They play at a high level both on and off the ball. In my Barça days, I remember we put on the pressure when we lost the ball. They still do this now and the Chelsea players are aware of it”.

And what about Chelsea?

“I’ve never been with a team that’s wants to win more. Some of the players have won just about everything, but they never give up fighting. We have some great individual players, but we are also a great team. Drogba, Lampard and Terry are on great form, and Anelka is regaining his form.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

fcb-espanyol_belletti.jpg“If I mention our weaknesses, they’ll kill me! Guardiola will phone me to thank me! What makes us a strong side is our desire to win the Champions League. Our weaknesses depend on the day. We’re capable of going to Camp Nou and not losing”.

Do you think the games will be psychologically tough?

“I think the second leg will be decisive. In the first leg you still know you have another 90 minutes. It would be great to score in Camp Nou, but we also realise we can’t afford to let any goals in. We want to semi-final to be decided at home”.

Do you think there’s a favourite?

02.JPG“Luckily, no. When you get to the semi-finals, only the best teams in Europe remain. The world press sees Barça as favourites because they’ve almost won the league and have some great players, but in my opinion, there’s no favourite”.

Barça keep the ball more, Chelsea commit more fouls, Barça score more goals. It’s strange how two teams similar in spirit can vary so much in statistics.

“I think Barça’s game is very different from Chelsea’s. The English just want to score goals, play attacking football, whereas Barça have always played possession football, players working alongside each other. Xavi and Iniesta are two key players, because they make great shifts from defence to attack, or from one wing to another. Chelsea’s game is different, tactical moves which go for goal”.

What could break the deadlock between the two sides?

“In games like these individual moves can be decisive. Barça have Messi, Henry or Eto’o. Chelsea have Drogba, Anelka and Malouda, who is on great form. We are very good from free kicks or in the air. But in games like these, individual moves normally decide the result”.
Belletti: “It should be the final”

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Hiddink, Cole and Deco
Things have improved for Chelsea during the season, and there have been great changes with the arrival of Gus Hiddink. Did the new coach boost morale and motivation?

“Hiddink hasn’t really made a lot of changes. He came with his own tactics and his quick but to-the-point pep talks. He has a very different character to Scolari, who treated players like close friends. Hiddink tries to make us more professional, he doesn’t suffer mistakes from great players. He keeps physical fitness high, and he’s harder than Scolari. When a new coach come in, players who don’t get many games want to prove themselves and regular players want to show they deserve to be regular”.

With Cole out, who will cover Barça’s right-hand attack? Will you fill that role?

“I’m sure the coach knows; we have a few players who can play there, but these days it’s difficult to stop Leo Messi. He’s on great form. I don’t think it’ll be me. Now I play as a midfielder. To be honest, I don’t think I’ll be in the starting line-up. I normally come on when we are drawing or losing and we need to keep the ball more”.

Last year you played alongside Deco. How has it gone for him in London?

“When Scolari arrived, he wanted to sign Deco. He started well, scoring goals and being named player of the month twice, but then he got injured and it has affected him all season. He’s still undergoing a slow recovery. Apart from the injuries, he’s fine. He knows he’s a great player at a great club and people have faith in him. If he was fit he would be playing”.

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