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17.10.2008 11:27

Zubizarreta: “My heart is divided”


Former Barça and Athletic Club player Andoni Zubizarreta explains how he feels in the build-up to the game at San Mamés. Zubizarreta predicts an intense match between the ‘Lions’ and Barça.

Athletic Club v Barça games have always been a special occasion for Andoni Zubizarreta. They were when he defended the colours of both teams, and they still are now even though he has not played professionally for several years. Zubi said, two days before the encounter, “my heart is divided and I don’t mind what the final score is. I’d like the game to be remembered at the end of the season as one of the best of the year. I’d always expect there to be a good game at San Mamés between two sides that play very different kinds of football”.

San Mamés, historically difficult

ZUBIZARRETA_2.jpgZubizarreta knows San Mamés has always been a tough ground for Barça. Zubi played thirteen games at ‘The Cathedral’ for one team or the other, and Barça only won three of them. “Barça have always found it difficult to play at San Mamés. Athletic play with a lot of pace, they are physically intense, and that contrasts to the skilful possession football Barça go in for. I am sure Guardiola knows it won’t be an easy game, because Caparrós will use these weapons to counter Barça’s’ qualities: speed, intensity and pace in the way they execute moves”.

“Guardiola knows the club well”

The former Barça keeper feels Barça did well to offer Guardiola the manager’s role, as he knows the club philosophy to perfection and knows what the job entails. “Pep is very much part of the Barça philosophy. He was one of those players that was great without having an exceptional physique and he set the standard for several players that came later. He knows the club environment and the need to win, play well, score goals and to make sure all the players are happy”.
Zubizarreta: “My heart is divided”
A bittersweet victory
Zubizarreta has particular memories of the 6-0 thrashing Barça inflicting on the home side at San Mamés in the 1990/91 season, when he was in goal for the Dream Team: “Winning at San Mamés is always something to be proud of, because that was where I became a footballer, but I have bittersweet memories of that game. We played a great game and the applause we received from the Athletic fans were mixed with jeering of their own team, and that didn’t cause me any kind of satisfaction.”

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