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12.12.2008 11:54

Belletti: “Barça are favourites on Saturday”

José Manuel Lázaro / Vanessa Forns

Juliano Belletti relieves that FC Barcelona are “the favourites” to win the game on Saturday against Real Madrid, but the Brazilian full-back did say that the hosts had to be wary of the dangers that their visitors will pose.

bf1f2430.jpgOn May 17, 2006, the defender wrote his name into the Blaugrana’s history books when he scored the winning goal in the UEFA Champions League final against Arsenal in Paris.

That day Barça won the European Cup for the second time in their history and Belletti was seen as the hero of the hour and a year later he moved to Chelsea to try his luck in the English Premier League.

Sporting spectacle

FCB-R.Madrid0405.jpgFrom London, the former FC Barcelona star explained his thoughts on the forthcoming clásico. “Barça against Madrid is the biggest sporting spectacle in the world at the moment,” he stated. “Looking at the game I think that Barcelona are the favourites to win on Saturday. They play great football at a very high level.”

Team play

Real Madrid have changed their coach in the week leading up to the game and Belletti believes that they will head to Camp Nou “with enormous pressure on them” before adding “but they are not just any team however.” Away from which players will be appearing, the Chelsea full-back thinks that “the team with the best collective quality normally wins over any individual ability.”

Highly motivated

Having played in several clásicos during his time at Barça, the Brazilian knows what the players are thinking in the build-up to the big game. “Barça against Madrid is a great shop window around the world for the players and they all want to play at their best,” he explained. “They cannot make any mistakes. In the preparations for the game not a moment will be missed to help the squad prepare mentally. Everyone will be highly motivated.”

Good win

FCB-R.Madrid_0405.jpgAmong all the game that he played against Real Madrid, Belletti remembers the game during the 2004-05 season when Barça win 3-0. “That day we beat a Madrid side that contained Zidane, Beckham, Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos and more,” he said. “It was a great Madrid side and we beat them in every area. We really wanted it.”

Praise for the Blaugrana

Belletti is still a fan of the Blaugrana and believes that “they have the best players in the world in every position”. He is also a big fan of Thiery Henry. “I think that Henry is in his best moment of form and for me is one of the best players of all time,” he added.
Belletti: “Barça are favourites on Saturday”
Hoping to meet Barça early
Depending on the draw for the next stage of the Champions League, which will be made on December 19, Barcelona and Chelsea could play each other early in the New Year. “I would prefer to play Barça now over two legs than in the final,” he said. “Playing them in a one-off game would be much more difficult.”

Thinking hypothetically about meeting in the final in Rome in May, Belletti revealed that he would have “conflicting feelings” because of “what happened in Paris”. “If Chelsea should play barça then I would prefer it to be sooner rather than later.”

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