Former Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has clarified that his comments on Real Madrid winning their 14th UEFA Champions League crown were taken out of context.
It was only a couple of weeks back that Pique said Los Blancos’ last UCL triumph would not be remembered since they were simply not the better team. However, while speaking about it in a recent interview on El Larguero, the defender clarified,
“It’s the typical phrase taken out of context. I can explain it 20,000 times. It has a lot of merit to win a Champions League,” he said.
So what was the context after all?
He said that while he does not want to take anything away from Real Madrid, their way to the final and how they played in the knockouts was not the sight of champions.
He said that when Barcelona won the competition, they were superior to others right from the start. At no point in time did they struggle for results.
Real Madrid, on the other hand, had to rely on late comebacks and this type of victory is not acceptable at Barcelona.
“I don’t want to take away any credit from Madrid, but just tell how it’s won. The 5 Champions League titles that Barça won are five seasons of being superior to everyone else.
“Madrid’s last Champions League is evidence that in none of the games Real Madrid were superior.
“Maybe I’ll clarify. They won’t remember it for their game, they’re going to remember it for other things, for the epic comebacks.
“But this is enough for them and that is the greatness of Real Madrid, that being good for five minutes in the semi-final against City makes you win.”
“That’s a good thing. Barça will not win any knockout games because they were better for five minutes,” he added.
Judging by what Pique said, maybe it is the reason why the Blaugrana have not won the UEFA Champions League in a long time as they cannot qualify for the knockouts to be the better side in the first place.
Official: Real Madrid starting lineup against Napoli | UCL GW 5
Real Madrid are back in the Champions League following their impressive win against Cadiz on the weekend as they host Napoli at the Santiago Bernabeu for gameweek five.
They have already secured qualification to the round of 16, and even a point today would secure first place in the group.
With several players still injured, Carlo Ancelotti has opted for his best available starting lineup, with Daniel Carvajal taking responsibility of the captain’s armband at right-back. He will be aided by Ferland Mendy, who starts on the other side.
Meanwhile, in between them, David Alaba returns to the fold as the starting centre-back, partnering Antonio Rudiger. This duo has the responsibility of screening Andriy Lunin, who continues in goal in Kepa and Thibaut Courtois’ absence.
With both Eduardo Camavinga and Aurelien Tchouameni out, Toni Kroos gets the chance to play as the holding midfielder for two games in a row. Federico Valverde retains his spot, as well, while Dani Ceballos comes in for the injured Luka Modric in central midfield.
Rodrygo will spearhead the team’s frontline as one of the two twin forwards, while Brahim Diaz gets the nod over Joselu. Jude Bellingham is the final, and arguably the most important piece of the puzzle, playing behind the front-two.
Confirmed Madrid XI: Lunin; Carvajal, Rudiger, Alaba, Mendy; Valverde, Kroos, Ceballos; Bellingham; Diaz, Rodrygo