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Barça’s Manager asks the journalists “Don’t you want Messi to play?”

Given the flood of questions asking about a possible rest for the Argentinian star, Pep Guardiol, FC Barcelona’s Manager, insisted that he is in perfect condition to play the full Spanish League game against Zaragoza on Saturday.

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18 November 2011 08:01 PM

by

Roger Bogunyà

Barcelona (FCB).- One question. Then another. And another. The reporters went on and on about Leo Messi\u2019s form after playing two games for Argentina against Bolivia and Colombia, and the number of kilometres he has behind him. Barça\u2019s Manager, Josep Guardiola responded that \u201Cyes, he is fit to play the full 90 minutes against Zaragoza, but we\u2019ll decide on Saturday\u201D. And then there was another question about the Argentinian. His patience tested, Guardiola then sarcastically retorted \u201CWhat? Don\u2019t you want Messi to play? Is that what you want? If it is, then tell me. Won\u2019t you let me decide for myself!\u201D The fact is that Messi is ready to play, and he can play, but Guardiola won\u2019t decide anything until shortly before the match.


No reserves for Wednesday

Guardiola also made it patently clear that against Zaragoza he will field \u201Ceveryone I think we need to win the game\u201D. He is not thinking of resting anybody with Wednesday\u2019s clash with Milan in mind. \u201CIf we drop any more points, it will be very difficult to recover them. We have seen how strong Real Madrid are\u201D, he said. He also spoke about how important it is to get points before the clásico against Real Madrid, which is not always an easy thing to do mentally, because the media are always focused on the Madrid v Barça match two weeks before it\u2019s played.

Asked about the announcement on Friday of the kick off time of the clásico, Guardiola said he was pleased it would be on Saturday, not Sunday. \u201CThe sooner the better, because we have to go to Japan. Abu Dhabi was only two hours time difference. This will be a longer journey, there is a difference of seven hours. We will need some time to adapt to the new time zone\u201D. But he added that ultimately, they will play whatever game whenever they are told.

Asked about the two teams FC Barcelona could face in the semi finals of the Clubs World Cup, namely Al Sadd (from Qatar) and Espérance (from Tunisia), Guardiola said he knows most about the Qatari side, \u201Cwho have changed coach and they\u2019re a top side and the strongest one they have there. These are the champions of two continents and it\u2019s a demanding enough competition as it is\u201D.

Zaragoza, prestigious opponent

However, the most immediate issue is Zaragoza at the Camp Nou. \u201CThey have a very good goalkeeper, they\u2019re a very physical side. Postiga is a great player, a goalscorer, he\u2019s very quick. They\u2019re coached by a manager with a lot of experience and Unzué has spoken very highly of him. It\u2019s not long since Zaragoza were in the second division, but they\u2019re a very prestigious team\u201D, said Guardiola, who hasn\u2019t forgotten how hard it was against the Aragonese outfit last season (1-0).

Optimistic about Abidal

Another pressing matter is the renewal of Éric Abidal\u2019s contract. Guardiola is optimistic. He said \u201Cif it was for what he has done, Abidal is a unique player. And we understand that he can give us more of the same. He\u2019s physically unstoppable. The club is crazy for him to continue. I have spoken with those in charge and they tell me that the club is also grateful to him. I\u2019d like to think he\u2019s going to stay, for the good of everybody. It was also difficult with Alves. I just ask them to work on it in silence\u201D.

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  • Pep Guardiola, Barça's Manager, at this Friday's press conference (by FC Barcelona)

  • Pep Guardiola, Barça's Manager, at this Friday's press conference (by FC Barcelona)