Normal to face tough sides in Champions League quarters: Barcelona coach

Barcelona, March 20 (IANS) Champions FC Barcelona’s coach Luis Enrique valued his side’s draw to face Atletico Madrid in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.


The tie sees the Spanish league leaders take on the side that is second in the table and their only rivals for the domestic title and is one of the toughest ties Barcelona could have had as they look to defend their title, although Enrique expected a tough tie, reports Xinhua.

“The rivals are always complicated in the quarter-finals of the Champions League,” said Enrique on Saturday, who preferred to look on the bright side.

“The positive thing is that we know each other a lot. We don’t like having to play against a side from the same country, but with the number of Spanish teams in the quarter-finals, it is likely to happen,” he admitted.

Barcelona lead La liga by eight points and have also reached the final of the King’s Cup.

“The best moment of the season is arriving and we want to be able to face it with guarantees. We want to be able to win everything, we have a very tough rival in the Cup (Sevilla) and we have a difficult rival in Europe. Everything is close to being won, but it has yet to be decided,” said the coach.

Barcelona travel to fourth place Villarreal on Sunday and Enrique admitted that Andres Iniesta would miss out with a muscle problem, while praising Sunday’s rivals.

Finally he said that although Luis Suarez was one booking away from missing the derby match against Real Madrid, which is the first game after the international break.

“It’s not something that worries us,” confirmed the coach.

Mexico’s Angel Reyna pins hopes on playing in China

Mexico City, March 20 (IANS) Mexico star Angel Reyna has said he is now at his peak as a footballer and sees his future playing in China, where an increasing number of stars are headed.

“A possibility of going to play football in China is opening up. I am truly hopeful that it works out. I am very happy at the idea of spending the last years of a career in a place where football is becoming much more important,” Reyna said on Saturday, reports Xinhua.

Reyna 31, has had a long career in Mexican football, having played for many of the country’s top clubs, including America, Monterrey and Veracruz. His last team was Chivas San Rafael, in the third division, until he was released on March 10.

“Now, I would like to be the first Mexican to play in China and provide an example to other Mexican players who might want to follow. It would be a very good opportunity to be a star there and win more championships,” he indicated.

In March 2015, the Chinese government published a plan to reform its football culture, in order to raise its standing and improve the national team’s performances.

Asked about his thoughts on the level of football in China, Reyna said that, with international stars going to play there, “the country will take great leaps forward. It is devoting the right attention to football and will likely become a power in the future.”

Zidane warns players of ‘very strong’ Wolfsburg

Madrid, March 20 (IANS) Real Madrid French coach Zinedine Zidane has warned that VFL Wolfsburg, their Champions League quarter-final opponents, are “a very strong rival”, recalling that the German team topped its group in the tournament.

“I think too many things are said in this regard, but Wolfsburg reached the quarter-finals after making victories and topping its group,” Zidane said in a press conference on Saturday ahead of La Liga clash against Sevilla on Sunday, reports Efe.

The French coach explained that the results of matches can never be predicted before playing.

He indicated that his team aims to prepare well for the Wolfsburg tie through a good performance in La Liga.

“We have to think first about La Liga matches, and then we will get ready to face a very strong rival in the Champions League,” Zidane added.

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