Ahead of Barcelona’s second UEFA Champions League Group C encounter against Bayern Munich, former Real Madrid superstar Rafael van der Vaart has claimed that the Catalans will go all the way and win the tournament this season.
Barcelona endured a torrid run in the Champions League last time out as they crashed out of the group stages, after finishing behind Bayern Munich and SL Benfica.
The Blaugrana have once again been drawn in a tricky group alongside the Bavarians, Inter Milan and Viktoria Plzen. However, Xavi Hernandez’s side have made a tremendous start to the season and are in fine form heading into the game against Bayern Munich.
And, Rafael van der Vaart, who spent two years at Real Madrid between 2008 and 2010, has claimed that he believes Barcelona are the favourites to win the Champions League in the ongoing campaign.
“Barcelona will win the Champions League. It’s just my feeling. It’s actually based on nothing,” the ex-Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder said on Ziggo Sport.
It is certainly interesting coming from a former Real Madrid star, considering that Los Blancos are the reigning champions of Europe and have made a perfect start to the new campaign.
Furthermore, van der Vaart has been very critical of Barcelona in the recent past. The former Netherlands international had blasted president Joan Laporta over the treatment of Frenkie de Jong, comparing the club to the mafia.
“I find it a disgrace. And Laporta who keeps laughing everywhere with his big head. This man thinks he’s the king. But I think he’s a bit of an idiot,” he had said.
“You can’t treat people like this. De Jong earns too much? You sign a contract and then you fulfil the contract or leave on good terms, but not like this. This is mafia and they have to get punished,” van der Vaart had added.
While he might have been critical of Barcelona in the past, van der Vaart is now of the belief that they can go ahead and lift the Champions League this season.