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Former Barcelona defender talks Lewandowski, Pique, Alba, injuries, Inter Milan controversy



Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images

Oscar Mingueza left Barcelona for Celta Vigo this past summer after having fallen down the pecking order of things under Xavi Hernandez. The former La Masia defender is all set to face his boyhood club this weekend as Celta Vigo take on Barça at Spotify Camp Nou.

Ahead of the game, the Spanish ace sat down with Mundo Deportivo for an interview, during which he discussed various things related to his former club.

Heading into the game, Barcelona are seated at the top of the La Liga standings and are yet to lose a single match in the league. When asked about the team’s current form in the competition, Mingueza said:

“They are playing very well, not only do they win but they are also playing at a high level, something that has been lacking in recent years. And with the signings they have made, especially with Lewandowski, they are scoring a lot of goals, he is the one who has the power.”

However, Barca lost their most recent game against Inter Milan on Tuesday night in the Champions League, in a match was that filled with controversies thanks to some dodgy officiating. When asked about his thoughts on that game, Mingueza replied:

“It wasn’t Barça’s best game, but even so, with the quality they have in some isolated action, they can win the game. And Inter are never an easy team, and at home, they become very strong with the support of their fans. 

“Then came the hand of Dumfries and the truth is that I did not believe it, that they did not call it and above all that the referee did not review it.”

The versatile defender then added that he expects Barcelona to hit back hard when they face Celta later this week, as he said:

“Barça are dangerous in every way. They have a very good run in La Liga and after losing in Milan they will come out extra motivated and even more eager. Yes it will be a very difficult game in which we will suffer a lot.”

Mingueza also opened up on the prospect of facing Robert Lewandowski and how it will be hard to defend against the Poland captain, saying:

“Yes, we know that he is a player that you cannot let him have even half a chance. But not only him, but also Dembele, Raphinha, Ferran, Ansu… the one who has half a chance is going to be plugged in. 

“That’s why you have to be very attentive and play a perfect match to be able to get something out of it.”

On his feelings ahead of a return to Barcelona, he added: “I still have many friends there, I know many people at the club and I have been there for many years, so I will always wish them the best. Except when they play against Celta, of course.”

When asked if he had spoken to Xavi Hernandez after leaving Barcelona, he said: “We have not spoken again, but that is part of the past, they are things that happen and now I only think about going home and reuniting with many friends.”

Mingueza also spoke about the situations of veteran defenders Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba, who have struggled for game-time this season, saying:

“It’s a bit strange, because after so many years and seeing that last year, which was not our best season, they were the ones who stood up for the team and always played well. But it’s not my decision and I can’t influence it, so I leave that for the coach.”

On the recent spate of injuries that the Catalans had endured, especially in defence, Mingueza said: “Yes, it seems that the injuries to the central defenders and the full-backs aren’t helping, but they have Piqué, who will surely, like every year, play well and do well.”

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