El Clásico is upon us. Tomorrow afternoon, Barcelona and Real Madrid will clash for the first time in 2020/21 and fireworks are guaranteed. For Ronald Koeman, this will be the first game against Los Blancos as a manager.
The Dutch manager talked to the media in the pre-game press conference and addressed the feelings prior to the match.
“I hope I can get some sleep tonight (laughs). Real Madrid are experienced and they always look to win. We are prepared.”
Of course, it will be entirely different without the fans supporting the team. The game is played at the Camp Nou but the home-side advantage that comes with the fans won’t be there.
“All clubs miss fans. The atmosphere without them is strange, but we will have to get used to it. Hopefully, fans will return to the stadiums soon.”
Obviously, Real Madrid have been shaky as of late, losing two games in a row, one in Europe and one in LaLiga. However, that won’t make a difference to Koeman.
“I will not use Madrid’s last result to determine their form.”
Next, he talked about individuals within his squad. Antoine Griezmann’s situation, Gerard Piqué’s latest interview and Jordi Alba’s path to full recovery.
“Griezmann is just like any other player, he has options to play.”
“Piqué has been here longer than me. He has his opinion and I respect it.”
“The decision is up to him to see if he can play or not. If he is ready, there’s a possibility that he might play tomorrow.”
Finally, he talked about gaining the players’ trust and giving out opportunities to the ones that deserve it, regardless of their age.
“We want to win to gain the players’ trust. They deserve to win after putting in a lot of work the past few days. It doesn’t depend on the age of the player, it depends on what they show on the pitch.”
Griezmann jokes when asked about his future following Copa championship: “Ask the president”
After being starved of trophies for two years, Barcelona have won silverware, defeating Athletic Bilbao in the final of the Copa del Rey by four goals to nothing. Lionel Messi was on target twice, while Frenkie de Jong and Antoine Griezmann got a goal each as Barça cruise to victory.
Following the game, Griezmann, who opened the scoring for Barcelona, spoke to the media, including about his future. He jokingly replied to that question by saying, “Ask the president.”
He said that he was very proud of the team and how they have managed to turn around the season, “Proud of the team and the work. We know that the season is very long and there are good and bad times. Keep enjoying the team and in the end the reward will come.”
He ended the presser on a celebratory note, saying, “We have to celebrate this title and enjoy it as a result of the work we’ve done.”
The Frenchman has been in excellent form throughout the Copa del Rey campaign and spearheaded the comeback against Granada in the Quarter-finals. He also assisted Gerard Pique for a last minute equaliser against Sevilla when all seemed lost, and has now been rewarded with the first Copa del Rey win of his career. Onto bigger and better things, hopefully.