Barcelona Featured Interviews

Dani Alves: “It was the dream comeback to the Camp Nou”

Dani Alves celebrates his goal against Atlético Madrid at Camp Nou on Sunday, Feb. 6 / FC Barcelona

FC Barcelona defeated Atlético Madrid 4-2 at Camp Nou on Sunday, courtesy of goals from Jordi Alba, Gavi, Ronald Araújo, and Dani Alves. Araújo, Alba, Xavi, Alves, Gerard Piqué, and Adama Traoré spoke to the media following the match.

Here is what Araújo said:

About the win

“I am very happy for the victory and for the three points. We played a great game, and the people helped us a lot from the stands.”

About Barça’s game plan

“We played very good football. We prepared [for] this match very well. We did what the coach asked us to do. We had to be focused on the opponents and wait to move the ball while waiting to find the wingers that we have because they are very good at unbalancing. In the end, we had to be very careful with ten [players] because we know that Atlético [has] come from behind in many games at the end.”

About his goal

“When Ferran [Torres] touched it I thought it would escape me, but I was able to score.”

Here is what Xavi said:

About the team’s style of play with eleven players and with a man down

“I’m happy with the two games we’ve played because we’ve played two games in one; and in both we have managed well. We need a match like this and it could be a turning point for the future.”

“We had talked about it being a match to compete. We had to be aggressive because they win a lot of duels, but I think we matched their intensity and were better.”

About what the win means for the future

“I have already said that it could be a turning point, but we have to be humble. It’s three points. We have been intense, and we have improved details that eluded us in previous games. Jordi’s draw has been good for us, but we have to be humble. Now we cannot stop but insist on the idea. We can’t breastfed.”

“Well, you have to keep up the level. It would be good for us to win two or three games in a row. That would give us morale. The atmosphere has been extraordinary. The reception they have given us has been spectacular. We have to keep up this pace. The penalty has been the expulsion of Alves. The objective is to continue at this level and continue to believe in the game model. Victory gives us a lot of morale.”

About his view on football compared to Diego Simone’s

“It is that he is looking for something antagonistic to us. He understands football differently, and that’s why we didn’t hit it off. He said that he didn’t like what he saw from our training years ago and it’s not bad. There are 200,000 ways to play. For him, if they don’t progress, he’s already satisfied. Me, if I don’t have the ball, I suffer. He is antagonistic to what I see.”

“I liked my team. I like many players from Atlético. The victory has much merit. If Cholo is a great coach playing what he wants to play, I am a rookie next to Cholo. I have incredible respect for him. But we don’t get along with what we want on the pitch, but that’s not a criticism. It is what is reflected, and what has been seen in the first part.”

About Adama Traoré and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang making their Barça debuts

“[Adama] has made a great debut. Also that of Aubameyang. Adama is a pure extreme. He has ease in facing players, power. He has been very good, and Auba, too. If we play with this defensive solidarity, we will be closer to winning games.”

About the difference between the last two games

“There are games in which you are thicker [and] others in which you feel better. There are times when you don’t explain what’s going on. Sometimes you play a great game and the next day you’re miserable. In Vitoria it was not a disaster, either. It is true that it was difficult for us to generate, but it is not a disaster either. And I’m sure today wasn’t the best game in the club’s history. It is a great victory, but you have to be humble.”

About the officiating of the match

“I’m not talking about the referee, but I will talk about a general thing: there is a tendency that there are fouls that are not called lately. One thing is a burden, and another thing is a fault. But it is not because of today’s referee, but a trend.”

About Ousmane Dembélé not playing against Atlético

“It was a technical decision. I had the idea of ​​making him play in the second half, but I decided to do other things. The circumstances of the game made me go another way.”

About his instructions for Dani Alves during the game

“He is the right back, but we have different ways to progress. We wanted to find Pedri and Gavi behind their middle line. When they closed inside, well, we had deep players like Adama or Alba. That was Alves’ idea and position.”

Here is what Alba said:

About the victory

“[It was Barça’s] best game of the season, and the victory has been very important. The first half was very good, and the second, with the expulsion, was more complicated, but we worked and were competitive. I’m very happy.”

“The rival was very difficult and direct in the fight to enter the Champions League, and we got through it.”

About the Barça supporters in Camp Nou

“They have been magnificent, not [just] today, but all season. I see the fans well, plugged in, with a lot of desire and strength.”

About if his goal was the best one he has scored

“Maybe, yes. It was very nice and against a very good opponent. I’m happy because it was a draw, and it gave us peace of mind to continue playing, that we were doing very well.”

Here is what Piqué said:

About the game

“We won playing well. Although there were phases of the game in which they squeezed us, in the ninety-minute count, we were superior and deserved the victory.”

About Barça’s first-half performance

“We had absolute control, possession of the ball, and we created chances. We were able to go into the break with a larger score than 3-1.”

About the significance of the win

“We are growing and gaining confidence, which is very important in the world of sports.”

About next Sunday’s match against RCD Espanyol

“It’s a derby, and we have to keep trying to win.”

About making his 593rd appearance for Barça

“For me it means a lot because I would not have imagined it. I am enjoying the trajectory that I have.”

About tying Carles Puyol for the fifth-most appearances in club history

“Puyol is a reference and a brother to me. It’s a special day, and I’m very happy to share this number of matches with him.”

Here is what Dani Alves said:

About his first game back at Camp Nou since resigning for Barça

“It was the dream comeback to the Camp Nou… It was very special to come back here, and, despite the card, I took all the illusion of meeting the fans again, of those great nights of football matches. It has been seen that we are not going to give up and we are going to continue fighting”

About the team’s mentality

“We are going to fight to put Barça where it deserves to be. Although Barça is not at its best, we have to be there and help rebuild. Right now is when we have to be united, because we feel the colors and the history of the club.”

About his position against Atlético

“Football has been changing, and we have to adapt to football. You have to understand what the game requires, where the stadiums are, what the coach demands… I love tactics, too.”

About becoming the oldest player in club history to score

“Age is just numbers… Today, I was very nervous, like the first day…with a little thing in the belly. A great connection.”

Here is what Adama said:

About the team’s overall performance

I’m very happy, although I think it can always be done better. That’s my mentality. It was a very hard-fought game and some very important points.”

About playing for the fans

“The fans enjoyed themselves, and that is the important thing: to restore the illusion and that people know that we will go out to win against whatever rival it is.”

About his tactics from Xavi

“The coach has asked me for some things and I have tried to execute them. I know that I can do better and continue growing.”