Barcelona will square off against arch-rivals Real Madrid in the much-awaited El Clasico in La Liga this weekend at the Santiago Bernabeu.
The two La Liga behemoths have already clashed twice this season, with Los Blancos narrowly coming out on top on both occasions. However, Barça are in a fine run of form heading into this weekend’s contest and will be gunning to capture all three points at the Bernabeu.
As quoted by SPORT, Barcelona defender Jordi Alba insisted that it was one of the biggest matches of the year. And he added that the team will go into the game to win it and continue pushing for the La Liga title despite the gap between them and leaders Real Madrid.
“El Clasico is the match of the year. The intention is to win it, and continue fighting for the league,” the veteran defender said.
“We dropped a lot of points in away matches, and we have quite a distance with the teams up top. But the team and the fans are motivated. Despite the difficulties we have had as a team and as a club, the sensations are very positive,” the Spaniard added.
The 32-year-old also heaped praise on manager Xavi Hernandez and the impact that he has made since taking over the reins of the club in November last year.
“I knew Xavi from being his teammate before, and his signing has been magnificent news for me and the rest of the dressing room. He is a manager that gives you a lot of confidence,” Alba said.
“He knows ‘the home’, both for the good and the bad, and we’re doing very well,” he added.
Speaking about his plans with the Spanish national team, Alba confirmed that the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Qatar later this year will be his last and he hoped to lift the biggest trophy of all with La Roja.
“Qatar 2022 will be my last world cup. I’m arriving at a very good moment and hoping for the coach’s list to try and win another World Cup,” the Barcelona ace admitted.
Finally, opening up on his retirement plans, the left-back added that he still has plenty left to offer, but accepted that it will be difficult to hang up his boots when the time comes to do so.
“When the day of my retirement comes, it will be very tough. But I still have a lot to give because I take care of myself a lot. Everything happens very quickly. And as the years go by, you start to appreciate things more,” Alba said.
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