Spain's Real Madrid core of no concern to Valverde

By Sports Desk September 14, 2018

Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde thinks suggestions of a Real Madrid dominance of the Spain squad are inaccurate. 

Madrid stars Dani Carvajal, Sergio Ramos, Nacho Fernandez, Dani Ceballos, Isco and Marco Asensio all started Tuesday's 6-0 Nations League thrashing of Croatia in Elche, while only Sergio Busquets was involved from a Barca perspective.

With Sergi Roberto the only other Barca player in the 23-man squad, there have been suggestions Madrid are becoming the dominant force within the national team, despite the presence of ex-Blaugrana head coach Luis Enrique.

However, Valverde highlighted that of those six Madrid players, only Nacho and Carvajal came through the youth system.

He also pointed to the absence of three Spain regulars over recent years from Barca who were not involved this time: Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique, who have retired from international football, and the overlooked Jordi Alba.

"I think you need to read things properly," he told a news conference. "It was said before how there were more Barca than Madrid players; now, there are more Madrid than Barca players.

"There are players who weren't there, like Andres, Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba. In recent years, Madrid have signed players who can be called up, like Asensio, Isco, Dani Ceballos.

"If you look at the players from the Madrid and Barca youth teams, they are similar. I have the impression they're similar. 

"In any case, we'll fight to change that and to have more of our players called up."

Related items

  • Milner hoping for third time lucky at Barcelona Milner hoping for third time lucky at Barcelona

    James Milner believes Liverpool can cause problems for Champions League favourites Barcelona despite his own forgettable experiences at Camp Nou. 

    Milner was part of Manuel Pellegrini's Manchester City teams that bowed out at the first knockout stage in 2014 and 2015. 

    The Reds will face Lionel Messi and his illustrious team-mates at a deeper stage of the competition, having swatted aside Porto to reach the semi-finals, and the 33-year-old believes their playing style under Jurgen Klopp can pose tough questions of any opponent.

    "We can beat Barca but we know it will very tough," Milner told reporters. "I've been there a couple of times in the knockout stages with City and not got the right result, so hopefully it is third time lucky for me. 

    "They are a strong team and it is a tough place to go but I don't think they will have played too many teams with the style we play either. It will be difficult.  

    "They are a team full of great individual talent and a great side too. The Camp Nou is a fantastic stadium and a fantastic place to play with a great atmosphere. It will be very tough and we will have to be at our best but tough for them too.

    "Over the last couple of seasons, with the teams we have beaten in the Champions League, we should go there with confidence no matter how tough it is going to be.  

    "I'm sure you can see in this year's run and in games when things haven't been going well that we have got the experience. We have been there before and know how to get results." 

    Attentions return to the Premier League, with Liverpool travelling to relegation-threatened Cardiff City on Sunday after City take on a Tottenham side that dramatically eliminated them from Europe in midweek. 

    Both teams have set a relentless pace at the top of the table and Milner believes Liverpool must win all their remaining games – and reach a points haul of 97 – to become champions. 

    "That is what we will have to do. That is what we will try to do," he added, with City's game in hand meaning last season's centurions can still go on to 98 this time around. 

    "There are a lot of tough games coming up and it won't be easy. We are used to a game every three days and when the pressure is on towards the end of the season it maybe takes a bit more out of you.  

    "But the team has been fantastic in terms of how we have dealt with it all."

  • Liverpool to match Barcelona's ticket prices and subsidise supporters Liverpool to match Barcelona's ticket prices and subsidise supporters

    Liverpool have decided to reciprocate Barcelona's decision to charge away fans €119 (£103) for their Champions League semi-final tie and will use the extra funds to subsidise travelling supporters.

    Barcelona confirmed tickets for away fans at Camp Nou will continued to be priced at €119 after doing so throughout the competition this season, with Liverpool visiting on May 1.

    However, as a result, Barca fans will be charged the same amount by Liverpool when they travel to Anfield for the second leg six days later.

    In doing so, Liverpool will use the additional funds brought in from increasing the cost of Barca's tickets to bring down the price for their travelling support.

    As such, Liverpool will charge their fans €88 (£76) for the trip to Camp Nou.

    Manchester United did similar during the quarter-finals.

  • Manchester City lay on Wembley coaches for fans Manchester City lay on Wembley coaches for fans

    Manchester City's players will fund coach travel for supporters attending next month's FA Cup final against Watford. 

    Each member of the City first-team squad will fund a bus, making 26 in total, subject to demand. 

    "The support from our fans throughout the season has been nothing short of incredible," City captain Vincent Kompany told his club's official website. 

    "Travelling to so many games in league and cup competitions, both home and away, is not easy to do and is something that every player in our squad values and appreciates." 

    City were knocked out of the Champions League on away goals by Tottenham on Wednesday when a dramatic tie ended 4-4 on aggregate at the Etihad Stadium. 

    Pep Guardiola's team remain in contention for an unprecedented domestic treble, as they continue to march on blow-for-blow with Liverpool at the top of the Premier League after lifting the EFL Cup thanks to a penalty shoot-out triumph over Chelsea February. 

    Those exertions mean the Watford game will be City's fifth trip to Wembley this season, with supporters having criticised both high ticket prices and limited public transport provision back to Manchester from London following kick-offs in the late afternoon.

    "Although last night’s result [against Tottenham] was not the one that we had hoped for, it was very special to hear our fans in full voice for 90 minutes backing the team," Kompany added. 

    "We still have so much to fight for this season and this is our way of saying thank you to them for being with us every step of the way." 

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.