Barcelona midfielder Arturo Vidal has responded to some trash-talking by Bayern Munich players and officials ahead of Friday’s Champions League quarter-final in Lisbon.
The Chile international knows the club well, having spent three years at the Allianz Arena before moving to Barcelona in summer 2018, and seemed in pretty forgiving mood in his pre-match press conference.
“I have not paid much attention, because I know that what is spoken outside is not what the dressing room thinks. It’s not come from their players… but tomorrow they’re not playing a Bundesliga side, they’re playing Barça, the best team in the world.
“Bayern are always favorites. I was there and I felt it but tomorrow they’re against Barcelona and I think Barcelona are the best team in the world. So it is very even regarding who is favorite, it will be who is better on the day and who wants it more.”
Former Bayern midfielder Lothar Matthäus was quoted by Marca as saying his former team “would have to make a lot of mistakes” and also “do a lot of things badly to lose to this Barcelona” in the build-up to the match.
Meanwhile, chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has been dismissive of comparisons between Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and Barcelona’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen. He said: “Manuel is world-class whilst ter Stegen is on the road to becoming world-class.”
Bayern’s comments made front-page news in Spain. Roger Torello at Catalan daily Mundo Deportivo reported the Barca players were all too aware of what has been said and added it has made them “extra-motivated” for the clash.
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Vidal Understands Fans’ Fears
Vidal also spoke about Bayern Munich being favorites for victory ahead of the quarter-final and says he understands why Barcelona supporters may be fearing the worst.
Bayern have swept all before them so far this season, winning the league and cup in Germany and looking imperious in the Champions League.
Meanwhile, Barcelona lost their league title to Real Madrid, were knocked out of the Copa del Rey by Athletic, and have looked too reliant on captain Lionel Messi.
Yet Vidal insists that the Catalan giants do have the quality to knock out Hansi Flick’s side and make it through to the semi-finals of the Champions League.
“I understand [why fans might not be optimistic] we are best team in the world, but the league, in the last few games, didn’t reflect that on the pitch and for that we lost the league. But we have all the talent, we have the best players and if we connect and do it well we can beat anyone. Tomorrow we want to show it.”
Vidal certainly won’t lack for motivation on Friday. The midfielder has won titles in Chile, Spain, Italy, and Germany during a glittering career but has yet to lift the European Cup.