Friday, December 16, 2011

Iniesta: This Barca team is the best yet

Andre Iniesta has hailed the current Barcelona side as the best he has ever played in ahead of Saturday's much-anticipated Clasico against arch-rivals Real Madrid.
Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Dani Alves, Leo Messi
AssociatedAndres Iniesta: Champions League and La Liga winner
La Liga leaders Real currently enjoy a three-point advantage over Barca, as well as a game in hand, going into the first league meeting of the season between the two sides.
With Jose Mourinho's side playing at home at the Bernabeu, they go into the match as slight favourites, and some pundits even suggest that a win for Real could deal a critical blow in the race for the title, potentially leaving Pep Guardiola's side with a nine-point gap to make up.
However, Barcelona beat Real Madrid twice in five meetings last season, including a 5-0 thrashing at Camp Nou, losing just once, and Iniesta has warned that this side is even better than last term.
"I believe this is the best Barça team I've ever played in," Iniesta told "That's down to the way our play evolves, with the teams getting stronger every year.
"The challenge facing us is to improve day after day, year after year, something we've done in every respect - tactically, physically and technically. That's the way it has to be in football. The team of 2006 were better than the class of 2001, and this year's team are the best yet."
Barcelona have drawn four games and lost one so far in La Liga this season, with many pointing to Guardiola's desire to switch to a 3-4-3 system as the catalyst for uncharacteristic slips-ups that have handed Real the advantage in the title race.
Iniesta, though, is unconcerned ahead of the trip to Madrid and insists the players are good enough to adapt to any formation.
"Having tactical alternatives for any given match scenario or opponent is important," the Barca midfielder said. "We try to work on variations insofar as we can, because we have so many games.
"We take advantage of training games and even official matches [to work on these]. However, many of us in the current squad are already familiar with the 3-4-3 variant from our time playing youth football, so it's not that new for us. This familiarity means we can adapt to it quite naturally."
Barca have no major injury worries heading into El Clasico with captain Carles Puyol winning his battle to start at centre-half alongside Gerard Pique, despite suffering concussion in last weekend's 5-0 victory over Levante.


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