Although the result looks more favorable for Real Madrid, Barcelona players left smiling Camp Nou. Reigned a friendly atmosphere, even among players accustomed to hard battles. Messi, for example, embraced Sergio Ramos – the Andalusian and the Argentinian add 40 and 39 classics respectively – and also Luka Modric. As if he were preparing for the return at the Santiago Bernabéu, a field as hostile as fruitful for 10, which has scored 15 of the 26 goals he has against Madrid.
Messi has learned to take care of himself, also in the classics. He did not want to risk Rosario with his right leg thigh injury – an undiagnosed problem, at least in public, nonexistent as is the medical part. He played 27 minutes in the first leg, a rarity so far this season. It is the first time in the entire campaign that the first match in a Cup eliminator.
Since the Barcelona, propped up by Messi, decided to charge their energies in the Champions League, the Cup looked like a commitment date for the Catalan side. But it was the same Messi who was responsible for vindicating the competition after the spectacular comeback against Sevilla. "We do not throw anything," he pulled his chest 10 after 6-1 at the Camp Nou. However, with muscular problems after his clash with Lato in the last duel of LaLiga, Messi did not want to risk in the Cup. Not even against Madrid. "We did not want to take any chances with Leo," said Jon Aspiazu, Barça's second coach, before the classic. And Valverde emphasized, after the tie: "The decisions you have to make based on what you think is better for the team and for the player. He was fine, I talked to him. " Piqué stressed: "Leo has preferred to start in the second half. I've seen it well, fast, it seems I did not feel any discomfort. "
Constructing the decision with the captain, Valverde left him the last half hour in his first classic of the season (he lost the 5-1 of the first round of LaLiga by an injury in the right elbow). He played 38 balls, nine less than the one he replaced, Coutinho (47). "Every time Leo catches the ball, we know the danger that comes with it. It could be decisive, "said the Barca coach.
Then, as is repeated lately in each press conference, Valverde was asked by Coutinho. "They ask me a lot about Philippe, I know that much is expected from the attack players, but he is a player who continues to dare. When the game ends you know that you have had two or three clear shot occasions. Always participate He is wrong, like everyone, "said the Txingurri.
The Brazilian finished four times, one on goal, and lost nine balls. Malcom did better. "I was a little tired, that's why I knew they were going to change me. But now with a little more confidence I will work to be able to count a little more, "said the 14th, author of the equalizer. "That he scored we hope he helps, he always has chances, it's related to the goal," said Valverde, happy with Malcolm and the result. "We received the goal soon, but there were a couple of situations with losses in our field without being subjected to much pressure. They have been able to unbalance us, that is the reality, we got a couple of cons. But we re-created ourselves and generated chances to equalize in the first half, "analyzed Valverde.
"The classics are like that," Busquets interjected; "It has been an even match. Everything is left to decide for the return. We deserved the draw. More or less, in the end the two teams have had chances ". The Barça players looked good with the tie: "LaLiga and the Champions are more important, but in this house, however much we sometimes want to throw competitions, our DNA does not allow it. We will try, despite all the difficulties, to reach the final, "said Piqué.
For the return, Messi is expected, a talisman for Barça, especially in Chamartín: "Whenever we went to the Bernabéu, things went well for us. They have to open more and we will have more spaces to play where Leo and company feel more comfortable, "added the center.