Gerard Pique has reflected on Spain’s challenge in facing Italy and on how his impression of Neymar has him excited for a partnership with Lionel Messi.
La Roja face off against Italy this evening in Fortaleza for a place in the Confederations Cup Final, in a repeat of last summer’s European Championship Final.
“It will be a very exciting match with a great team,” enthused Pique talking to Marca.
“They know how to play these types of games, especially those that are life or death. It will be a closed game and they will try to stop us playing. We must try to impose our style.
“We have been fortunate that from the World Cup in South Africa the main block of players remains the same.
“Del Bosque has made only a few changes and as for Italy it is true that something has changed with relation to the Euro 2012 Final.
“Italy are one of the greats and have many titles. They will be a very difficult opponent to beat. We beat them 4-0 in the final last year and it seems like it will be easy, but if you look back, Italy have always made it difficult to beat them.
“We want to win the Confederations Cup as it is a title that would prove that Spain are still up there. It would close a cycle after winning many titles.
“The team is capable of this and much more. We are favourites and want to go for it.”
Should Pique and company win through to Sunday’s final then they will face tournament hosts Brazil and Barcelona’s new signing Neymar.
“Neymar is surprising a lot of people. We're lucky to have him at Barca and he's going to offer us a lot.
“I was looking forward to seeing him in the Confederations Cup because it's a big tournament. He's doing a great job.
“Can he play with Lionel Messi? Two players as good as Messi and Neymar can always play together.
“It's up to them. There won't be any issues- they are going to complement each other perfectly.”
The centre-back also had words of encouragement for teammate Andres Iniesta.
“Iniesta has a key role for Spain and Barcelona. With Messi there, it can seem like Andres doesn't matter that much at Barca, but that's not the case.
“He's really important for the national team. He's extremely talented and it's a good thing for him to see so much of the ball.”
Pique also cast an eye on recent activity at Real Madrid, including Carlo Ancelotti’s appointment as Coach and Isco’s signing from Malaga.
“They are going all out. Ancelotti has vast amounts of experience in Italy.
“We knew Real Madrid would strengthen the squad and they are signing players of the calibre of Isco.”
Think you know your Spanish football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's World Cup tipster competition - £10,000 to be won!