Jose Manuel Pinto has reflected on Barcelona’s advantage over Real Madrid and on his career with the Catalans so far, from early adapting to future retirement.
The reserve goalkeeper’s side currently hold an eight-point lead over their usual title rivals after seven rounds of action played. However, for Pinto, the season has just begun.
“It’s looking good so far,” he admitted to Barcelona’s official website today.
“The season is really long though and it just seems to get more difficult and competitive, the other teams make it harder every time and it won’t be easy, though we won’t be any less competitive ourselves – we still have the same ambition to win.
“I think that the [eight] points [gap over Real Madrid isn’t] that important now. I don’t know what the Madrid squad are feeling, but I know what it’s like in ours and what the dressing room is like and there is a great feeling of strength and togetherness between us and a really good atmosphere.
“When you add that human quality to hard work then the results are better. Maybe they have the same thing in Madrid, I don’t know, but here it is incredible.”
Pinto reflected that it is an atmosphere he would like to continue enjoying right up to his retirement.
“Right now I am enjoying myself and would love to make it last as long as possible. Whilst I still feel strong physically, I’ll not be thinking about retiring.
“Hanging up my boots here? Well I’d like that – I’m very happy here, my son was born here and after my football career is over I’d like to live my life here. I love this city.”
The ‘keeper then reflected on his first few months with the club in early 2008 and on the adaptation he had to go through to suit the team’s playing style.
“As soon as I got here they made it clear to me that the important thing was to be able to play with my feet. That was a challenge which I quickly accepted and enjoyed meeting.
“Now I really like being able to play like that and I love playing possession games in training. It was a change I had to come to terms with in the first six months.”
Pinto also reflected on why he chose to be a goalkeeper in the first place.
“Since I was a kid I was always clear that I wanted to be a goalkeeper. My grandfather was one and my uncle too, so maybe it’s just in my blood.
“It’s a different position from any other and one with the most responsibility. When the keeper makes a mistake, there’s nobody behind him, so you have to have a very strong mentality and a lot of personality – that’s what makes us different.”