Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has admitted that he hopes to face Real Madrid in a Champions League final before he retires.
A Clasico final in Europe continues to elude purists, despite both clubs qualifying for the semi-finals in all-but-one season since 2010, and the Catalans’ stopper confessed he would like the showpiece to happen at some point.
“The final is what it is. We’ll play Juve, who deserve to be here,” he said at a Press conference.
“They’ve had a great season and a great run in Champions League. We don’t feel like we’re favourites, it’s 50-50.
“We’ll try to play like we are at the moment. Ahead of us are a team who beat [Real] Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Monaco, all great teams, to get here.
“Would we have liked Madrid? I’m among those who don’t want to retire before playing a Champions League final against Madrid.
“We’ve already won the treble from what I’ve seen [in the media], but we haven’t achieved anything yet. We must keep our feet on the ground.
“Despite having a year that wasn’t so good, we’ve continued to rely on the same core [of players].
“I always compare [our situation] with the [San Antonio] Spurs basketball team. Their fans have continued to rely on them, and they always end up with [positive] results.
“When you win you’re the best, and when you lose you’re the worst, it’s always been like that.
“I have very good relationship with [Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar]. I’ve never seen a trident like theirs before.
“You always enjoy working with great players, but the quality they have, how they complement each other and combine … we’re talking about something unique.
“We’ve showed that we’re a mature team who can handle adverse situations.
“We’re not the team [who once had] 70 or 80 percent of possession. We’re now more direct and taking advantage of the three big players we have in attack. We’re now more solid.
“We’re already used [to seeing out the season strongly]. At the end of the day, football is about the players.
“I think there were a couple of off-field issues that hindered our performances earlier in the season a little.
“From there, we started to play [our best] football and kept [the headlines] on the pitch. For that reason, we’re here now.
“[The 100-point season in 2013] was historic. We were superior from the first to the last day.
“[Tito Vilanova] will always will be remembered in the history of this club. It was Tito’s year.
“The core of the team is the same. There are some differences, but we continue to follow a path that started years ago.
“[On Luis Enrique’s future], it’s not a question for me. He has one year left on his contract but has made it clear that this is his home.”