‘Madrid should stick to basketball’

Barcelona legend Hristo Stoichkov has responded to Real Madrid’s run of one La Liga in seven seasons by sarcastically advising them to stick to basketball.

The former Bulgaria striker has remained a staunch defender of all things Barca since his departure in 1998, and he taunted Los Blancos for a campaign devoid of any major silverware with a sly acknowledgement of their 19th Euroleague triumph on Wednesday.

“I think I won more Leagues playing with veterans than Madrid [did in seven seasons],” he told Radio4G.

“This year, [Madrid] should give more importance to Euroleague basketball because in football they’ll only see the [Champions League] final on television.

“[Iker Casillas] is a symbol of world football. He’s won everything and shouldn’t be forced to leave Real Madrid just because of some idiots booing him.

“When I played for the Bulgarian national team, I always wore a bracelet that resembled the Catalan flag.

“I’ve always supported [Catalan] independence since someone asked me about it at Wembley in 1992. Why must [the Catalan people] depend on someone else?

“[Nevertheless], Spain won the World Cup [in 2010] because of Spain, not Catalonia.

“I have great respect for [Coach] Vicente del Bosque. I’m proud of my [old Barca] teammates because they wore the jersey of both Barcelona and the [Spanish national team.”

Tags Hristo Stoichkov