Former Barcelona player Luis Garcia acknowledged that Real Madrid was in better form to clinch this season’s title than its closest contender Barcelona. Madrid, he went on, had been able to build a solid team that had gone all out in the title hunt after the league resumed after a three-month hiatus.
Following its latest 2-1 win over Granada on Tuesday, Zinedine Zidane’s men will only need one more victory from Villareal in Thursday’s match before they can kiss La Liga’s trophy.
“Real Madrid has brought all the good players and it has done a better job. But we still need to wait and see for the two of them,” Garcia, La Liga ambassador, said in an online meeting with Asian journalists on Monday.
Unlike Madrid, he went on, Barcelona was still struggling to adapt to the new situation and at the same time address internal problems. The club management’s decision to replace coach Ernesto Valverde with Quique Setien, which sparked controversy in and out of the club, is one of them.
Many have seriously questioned the reason behind Setien’s presence in the club. Conflicts between top players like Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez might explain the club’s poor performance.
Despite the poor condition, Garcia was looking into the future, as he expected his former club to not fall in the same pit again and start making more goals and winning the rest of the matches.
“If it turns out that the club is failing to secure this season’s title then it could become the momentum to prepare seriously for the next season’s title hunt,” he said.
As for Messi, who is widely reported to feel stuck in his career, Garcia convinced that the Argentine, as a matured player, would play for many years to come.
“Messi is a kind of player who has already been facing the ups and downs in the sport. He has fully realized that he will not always win the match. So he would not give up the sport,” he said.
“Barca has fantastic players. Right now, however, the club is still trying to adapt to the new situation, including with the new coach.”
Gaizka Mendieta, another La Liga ambassador who also joined the meeting, said adaptation was name of the game right now. He added that all clubs has been struggling with strategy.
“The fact that La Liga has been able to resume its leagues and thus greet fans around the world is great. Now we are seeing tighter competitions not only for the top clubs but also for the middle and lower clubs as well,” Mendieta, who formerly played for Italian club Lazio, said.
“But still there are so many things that work differently right now. So the players are facing a quite challenging road before them.”
He then cited how all players should pay more attention to details like keeping a safe distance from the dressing room to the field, which was something they never did in the past.
“It has been a very unique situation right now. So, aside from making playing strategies, clubs are now mulling health and safety protocols that would prevent their players from harms,” he said.
When asked whether the absence of spectators would bring negative influence to the league, Mendieta rest assured that it would not go that far.
“It has been different, to have no spectators while you’re there on the field. But, we still know that they are watching us doing the match. This is part of the adaptation,” he said.
La Liga is seen to have secured big success following match resumptions, as it has increased its TV ratings by 70 percent. It has also boosted its digital presence and social media engagement significantly.