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Van Bommel on Barca

‘Away at Camp Nou is the toughest of the lot’

Winning the Champions League in 2006 with Barcelona rates as the greatest triumph of Mark van Bommel’s career to date. The Dutch ace just spent the one season in Catalonia, also collecting a Spanish league winner’s medal in 2005-6.

Wednesday’s meeting between Bayern and his former club is a nostalgic affair for the midfielder. “Barcelona are the best of the lot at the moment,” the FCB captain said during the build-up. Mark spoke to about what makes Barca so special, and how they can be beaten.

Mark van Bommel on…

…the club:
“Barcelona’s motto says it all: ‘Més que un club’ – More than a club. It’s true as well. Barça symbolise Catalan independence from Spain. You really feel it when you play there. Real Madrid are naturally their biggest rivals. The Catalans hate the fact Real boast more honours. Barça have only won the Champions League twice (1992 and 2006), but Real have won the European Cup and Champions League nine times. Barça have 18 La Liga titles, Real have 31. Barcelona are determined to catch up as quickly as possible.”

…Barça President Joan Laporta:
“Señor Laporta is a really great guy. He normally stays out of team affairs, but he’s never far away. When necessary, he’ll enter the dressing room and say what needs saying. When I played there we won pretty much everything, so we didn’t see him very often.”

…the training facilities:
“We trained adjacent to the stadium when I was there, but I believe it’s improved, as Barcelona have a new facility just outside the city and it’s much quieter. I had almost no contact with the head office, very different to Bayern where everything’s on the same site. Barcelona’s offices are at the stadium, which is always packed with tourists.”