Barcelona reserve goalkeeper Jose Manuel Pinto says he pays no attention to criticism and focuses solely on channeling the positive “energy” he feels inside the Blaugrana dressing room.
Long-term back-up Pinto, 38, has stepped into the Barca team recently following the serious injury suffered by Victor Valdes, and has not inspired confidence in many observers with some shaky clearances during the Champions League exit to Atletico Madrid, and a mistake at his near post for the only goal of his side’s 1-0 La Liga defeat at Granada last weekend.
Ahead of Wednesday's Copa del Rey final against Real Madrid, the Cadiz-born keeper told El Pais that he was not at all worried about other people's opinions.
“I do not tally up what others think,” Pinto said. “Nobody knows better than yourself if I could have done more or less. In the end opinions are like asses, everyone has one, no?”
The former Celta Vigo custodian denied that he got annoyed when people suggested that he had only spent seven seasons at the Camp Nou as he was mates with Barca’s talisman Lionel Messi.
“That does not bother me,” Pinto said. “I am proud that Leo has become my friend. People do not know him as a person, they know him as a footballer, but they lose sight of the person. You would not believe how worried he gets about other people. He is very relaxed, very positive. It is worth getting to know him outside football.”
In a wide-ranging interview, Pinto explained that he had his own philosophy, and believed in positive “energy” and the power of meditation.
“In my time in Vigo I did a meditation course,” he said. “I believe a lot in energy, and through that I realised many things. When I arrived at Barcelona, my first visit, speaking with [Carles] Puyol, I also realised that coincidences do not exist.
“I believe in energy, and I get up at 6 a.m. every day to meditate. I also did yoga, but not anymore, but I still do breathing exercises to relax and that helps me a lot. Football is like life, so meditation also works for football, as that is part of my daily life.
“This dressing-room has enormous energy, it always has had. The energy was different when I arrived, in the last stage of [Frank] Rijkaard. The following year the energies were renewed [under Pep Guardiola] and that is when I knew that this dressing room is special. This team has a super positive energy.”
The veteran keeper said a prematch routine, which includes preparing his distinctive ponytail, helps him get ready mentally for games.
“Yes, it is a way of focusing on the game, to getting into the battle,” he said. “I used to do it unconsciously, but in the end I discovered that it was a way of preparing for the war. It is like the Native Americans, who painted their faces before going into battle, it works for me to get me into the game.”
Pinto is out of contract this summer, but suggested that even with Valdes leaving and the club being hit with a transfer ban by FIFA, he had not been offered a new contract by sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta.
“I have spoken with Zubizarreta,” he said. “Things have to go the way they go, but this is not the moment to talk, nor is it up to me to do the talking.”