Atletico Madrid striker David Villa says his side have an excellent chance against former club Barcelona in Wednesday’s Spanish Supercopa first leg at the Estadio Vicente Calderon.
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Villa moved to Madrid last month in a complex deal which saw Atletico pay €2.1 million up front, and could in total net Barca up to €5.1 million plus 50% of the rights over any future transfer.
The Catalans are overwhelming favourites to win this year’s Supercopa, but Villa told a press conference on Monday that he was confident of an upset due to both Atletico’s superb recent record in finals and Barca’s recent struggles against teams that work hard to shut them down.
“We all know Atletico’s potential, above all in finals,” Villa said. “We have a big chance to beat them. We will have to do everything right, that is true. When I was at Barcelona the teams who studied us before could put the brakes on us a lot.”
The attacker, who has also played for Sporting Gijon, Real Zaragoza and Valencia, said playing a former team was nothing new to him and would not be an issue once the action began.
“It is not new for me to be playing an ‘ex’, I have done it on various occasions,” Villa said. “I have very good memories of my time there. [But] when the game begins they will just simply be opponents, I will not be up against friends.”
Villa, 31, made his Atletico debut in Sunday’s 3-1 Primera Division win at Sevilla, where he started the game at centre-forward -- a position he played rarely during his two seasons at Barca.
“During my sporting career that is where I have spent the most time playing -- as a forward,” he said. “I believe my performance has been good, whether I played on the wing or up top. I like more to play as a centre-forward, but to have different options to play in other positions is something good for the team.”
One of Villa’s main aims for the season is to score enough goals to convince Spain coach Vicente del Bosque to take him to next summer’s World Cup in Brazil. The striker was Spain’s top scorer during their triumphant 2010 World Cup campaign but featured little during June’s Confederations Cup.
“I said it on the day of my presentation,” Spain’s record international goalscorer said. “If I am scoring goals for Atletico, I will be at the World Cup. If that happens, everything else will come along too.”
Meanwhile, Barcelona have agreed to pay €30,000 so that their city’s metro runs late enough to bring home fans attending next Wednesday’s Supercopa second leg at Camp Nou.
The game’s later than usual 2300 CET kick-off means it will not finish before 00:45 on Thursday morning at the earliest, and it was feared that supporters would be stranded on the city streets as the metro finishes at midnight on weekdays.
However Barca confirmed in a statement that they have intervened to help out. “FC Barcelona and the City of Barcelona have reached an agreement which will guarantee public transport to and from the Camp Nou for the Spanish Super Cup,” it said. “The agreement stipulates that FC Barcelona will contribute 30,000 euros to subsidise the cost of extending the metro’s operational hours.
“Mayor [Xavier] Trias thanked FC Barcelona for its sensibility to find a solution to the mobility needs generated by the Spanish Super Cup match and declared that the Club once again has shown its commitment to the city. The City of Barcelona highlights the importance of the agreement and it reiterates the necessity to continue working with all affected parties to address changes in football schedules.”
The game kicks off so late due to UEFA rules which state no domestic game can take place while Europa League or Champions League fixtures are being played. The Supercopa could not take place pre-season due to Barcelona’s trip to Asia and the international friendlies played on August 14.