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La Liga
By ESPN Staff

Pique says Real Madrid are not yet a "real team"

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique is relishing the prospect of lifting the Champions League by beating bitter rivals Real Madrid at the Bernabeu. A repeat of last year's amazing haul of six trophies is out of the question following Barca's Copa del Rey exit, but they are still on course to retain their Primera Division and Champions League crowns.

The final of this year's European showpiece is set to be held at the Bernabeu and Pique would love to see off Madrid on their own turf.

"It would be my third Champions League and, if on top of that we win it at the Bernabeu and against Real Madrid, it would be fantastic, marvellous," he told Interviu.

Last season was Pique's first back at Barca following his return from Manchester United and the 22-year-old, who spent seven years in the Catalans' youth academy, insists he now never wants to leave.

"To go somewhere else has no part at all in what I want. My wish is to retire at the Nou Camp. I am very happy."

Having witnessed Barca sweep all before them, it was a summer of change at Madrid as returning president Florentino Perez spent over 250 million euros on Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Xabi Alonso, Raul Albiol, Alvaro Negredo, Esteban Granero and Alvaro Arbeloa. However, Pique believes it will be a long time before they are a realistic threat.

"Florentino Perez has thrown away many millions and has great footballers, but they need a lot more time to be a real team," he said. "They still depend on individuals. Each game we do well in because of what the team does.

"We're never going to be tired of winning because the dressing room is a tight-knit clan. There is unity, commitment and there are no clashes or in-fighting: we all feel important."

Pique was also asked about former team-mate Ronaldo. Debate continues to rage over whether the most expensive player in the world is better than Lionel Messi, who lifted the Ballon d'Or and the FIFA World Player of the Year awards. Pique believes the Argentina playmaker is superior and insists Ronaldo would not fit into the Barca team.

"Messi is superior in that he has a direct approach and doesn't use so much fussiness," he said. "Ronaldo uses more feints, bicycle kicks... I don't believe he would be good for Barca. I think it would be very hard for him to fit in because he is a player who needs to feel important and know that he is vital for his team.

"At Barca we are all important but no one is indispensable. We know that Messi is fundamental, the best in the world, but he doesn't need reminding of that every two minutes."


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