MADRID – With the Spanish league over, Real Madrid and Barcelona are ready to recharge and regroup as they turn their focus to the Champions League.

The teams responded in a different way following the stoppage triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, with Madrid growing and winning the title and Barcelona struggling and finishing second. Now they have some more time off to prepare yourself for the final stretch of the season.

Both will restart their Champions League campaigns in a couple of weeks, with Madrid needing to conquer a 2-1 first-leg loss at home to Manchester City and Barcelona hosting Napoli after a 1-1 draw in Italy.

” We require a little assurance,” Barcelona forward Lionel Messi stated after the team’s 5-0 rout of Osasuna in the last round of the Spanish league on Sunday. “The break will be great to give us a clear head and allow us to come back with more inspiration than ever.”

Barcelona ended up 5 points behind Real Madrid, which ended its season with a 2-2 draw at Leganés. Madrid won its record 34th league title– and first in three years– after an excellent run of 10 straight wins following the pandemic break.

” We need a couple of days to relax,” Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said. “We have to detach and get some rest. We’ll think of that game (against Guy City) when we return to training. We’ll have 10 or 15 days to think about it. Now we need to switch off from soccer.”

Zidane remained positive with the team’s chances in the Champions League despite the huge first-leg deficit.

” Why wouldn’t I believe that we can return versus City?” Zidane said. “We’re going to battle up until the last second, that’s for sure. And now it’s time to rest since the final stretch of the season required a significant effort from everyone.”

Barcelona wants to prevent its first season without a major title considering that 2007-08. It hasn’t won the Champions League given that 2015, and last season it was gotten rid of by Liverpool in the semifinals.

The Catalan club held a two-point lead over Madrid when the Spanish league resumed, however offered it away after three draws and a loss in the 11 matches played after the break.

” We are mindful that we need to be more constant,” Messi said. “We have not had a great season, but (against Osasuna) we took an essential advance in terms of attitude and dedication. We still have essential things to play for.”

Messi on Sunday clinched the league’s top-scorer award to become the only player to have actually won it in seven various seasons in Spain.

Barcelona coach Quique Setién, under pressure for losing the league title, stated he feels the club has currently put its struggles in the past.

” We took a close take a look at the scenario together and we are all really delighted with the Champions League,” Setién stated. “We talked as a group and it helped us because we cleared things up about what we need to alter. It helps that we handled to get this excellent result (versus Osasuna) and it is going to help us to deal with the future with a better mindset and more interest.”

The other Spanish group still in the Champions League is Atlético Madrid, which completed third in the Spanish league and was unbeaten since the break. It will face German club Leipzig in the quarterfinals of the European club competitors after removing titleholder Liverpool in the round of 16.

” We have good momentum and hopefully it will continue and we can win the Champions League,” Atlético midfielder Jorge “Koke” Resurrección stated. “We will keep going match by match, and the series versus Leipzig will be like a final for us.”


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