Pradyumna Tembhekar/Khel Now
The Kerala Blasters fans are famous- Girona defender Marc Muniesa
Written by: Punit Tripathi
The centre-back met the press along with two of his teammates at an interaction on Thursday.
“It’s an honour,” started Girona FC's ace defender Bernardo Zuniga, when asked about how it feels to be a part of La Liga’s first pre-season tour to India. “We’re grateful for the warm welcome and these two games are going to prepare us well before the start of the next season," he added.
Zuniga played a heroic role in Girona’s 2-1 win over Real Madrid last season. The 29-year-old defender, alongside Marc Muniesa, kept the trio of Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Isco at bay as the La Liga minnows cruised to victory. Muniesa is also part of the Girona squad that is in India and will play Melbourne City on Friday and hosts Kerala Blasters on Saturday.
The Girona trio was praiseful of India in the interaction
Aleix Garcia Serrano, the diminutive midfielder, commented on the challenge of playing giants like Los Blancos and Barcelona. “It’s a very good feeling for us, as we’re one of the smallest teams in the league.”
Muniesa, who hails from Barcelona, has played for Stoke City in the Premier League, while Zuniga has featured for Middlesbrough. Khel Now questioned the duo on the differences in the two leagues in terms of defending, tactical styles and more.
“It’s a great league. It’s more physical and the referees are different. They allow more physicality. For me, it’s one of the best leagues in the world. In Spain, it’s more tactical. It’s more direct in England. They go through the lines; play more crosses and is certainly more fun,” Muniesa opined.
Bernardo, meanwhile, was more direct, “One of the most surprising things, when I moved to England, is exactly what you’re asking. I had to learn to play football again (in England). Consideration of fouls by the referees is different in both leagues. The La Liga is more organised, while the Premier League has stronger and faster players. In Spain, you have a lot of teammates closer, but in England, you find a lot of spaces.”
Talking about the form of striker Cristian Stuani Bernardo stated, “It’s always nice to have a teammate in form. Stuani got 24 goals last season and that helped us to a 10th place finish in the league. He achieved a lot personally as well and as a team, it is important that he keeps scoring goals.”
Muniesa was then asked about his knowledge of Indian football, and the Spaniard stunned all. “Well, we didn’t know much about Kerala, but the fans are famous. There are close to 50,000 fans per game, while we have only 10,000 at Girona. So, it’s a big thing to play them (the Blasters) and we look forward to the match.”
“We played in an organised way,” Bernardo signed off when asked about the 2-1 win over Madrid. “Every team looks forward to games such as these and we were very happy to win it. The shape of the team was maintained throughout the game and it was one of the best feelings for us as footballers, defeating the European champions.”
Published: Fri Jul 27, 2018 01:31 PM IST