BARCELONA (Reuters) – Former Barcelona captain Carles Puyol is “furious” after Real Madrid won the Champions League for a record 13th time and says the Catalans must change priorities next season.
Madrid beat Liverpool 3-1 in Kiev to win the trophy for the third season running, taking the focus away from Barcelona’s La Liga and King’s Cup double.
“I am convinced that we have a better team than Madrid, but they have won four of the last five Champions Leagues,” Puyol told Barcelona based newspaper La Vanguardia on Monday.
“I think the solution comes from getting our priorities straight. We’re losing an opportunity and I’m furious about that as a Barca fan.
“Winning the treble is extremely hard as statistics shows, so I think the most sensible thing would be to relegate the King’s Cup.
“Don’t get me wrong, I loved playing in the final, but the path there should be for the reserves and the young players to show if they are good enough or not.”
Barcelona have won the King’s Cup four seasons running but only progressed beyond the Champions League quarter-finals once in that time, when they won it in 2015.
“We have a great team and we have Leo (Messi), I think the Champions League has a much bigger global impact and also (impacts) on the Ballon d’Or.
“I have no doubt who is the best player in the world but Messi should be showing his talent above all in La Liga and in Europe, I’m sure he’d agree with me.”
Messi and Real Madrid striker Cristiano Ronaldo have each won the Ballon d’Or five times, but the Portuguese forward has won three of the last four, coinciding with his team’s Champions League wins in 2014, 2016 and 2017.
(Reporting by Rik Sharma; Editing by Christian Radnedge)