Date:Tuesday July 10 2012
It may have been three years ago, but new signing Chico Flores defended so well against Barcelona's Xavi when playing for Almeria that he admitted he almost 'gave up' in the game.
Admittedly, three years is a long time in football, but Flores is still only 25 years old, and at 22 he was able to prevent a midfield master at work. Surely, he can only get better with age as he approaches the peak of his career?
Xavi needs little introduction, he's part of the Spanish team that have just one three major tropies consecutively - two Euro Cups and a World Cup as they continue to prove to be the best national side in the world. Xavi plays a vital role in the heart of their midfield, and preventing him make those attacking forward passes is a must to limit their threat on goal. Doing that is no hard task and many defenders have tried and failed, whether it's playing against him in the Spain team or the Barcelona one in La Liga.
Barcelona did infact win the game 1-0 at the Nou Camp, but Chico Flores picked up the plaudits for his man marking success on Xavi - who said:
"It`s overwhelming because you don`t know where to put yourself. At times, I just feel like leaving the pitch so as to not to be bothered.
I have never had such tight marking. He was obsessive, and pursued me even in the corners,"
"I try not to be upset and to play with one touch. It is unfortunate that they come here (to play) to close us down but I believe more teams will do the same to us."
Chico did admit that while he was obviously pleased to have done the job he was set out to do on Xavi, he doesn't normally play that role, preferring to have the ball at his feet he said.
Flores has some big boots to fill next season as Tottenham Hotspur loanee Steven Caulker proved to be a fantastic signing last year, and at just 19 years old, he showed the potential to soon be a regular at the back for the White Hart Lane outfit.
Date:Tuesday July 10 2012
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