ARLINGTON, Texas — All of Mexico may have been impressed by Guadalajara’s stunning 4-1 destruction of FC Barcelona on Wednesday. Everyone, that is, but their archrivals.
“To us, Chivas doesn’t exist,” boasted Club América head coach Carlos Reinoso after his team’s training session at Cowboys Stadium on Friday morning. “Barcelona exists.”
Three days after Guadalajara’s shocker over the European champions in Miami, it’s the Mexico City giants’ turn to take on Barça in Saturday’s World Football Challenge finale (4 pm ET, ESPN, ESPN Deportes).
And it’s clear that Chivas have stolen the spotlight from their nemeses as Reinoso faced question after question from reporters about Wednesday’s surprising result. América’s coach was clearly over the comparisons.
“It doesn’t interest me what the coach of Chivas thinks,” Reinoso said of his counterpart, José Luis Real.
Nor does he care what happened to his side and Barcelona during their respective games Wednesday night. Out of América’s minds is their own shocking result, a 2-1 home loss to US international Herculez Gomez and lowly Estudiantes Tecos. And irrelevant is Chivas’ offensive outburst on Barcelona and their US touring squad in Miami.
“I know that for [Barcelona], it’s preseason,” Reinoso continued.
However, with Chivas and América having a long-standing rivalry, one would think las Águilas are looking to duplicate their archrivals’ performance on Saturday afternoon as a sign of things to come in the Mexican Primera División.
“We don’t think like that,” said Uruguayan striker Vicente Sánchez. “We think to do things very well and prepare ourselves for the league tournament and not about what others do.”
América players — including goalkeeper Armando Navarrete — believe their club has the right frame of mind heading into the last WFC fixture of 2011.
“We have the desire to come here and win against Barcelona,” Navarrete said. “We always play seeking to win and tomorrow is no different. We have the right attitude.”
Sánchez and Reinoso continually stressed that Barcelona are in preseason, but the striker added that regardless of results, Barça are still the defending European champions.
“It’s the best team in the world,” Sánchez said. “Barcelona is going to play how they know how they play. They are still in preseason — you have to understand it — it’s not going to be a normal game for Barcelona.”
Meanwhile, for América it’s another opportunity for Reinoso's side to develop as a team only in its first month of the fall Clausura.
“It’s to prepare us,” he said. “To face them is very important to us. It can serve much for the growth of our team. I think that it’s an honor to play Barcelona.”
If they can defeat the Blaugrana, of course, they might have a different tune to sing to their rivals in Guadalajara.