Thursday May 1 2014
Marotta: 'Juve-Benfica is a Final'

Juventus general manager Beppe Marotta maintains the semi-final with Benfica is an early Europa League Final.

“I believe these two clubs are the favourites for the trophy, so it’s a shame the draw put us together in the semi-final,” he told Sky Sport Italia.

The other semi-final is an all-Spanish affair between Valencia and Sevilla. Juve-Benfica kicks off at 20.05 UK time (19.05 GMT), click here for the line-ups.

“We haven’t got long to go in order to secure a third consecutive Scudetto, but are also becoming competitive in Europe again.
“We are here playing a semi-final for a trophy that might not be as important as the Champions League, but becomes more important when we consider the Final will be in our stadium.”

Atletico Madrid will play the Champions League Final against Real Madrid, so does this give hope to clubs who cannot spend €100m on a single player?

“I think the presence of Atletico is an exception. Every year we see in the semi-finals that at least three of them have huge revenue,” continued Marotta.

“If we take the last five years as an example, the same clubs tend to reach the final four. That means clubs with more money can certainly buy better players, but football is a sport and the richest side doesn’t always win.”

Marotta was asked whether he felt Carlos Tevez or Gonzalo Higuain deserved to be at the World Cup this summer.

“They are two excellent players who could easily represent Argentina at the World Cup, but Sabella has a tough job as there are many great forwards at his disposal.

“In terms of experience, character and history Tevez would deserve to be in the squad, but there appear to be some non-footballing issues that are keeping him out. He is certainly very bitter about this.”