Jérémy Mathieu (30) was finally presented to the media as a Barça player after lengthy negotiations with his former club, Valencia. The Frenchman explained that although it has come late in his career, he is very grateful and excited to join the Catalan club. “I think I’m currently playing the best football of my career. I am very proud, I have worked very hard to come here.” He later added, “I’m a versatile player, but I feel more comfortable as a centre back, I’ve come here to play as a centre back.” More from Barça’s newest signing after the jump.
Sergi Roberto has completed his first week of training as a member of the first team under Luis Enrique, but he already knows FC Barcelona’s new coach well, having worked with Enrique for two years on the B team. “(Enrique) was vital for me. But now we’re in the first team, with even better quality players. I have to show that he can trust me like he did back then … Luis Enrique knows the reserves. We have signed players from other clubs out of necessity, but the philosophy is still the same.”
More from the midfielder after the jump.
Former club captain and legend Carles Puyol, who was in Brazil for the World Cup final to hand in the trophy, spoke to FIFA.com about both the changes la Roja needs to go through and how Barça are managing ever since he hung up his boots back in May. The interview also includes Puyol’s input on his new job in the technical department, as well as the controversial signing of Luis Suárez and Barça’s “eternal” search for a centre back. Read the full interview right after the jump.
The newly promoted Jordi Masip had nothing but praise for Luis Enrique as we start the new season. The coach recently stated that if he is to select his first-choice goalkeeper now he’d would pick Masip because of their time together at FC Barcelona B, and the young goalkeeper was motivated by Enrique’s words. “Luis Enrique already knows me, but he doesn’t really know Ter Stegen or Bravo yet. I was heartened by his words, and they have motivated me to keep working as hard as I can.” More after the jump.
The long awaited return of 20-year-old Spanish winger Gerard Deulofeu has finally arrived. After a year-long loan spell in Everton, Deulofeu is now at last, a first team player. Speaking in his first ever press conference as a first team member, Gerard made it clear that he is keen and ambitious on earning a first team place. “Coming home was always my objective,” said the Catalan in Thursday’s press conference. “I learned a lot of things at Everton and now I’m going to have to work hard to achieve this season’s targets.” More after the jump.
Barça’s new coach Luis Enrique has given us an insight on how he sees certain players in our squad. With president Josep Maria Bartomeu still faithful to his promise of making a team overhaul, the new changes have been a cause for both concern and excitement for cules around the world. The Asturian will have a lot to plan for ahead of next season, and with only his third day in charge, take a look at what he thinks of the trio in attack, the three goalkeepers, Dani Alves and more right after the jump.
Sitting alongside Luis Enrique, Andoni Zubizarreta spoke to the media this afternoon to give some insight into what’s happened and what is to come. Let’s begin with what everyone is most interested in: the mystical center-back. “Last year we had four very good center-backs and still wanted cover. But these are long processes and some of them weren’t 100% in our control. We are working on this need, that of a center-back. But it’s a need [for center-backs] that 80% to 90% of the top clubs also have. We are all working on finding one and if you noticed, there hasn’t been any big news save David Luiz’s move to PSG. We are in the process of acquiring certain targets and we hope to reach agreements with them.” Barça’s sporting director additionally confirmed that FC Barcelona have made an official offer for Valencia’s Jérémy Mathieu and the ball is now in their court.
Zubizarreta was coy on the details but was continually pushed with questions on the subject. He said if there isn’t success with primary targets, the club will “look for alternatives” and that there is always the possibility to “look down [Barça B] and not forget the quality of players we have.”
More future plans from Zubi below.
FC Barcelona’s pre-season has kicked off today, and Marc Bartra is more eager than ever to get back on the pitch. The young defender will be expecting more competition this season with more defenders to join the team as he targets a starting spot. In an interview with Sport, Bartra discussed the team’s expectations for the upcoming season, being a defender at Barça, his own hopes, personal challenges and his relationship with Luis Enrique. Read the full interview after the jump.
After his heroic efforts in the semi-final match against the Netherlands, Javier Mascherano has received almost as much attention as his teammate and compatriot Lionel Messi. Not that he is comfortable in the spotlight. On the eve of the biggest game of his career, “el Jefecito” sat down with Olé and discussed his reputation as a warrior, the pressure of success, Neymar, and of course, Messi.
“Luis acknowledged his mistake, but that’s not an important aspect to FIFA. They are violating his right to work, and football should be worried. He can’t watch a game of football, train or do his job, it’s disgraceful. We hope they revoke this draconian, totalitarian and in all regards fascist sanction.“
Chilean shot stopper, Claudio Bravo (31) gave his first interview as an FC Barcelona player to Barça TV moments after signing his contract. Bravo talked about how excited he is to be joining the best team in the world and that he is looking forward to start playing for Barça. In his first interview, Bravo was asked about how the Catalan club contacted him, what he felt when he first learned that he might play for Barça and many more interesting answers. Read on for Bravo’s ten answers in the interview.
1) “The news of my transfer has caused a sensation in Chile. The Chilean people are so proud that there are two Chileans (Bravo and Alexis) in the best team in the world. They’re looking forward to seeing us playing together in the near future”.
The transfer of Liverpool FC’s Uruguayan striker, Luis Suárez, to FC Barcelona seems closer than ever, and many fear the player’s tendency to lose control during games. In an interview with Sport, ex-Barça attacker Hristo Stoichkov warned Suárez that he will have to deal with incredible pressure from both the media and opposition as they will hope to provoke the player into doing something he’ll regret deeply in the future. “He seems a really good player to me, one of the best forwards, with the character required to play for the biggest clubs – but the bites are going to be a problem!” More from the Bulgarian after the jump.
Barcelona’s Brazilian defender Dani Alves was not very helpful in giving us an insight into his future thoughts when he appeared before the press at Teresópolis, in the aftermath of Brazil’s humiliating exit from the World Cup on home soil, after a record-breaking 7-1 defeat at the hands of Germany.
The atmosphere in the pressroom at Brazil’s base was not the best, yet questions were still directed at the 31-year-old regarding his future. Dani Alves was quite enigmatic in his response. “I don’t know yet what I will be doing for next season. I will meet with Barcelona and we will decide. If they want me to continue, I will continue.”
Javier Mascherano knows just how much a World Cup win would mean for his country. Argentina have reached the semi-final stage of the competition for the first time in 24 years and now must face the Netherlands. “We’ve been fighting for this for so long and now we’ve done it,” Mascherano told FIFA. “Of course we’re delighted, but we need to turn that into confidence and get our strength back quickly. We need to remember that we’re one match away from playing in a World Cup Final and that we haven’t made history yet.”
There are three teams left in the World Cup and with Brazil out, there is only one superstar left that everyone is focusing on. Argentina captain and Barcelona player Lionel Messi offered candid insight into how he is handling the pressure, the expectations, and the weather at the pinnacle event of his career. Read on to find out what he said.
Pedro Rodríguez thanked Barça’s director of football Andoni Zubizarreta for his words during the official presentation of Barça’s new signing Ivan Rakitić. The former goalkeeper declared Pedro “untransferrable” and that declaration appears to have instilled new confidence in the Canary Islands-born winger. “Those were some very nice words on his behalf,” said Pedro, who had expressed doubts regarding his future in his last two appearances before the press, with Barça and the national team. However, now he knows that Luis Enrique counts on him and only thinks about earning a starting place in the new Barça. “What’s important is my work, and when the chance arises, I will fight and compete like I have always done, and hopefully I will have a good season.”
Claudio Bravo passed his medical test at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper on Monday before heading to the Camp Nou to sign his contract. Bravo is the second goal keeper FC Barcelona signed this summer along with Marc-André Ter Stegen. The newly signed Chilean has signed a four-year deal contract with the club. After passing his medical, Bravo headed to the Presidential Suite at Camp Nou to sign his contract that binds him with the club until the end of 2017/2018 season. Claudio was joined by president Josep Bartomeu and vice president Jordi Mestre. After signing the contract, they posted for pictures along with director of football Andoni Zubizarreta.
During his first press conference as a Barca player, Bravo described his happiness with joining a team like Barcelona. “I’ve always hoped for a moment like this, I would like to thank Barça for putting their trust in me.” Bravo then spoke about how he is proud to be part of a club like Barça, “It’s a challenge for me, this is a club with a strong goalkeeping tradition.” The Chilean shot stopper was asked about the competition he will face against Ter Stegen and newly promoted Jordi Masip but he feels “we are all starting from scratch.”
After an impressive campaign with Chile in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Claudio Bravo has finally arrived in Barcelona to sign his contract with the club. Bravo, Chile’s captain, dazzled throughout the tournament and was on the verge of leading his side to the quarterfinals before losing a penalty shootout against the hosting team Brazil. But what’s done is done, and the goalkeeper is ready to move on and become FC Barcelona’s third new goalkeeper of the 2014/2015 season. Bravo posed in front of the club’s crest for the traditional pictures upon arrival, and he looks eager to start. Continue reading for more details.