Luis Enrique: “I was happy with all of them”

Luis Enrique: “I was happy with all of them”

Luis Enrique was very happy following FC Barcelona’s thrashing of Levante UD (5-0). However, he did not want to draw any conclusions about La Liga. “We’ll talk about our league position later, we’ve hardly played any games yet,” he said.

The boss was content to yet again have a clean sheet, making it 4 out of 4 clean sheets so far, and stressed that it is the result of the hard work put in by the entire team. “Goes to show even more our idea of playing as team … Rather than singling anyone out in particular, I’ll just say that I was happy with all of them.”

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Player Reactions: Levante UD 0-5 FC Barcelona

Player Reactions: Levante UD 0-5 FC Barcelona

”Thank God I’ve got my first goal at last.” Ivan Rakitić admitted that team mates “were starting to tease me about it. But the most important thing is to help the team.” Jordi Alba stated, “Last season wasn’t very good, either for me or for the team. After the World Cup and Luis Enrique’s arrival, we were more motivated and we’re working much harder. It’s been some time since we’ve all been so happy.” Take a look at what Rakitić, Alba and Sandro Ramírez had to say in the post-match reactions right after the jump.

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Luis Enrique: “Always stay focused on the next game”

Luis Enrique: “Always stay focused on the next game”

“Always stay focused on the next game,” that was Luis Enrique’s message to his players on Saturdays’s pre match press conference ahead of Sunday’s game against Levante UD. The coach insisted that all people should be focusing on the next game, and that “general evaluations can be left until the end of the season.” Lucho continued, “The idea is to beat them. And depending on how we do, we’ll see where we stand. I haven’t been worrying about having to play seven games in 21 days. There’s only one game that we can control at the moment, and that’s the next one. My message to the players is to always stay focused on the next game.” More from the Asturian after the jump.

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Cruyff: “Guardiola better than Mourinho”

Cruyff: “Guardiola better than Mourinho”

The legendary former FC Barcelona player and manager Johan Cruyff told Bild that Pep Guardiola is a better coach than Jose Mourinho, giving credit to the Catalan boss for both Spain and Germany’s World Cup triumphs. The two coaches have had a long history of rivalry, much of it in Spain, but the Dutchman made his opinion obvious on the matter.

“To me, it’s clear. Yes,” Cruyff told the German tabloid when asked whether Guardiola was the better coach. “Guardiola wants to make football better, to take his team to another level. Unlike Mourinho, he has also played in front of 100,000 fans. He makes the game the centre of attention; Mourinho only talks about his team, his qualities and his mentality.” More from the legend that is Cruyff after the jump.

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Xavi: “I never wanted to play against Barça”

Xavi: “I never wanted to play against Barça”

Xavi Hernandez was a great subject for rumours and transfer talks this summer after the midfield maestro was linked to a few clubs that would end his tenure at the Catalan capital. Xavi’s been linked with two of his former coaches; Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich and Louis Van Gaal at Manchester united. The 34 year old was also linked with a move to Qatar’s Al Arabi with reports suggesting that a pre-contract was already agreed upon. But Xavi ultimately stayed at Barça, with his contract set to end in 2016. Check out Xavi’s reasons for staying with his boyhood club after the jump.

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Luis Enrique and players react to Barça-APOEL

Luis Enrique and players react to Barça-APOEL

Luis Enrique’s men earned an important three points against APOEL on Wednesday, but it was far from a comprehensive victory. While the game may not have been much to watch, it touched on a number of key issues for the season and left the Barça coach with plenty to say.  Xavi Hernandez,Dani Alves, and Marc Bartra – all returning to the starting lineup – added comments of their own. Read on below for more.

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Quote of the Day: Always a villain

Quote of the Day: Always a villain

I asked myself, “And all this, that I wasn’t even involved in? When will it pass?” Never ending stories, some that happened, others that never did. I don’t like making excuses, and it’s a fact that while I was there [at Barça] I never did, but living with it all took a toll on me. At Barcelona, one feels permanently like the villain. I enjoyed living alongside the players day-to-day, they are great guys who I could speak football with, and despite being so famous, they were genuine. That calmed me down a lot but that year was really hard on me.

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Piqué: “I still have a lot to improve”

Piqué: “I still have a lot to improve”

The defender who can seemingly do no good in many eyes continues to be honest about his need to elevate his game. “I still have a lot to improve. Playing with such a top class team makes you better. I’ve improved a lot of things since I got here but there are so many other aspects. I’m constantly getting better.” However, as he has mentioned before, Piqué continues to be plagued by that nagging hip injury that is improving and allowing him to be mostly pain free but he still experiences pains during contact and landing after jumping. Nevertheless, he’s excited another edition of the game’s elite competition begins once again. More after the jump.

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Luis Enrique: “We need the fans”

Luis Enrique: “We need the fans”

The wait is finally over. FC Barcelona are hours away from facing Cyprus’ APOEL FC in this season’s first Champions League game as Luis Enrique and his players start their journey towards glory. The coach has called upon the fans to come and support the players at Camp Nou ahead of the long-awaited return to the European stages. “We need our fans and we’ll try to give them a spectacular game … Three points against APOEL FC would be very important for us.” Continue reading for more.

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Pedro: “I”m happy with the way things are going”

Pedro: “I”m happy with the way things are going”

The FC Barcelona striker, Pedro Rodríguez, spoke to the press ahead of the first game in the new UEFA Champions League campaign beginning against APOEL Nicosia FC and stressed that the team is motivated and eager to do better than last season. Pedro is yet to score but he is optimistic, “I might not be getting goals, but I’m happy with the way things are going and I’m sure they’ll start coming. The important thing is that the team is working well”.

The Canary Islander spoke of Luis Enrique’s ideas saying that “the basic idea is still the same. Perhaps we should try to get closer to the area and not play so wide. But we feel comfortable with our game, we’re doing fine … The boss has asked us to create pressure up front, to win back the ball and keep it for ourselves. We’re doing that well and teams don’t create many chances against us. But there’s a lot we have to improve”.

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Iniesta: “The feelings are very good”

Iniesta: “The feelings are very good”

Barça midfielder Andrés Iniesta offered some insight into how the team is feeling after the victory over Athletic at the Camp Nou. Read what he said after the jump.

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Player Reactions: FC Barcelona 2-0 Athletic Club

Player Reactions: FC Barcelona 2-0 Athletic Club

FC Barcelona’s Chilean goal keeper Claudio Bravo (31) was content following FC Barcelona’s third consecutive league win, which ended 2-0 against Athletic club. Bravo was happy that the team broke the deadlock saying, “it was difficult for us to break the deadlock … We couldn’t score. But eventually we got a win that will do us a lot of good. Athletic is a tough, hard-working team and they are clearly more into their rhythm after playing in the Champions League qualifiers.” Read more on what Bravo had to say along with comments from Mathieu and Busquets after the jump.

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Luis Enrique “Messi is outside all praise”

Luis Enrique “Messi is outside all praise”

FC Barcelona manager Luis Enrique spoke with the press after Saturday’s game against Athletic Club. He said that he was happy with the teams performance and heaped praise on Messi. The Basque side made life difficult for the Catalans for nearly the entire match but then Messi assisted two chances that Neymar Jr slotted home to end the match 2-0 for Barça.

During the post match conference, Luis Enrique praised the game of Messi saying that Messi is not just the best player in the world for the goals he scores, or for his assists, but for everything. He is the best player in the world even in defence, that is the perfect version of Messi. Messi is outside all praise.” He also added that, “He does things you do not see even in Oliver and Benji [a childrens' cartoon], or the Playstation, what he does touches the impossible. We have got used to it, but it is a delight and a privilege to have the best player in the world in your team. Without a doubt.”

Read more from the Barça boss after the jump.

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Neymar: “I hope this can be my year”

Neymar: “I hope this can be my year”

After last night’s game against Athletic Club, FC Barcelona’s Brazilian brace-scorer Neymar (22) spoke with the press about his combination play with teammate Lionel Messi, the team’s performance and a great effort by their Basque opponents. Neymay lauded the provider of his goals by saying that, “Messi is the best in the world, a ‘crack. I am getting better with him. We are recovering as a team and improving. I came back from the travelling a little tired, it was a long journey.”

Read more from Neymar after the jump.

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Luis Enrique: “Everything about Athletic worries me”

Luis Enrique: “Everything about Athletic worries me”

Luis Enrique spoke very fondly of FC Barcelona’s La Liga opponent, Athletic Club Bilbao, following the end of the international break. “Everything about Athletic worries me. They’ve been playing well for several seasons. They’re the best team at creating attacking pressure. It’s always very motivational to be able to play Athletic,” he said. Luis Enrique will not be expecting Athletic to sit at the back, but to attack aggressively and provide a real test for the defenders. Continue reading for more.

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Halilović: “About Barcelona I can only speak in superlatives”

Halilović: “About Barcelona I can only speak in superlatives”

Alen Halilović, the exciting young Barcelona B midfielder and Croatian international, recently revealed how happy he has been in his time at the club. Find out what he said after the jump.

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Rafinha: “I know I can do better”

Rafinha: “I know I can do better”

Rafinha Alcántara has been impressive since he returned to the club this summer, starting both league games, against Elche CF and Villarreal CF. However, Rafinha confessed, “I know I can do better and give more. It’s hard to play for Barça and you always have to try to improve.”

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Adriano: “I’m feeling fine now”

Adriano: “I’m feeling fine now”

FC Barcelona defender Adriano Correia (29) spoke in Wednesday’s press conference where he talked about the changes under new coach Luis Enrique. The full back, who suffered a heart-rate problem that kept him sidelined for several weeks, has returned to full training and looks like he’ll start playing once again. “It was quite a fright when they discovered that I had cardiac problems” he said. “A lot of things go through your head. In a clinical sense, I knew that I was in good hands. And I have a lot of faith and am thinking about it less and less with each day … I’m feeling fine now. The issue has passed. It could be solved and now I’m back training 100% and looking forward to getting started and enjoying my football.” More from the Brazilian after the jump.

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Fabregas: “I felt I was doing Barça a favor”

Fabregas: “I felt I was doing Barça a favor”

In a long interview with El Pais, Cesc Fàbregas explained more about his transfer to not only his original former club’s rivals [Chelsea FC], but an azulgrana enemy manager, practically the most hated coach in Barcelona [Jose Mourinho]. The deal was struck quickly, and while many cules were happy to see the midfielder leave, it still felt like the fans needed some sort of explanation. Read on some excerpts of his interview after the jump.

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Fàbregas: “Munir is a special player”

Fàbregas: “Munir is a special player”

Former FC Barcelona player and current Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fàbregas commented on recently exploding Barcelona youth product Munir El Haddadi’s call up for the Spanish national team during a pre-match press conference. “Everything was too fast in what happened to Munir, they speak very well of him, he’s been training for a couple of sessions, he is free, good, and he is well surrounded by Barcelona players, who take care of him very well,” explained the Catalan.

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Sandro: “I always have to give my all”

Sandro: “I always have to give my all”

Barcelona B forward Sandro Ramírez is very happy boy right now. The Canary-Islander made his first team debut on Sunday, scored his first goal and then got a surprise call-up to the Spain U-21 national team, as a replacement for Munir El Haddadi, who got called up to the senior team. Speaking to the official media outlet of the Spanish Football Federation, Sandro couldn’t hide his joy at the call-up.

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Suárez: “You feel helpless watching on from afar”

Suárez: “You feel helpless watching on from afar”

FC Barcelona’s star summer signing Luis Suárez expressed his feelings recently in regards to his situation, and the striker seems to be suffering a lot psychologically watching the team from the sidelines. But this isn’t the first time the 27 year old experiences something like this. The previous season started similarly with Liverpool FC, and to that the Uruguayan knows what he’s dealing with, “I’m relaxed on that front because I experienced that in England and I coped with it.”

Suárez’s situation involves him being under the microscope as the pressure mounts, “I got used to playing under that kind of pressure; or not so much pressure, rather the fact that there are a lot of eyes on you,” he noted. “You have to get used to it and all the more so now, because I’m at the best club in the world, so there are going to be even more eyes on me than before. You have to be mindful, accept the responsibility and be smart.” More after the jump.

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Luis Enrique satisfied with UEFA Elite Club Coaches forum

Luis Enrique satisfied with UEFA Elite Club Coaches forum

FC Barcelona coach Luis Enrique took part in the UEFA Elite Club Coaches forum for the first time in his coaching career, and the experience was definitely enjoyable for him. Read more after the jump…

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Messi’s Roots

Messi’s Roots

The story of Lionel Messi coming to Barcelona as a youngster and flourishing in the youth academy on his way to becoming the greatest player in the world is legendary. In a recent interview, Messi reflected on his experience in the Masia. Read on after the jump.

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Luis Enrique: “The youngsters are helping us so much”

Luis Enrique: “The youngsters are helping us so much”

Once again, a Barça B striker has helped FC Barcelona win all three points early in La Liga’s title race, and this time it was Sandro Ramírez with the winning goal. In his post-match presser, Luis Enrique was overjoyed with the influence these young stars are having on the first team as they show the world the quality of players La Masia continues to produce. “I’m pleased to see that the youngsters are helping us so much. We are happy for him [Sandro] and with all of the hard work that the young players are doing.” Continue reading for more from the boss.

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Luis Enrique: “Every game is a new test”

Luis Enrique: “Every game is a new test”

Luis Enrique spoke to the media on Saturday morning regarding Sunday afternoon’s game against Villarreal in El Madrigal. This is the team’s first away game this season, and the coach believes that they are “one of the strongest teams in the league.” Lucho added, “We know the opponent and the venue. They have a good coach who has made good signings. It’ll be an attractive game for us and we’ll have to get things right in attack.” 

The team will travel Sunday morning without Andres Iniesta who will be left out as a precaution after hurting his left knee. However, Neymar Jr will be included after the coach confirmed that he is fit and ready to play. He also added, “Every player offers something different. I already have the team picked, but not even the players know what it is yet.” More from the coach after the jump.

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Zubizarreta: “Douglas will increase competition”

Zubizarreta: “Douglas will increase competition”

Speaking of FC Barcelona’s seventh signing of the season, Douglas Pereira, sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta discussed how the Brazilian’s addition will benefit the team. Zubi explained that Douglas “will help us to complete our set of full backs… He is a great defender. He moves into attack well, he’s skilled both with his right and left foot, and good at playing with the team… He moves up the field well and is good at picking out the right pass. He isn’t tall, but he jumps well and is good at defending high balls… He’ll increase the competition in this position and will give us more tactical options to play with.” 

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Mascherano: “We still haven’t seen the best of Messi”

Mascherano: “We still haven’t seen the best of Messi”

Fresh off signing a contract extension, Javier Mascherano sat down for a revealing interview in which he discussed the pain of the World Cup final, Luis Enrique’s coaching style, his Argentine teammate Leo Messi, and that black cat at the Elche CF game. Read what he said after the jump.

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Douglas: “I want to learn”

Douglas: “I want to learn”

Brazilian full back Douglas Pereira has arrived at Barcelona’s El Prat airport this morning, and he’s already spoken to Barça TV of his excitement in joining the Catalan club. “This is the pinnacle for me  – this is everything I could wish for. I am so happy to be able to represent this club. I want to thank everyone involved in me coming here and I just hope I can return their confidence in me on the pitch.” More from the newest signing after the jump.

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Rakitić: “Lucho told me to shoot from outside”

Rakitić: “Lucho told me to shoot from outside”

Newly signed Croatian midfielder Ivan Rakitić spoke in Thursday’s press conference ahead of Sunday’s away game against Villareal CF opining that, “It’ll be difficult because Marcelino makes his teams work very hard, but we just have to focus on ourselves. We’re very positive about the trip”. Rakitić also felt that “it is very important for people to realise that we’re making progress. There have been a lot of changes to the team in every area, but you can tell that we’re constantly improving.” More from the new signing after the jump.

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