Rafinha: “Competition between players makes us better”

Rafinha: “Competition between players makes us better”

Back from his loan with Celta, Rafinha Alcantara offered some opinions on his return to the squad and outlook for the upcoming season. “Barça is a team that is very easy to adapt to, players receive you with open arms,” said the Brazilian from the training facility in England. More after the jump.

 

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Piqué: “I’m not among the best defenders”

Piqué: “I’m not among the best defenders”

Gerard Piqué admitted during his press conference yesterday afternoon that he hasn’t been enjoying his best football lately, saying that “at the moment I am not among the the best central defenders in the world.” The defender was disappointed at his performances with FC Barcelona during the past season and Spain during the World Cup, but he is convinced that “with Luis Enrique’s help I will recover a high level.” Piqué also said that he sees it as a challenge and if he plans to continue playing with Barça, he must become one of the best once again. Continue reading for more.

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Ter Stegen: “My idol is Oliver Kahn”

Ter Stegen: “My idol is Oliver Kahn”

The first of Barca’s many signings this summer, Marc-André ter Stegen is the club’s goalkeeper of the future. But what else do we know about him? The young German sat down with Mundo Deportivo this week to discuss the expectations of Luis Enrique, competing for the starting spot and the joy of the German World Cup victory, to the chagrin of his teammates. Read more after the jump.

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Pedro: “The club has confidence and faith in me”

Pedro: “The club has confidence and faith in me”

Pedro Rodríguez’s future at the club was questioned by many during the past few weeks as some predicted that the winger may be offloaded after five years with the first team. Nevertheless, Pedro revealed that he talked to Andoni Zubizarreta to understand his role at the club a few weeks back and felt valued. “The club has confidence and faith in me. I’ve worked under Luis Enrique before, he knows me and he knows what I can bring. That was important in keeping me at the club which has given me everything.” Continue reading for more.

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Balague: “Enrique wants discipline and hard work”

Balague: “Enrique wants discipline and hard work”

Sky Sports Spanish football expert Guillem Balague reported on how the squad is doing at the St. George’s Park facilities where coach Luis Enrique now operates from for the next few days. With most of the squad back, only World Cup finalists Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano along with the injured Neymar and the suspended Luis Suárez are missing from Lucho’s training sessions, which Guillem assures are as intense as they can get.

“Luis Enrique is a fanatic of physical training,” Guillem told Sky Sports News. “Barcelona have come from two years where the training has been more relaxed and less intense, which showed in the way they were playing. But Enrique wants discipline, hard work, and for guys to recover pressure high and be fit. The famous journalist also mentioned that the players “are saying privately that it’s hard to finish the sessions. So far what he has been doing back in Barcelona is difficult training sessions. Here [at St George’s Park] you’re going to get one in the morning and one in the afternoon and so on until Saturday.” More from Balague after the jump.

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Quote of the Day: Lions and sheep

Quote of the Day: Lions and sheep

A lion doesn’t concern himself with the opinions of a sheep.

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Rakitić: “The feeling is very good”

Rakitić: “The feeling is very good”

After Barça’s first morning session in England came the time for the first press conference at St. George’s Park. The player to attend the media was Ivan Rakitić, who gave his first press conference as a Barcelona player. Read the Croatian’s full interview after the jump…

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Interview with Jérémy Mathieu

Interview with Jérémy Mathieu

FC Barcelona is doing a series of video interviews with players on their Barça Fans website, and new signing Jérémy Mathieu is the latest subject. The interview is an exclusive content for FC Barcelona fans who sign up on fcbarcelona.com, bringing them exclusive interviews with the players. In the first part of the interview with the French defender, Jérémy Mathieu talked about his first hours as a Barcelona player.

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Luis Enrique: “We’ll be in good shape for the season”

Luis Enrique: “We’ll be in good shape for the season”

FC Barcelona’s new coach, Luis Enrique, talked about how the pre-season is going so far before heading to England. The team will be staying at St. George’s Park for six days before embarking for their friendly matches. Lucho started his tenure as Barça coach with a win against Recreativo Huelva (0-1) and on the 2nd of August the team will play their second game in France against OGC Nice. After that, the team will face SSC Napoli and HJK Helsinki before playing the last game against in the Joan Gamper trophy against Club Léon de Guanajuato on August 18th. The thoughts of Luis Enrique below.

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Ex-Barça: Deco, Sylvinho & Belletti talk new Barça

Ex-Barça: Deco, Sylvinho & Belletti talk new Barça

It was a match for the ex-Barça players of 2006 to reunite for one last time in Deco’s testimonial match where FC Barcelona 20006 played against FC Porto 2004. Lionel Messi, Samuel Eto’o, Juliano Belletti, Deco and Sylvinho all took part in this match with Deco playing for a number of minutes with each side. Deco ended his career with an astonishing lob finish in the dying minutes of the match to equalize for Porto making the match end (4-4).

After the match, Belletti, Deco and Sylvinho took time to talk about the new Barça and they all had promising words to say…

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Piqué: “We needed Mathieu”

Piqué: “We needed Mathieu”

In an interview with La Sexta Deportes, Gerard Piqué hailed the signing of Valencia CF’s former defender, Jérémy Mathieu, after the Frenchman decided to join FC Barcelona saying that the team’s centre-back position needed reinforcements. “We needed to fill the position. When Mathieu played as a central-defender for Valencia he always did well and I am delighted with his move,” he said. More after the jump from Piqué regarding Xavi Hernández and Cesc Fàbregas.

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Iniesta: “Suárez is one of the best signings”

Iniesta: “Suárez is one of the best signings”

In his first press conference of the 2014/15 season, Andrés Iniesta discussed the team’s hopes and challenges for the upcoming campaign saying that their goal is always the same no matter the circumstances. “The challenges are the same as they are every season – to win titles. And to do that it’s important to get things right from the start.” More after the jump from Iniesta regarding Luis Enrique, Luis Suárez, and Xavi Hernández.

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Iniesta: “Puyol, Xavi and Victor have always been my references”

Iniesta: “Puyol, Xavi and Victor have always been my references”

FC Barcelona midfielder Andrés Iniesta (30) underlined in a recent interview that captaining games is a thing to enjoy and that the moments “make you feel happy and proud.” As a former La Masia wonderkid and long time first team member, Iniesta values the privilege of wearing the captain armband. “For people who have been at home here for a long time and have been part of the grassroots here, being captain of the first team has always been in your dreams.” 

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Zubizarreta: “Having Xavi is always positive”

Zubizarreta: “Having Xavi is always positive”

Sports director, Andoni Zubizarreta and vice-president Jordi Mestre presented FC Barcelona’s new center back Jérémy Mathieu on Thursday. Zubi had only good words for Mathieu describing him as, “a player that used to play on the left and has adapted his play to be a center back.” He added that, “he’s good at playing out from the back, he’s powerful and he has quality. We didn’t just sign a great center back, we signed a great footballer.” 

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Mathieu: “I will try to do the best job possible”

Mathieu: “I will try to do the best job possible”

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.

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Quote of the Day: “Murderer”

Quote of the Day: “Murderer”

“They are treating Luis like a murderer and not like a footballer.”

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Marc Bartra: “I expect to consolidate myself and have continuity”

Marc Bartra: “I expect to consolidate myself and have continuity”

After Tuesday’s morning training session, Barcelona centre-back Marc Bartra was the player to face the media for the standard press conference. Read the full translation of what the 23-year-old said after the jump…

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Sergi Roberto: “The philosophy is still the same”

Sergi Roberto: “The philosophy is still the same”

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.

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Puyol: “Rebuilding should be done in a measured way”

Puyol: “Rebuilding should be done in a measured way”

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.

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Neymar: “We must admit that Brazil lags behind Germany and Spain”

Neymar: “We must admit that Brazil lags behind Germany and Spain”

In his first interview since the World Cup, Neymar Jr. spoke about the state of Brazilian soccer and gave an update on the injury he suffered against Colombia. Will he recover in time for the start of the season? Read some highlights from the full interview with Globo Magazine after the break.

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Masip: “Enrique always had faith in young players”

Masip: “Enrique always had faith in young players”

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.

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Deulofeu: “Coming home was always my objective”

Deulofeu: “Coming home was always my objective”

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.

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Luis Enrique on individual players

Luis Enrique on individual players

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.

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Enrique: “I am a born leader and I lead this team”

Enrique: “I am a born leader and I lead this team”

New Barcelona coach Luis Enrique held a press conference Wednesday, along with sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta. He discussed the roadmap for the upcoming season, his preferred style of play, and discussed some of the challenges over the past year.  Find out what he said after the break.

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Zubizarreta: “We are in the process of acquiring targets”

Zubizarreta: “We are in the process of acquiring targets”

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.

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Quote of the Day: Three’s a crowd?

Quote of the Day: Three’s a crowd?

I don’t understand how Barça are going to manage combination football with Messi, Neymar and Luis Suárez in the team. The three are individualists. Makes it clear that Barça prefer individual play before a team that plays good football.

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Bartra: “People will see a better player”

Bartra: “People will see a better player”

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.

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Quote of the Day: Staying put?

Quote of the Day: Staying put?

We are delighted with Dani Alves. When he’s back we will talk to him.
But we are delighted with him.

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Javier Mascherano: “I’m not Rambo”

Javier Mascherano: “I’m not Rambo”

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.

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Maradona: “Smash it”

Maradona: “Smash it”

“Smash it. Sunday’s is going to be your game. You’re going to lead the team, score two goals and we’re going to leave the Maracanã with the World Cup.
It’ll be a historic moment that you’ll never forget”
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