Luis Enrique: “Every game is new a test”

Luis Enrique: “Every game is new a 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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Claudio Bravo: “You always have to be prepared”

Claudio Bravo: “You always have to be prepared”

Speaking at Tuesday’s press conference, Claudio Bravo spoke about the differences in tactics that he had to adapt to in order to play for FC Barcelona. “I’ve had to change a lot but I’ve felt at home since the very first day.”  The Chilean added, “You always have to be prepared. I talk with Luis Enrique every day, about lots of different stuff – positioning, strategy, styles…” More from the Barça goalkeeper after the jump.

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Luis Enrique: “Barça fans have gone home happy”

Luis Enrique: “Barça fans have gone home happy”

Luis Enrique was delighted with his first game in charge of FC Barcelona, a strong 3-0 win at home to Elche CF. Goals aside, the match was full of promising signs for the “Lucho era” including high pressing, quick passing, and sparkling performances by debutants Munir El Haddadi and Ivan Rakitić. “The game had a little bit of everything,” Luis Enrique said. “Elche were very organised at first but we gradually started creating chances and showed what resources we’ve got.” Javier Mascherano’s red card “made the game harder for us” according to the Asturian manager, “but we knew we had to take less risks, then individual actions in attack helped us.” Read more quotes from the boss after the jump.

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Munir: “A dream come true”

Munir: “A dream come true”

Munir El Haddadi is La Masia’s man of the moment. The 18-year-old not only started against Elche, he capped off his dream night with a Camp Nou goal. Munir was the guest on Barça TV’s El Marcador following the match and obviously he was on could nine. “I am so proud to have scored at the Camp Nou with Messi and so many other great players around me. I’m very happy. It was a dream come true to play with them … Luis Enrique has told me to keep doing what I do, and so I’ll keep working for more chances. He tells us to work hard and get better every day. He’s a great manager.

Despite admitting a combination of nerves and excitement had him up all night, his performance was assured and mature, not only scoring but blasting the crossbar earlier on. But the goal is what he will remember forever. “It came because if you keep losing your marker, sometimes you get there. I saw the goalkeeper was off his line and just chipped the ball.

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Luis Enrique: “Nobody will beat us in terms of hope and determination”

Luis Enrique: “Nobody will beat us in terms of hope and determination”

Starting today, La Liga kicks off it’s new season, and Luis Enrique has given his final press conference ahead of Barça’s first league encounter against Elche. “It has been a great week in terms of the team dynamic and we are going into the game in the same buoyant mood as we did before the Gamper,” said the Barça boss before adding, “We know Elche will pose us problems because tactically and defensively they’re such a well-structured unit.” More from the Asturian after the jump.

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Simeone: “Our objective is third place”

Simeone: “Our objective is third place”

Atlético Madrid manager Diego Simeone has stressed that the fans should not expect last season’s La Liga triumph to occur again this season. “I don’t like to lie to people and one thing is clear: we can’t compete with [Real] Madrid and Barcelona. Our direct rivals are Sevilla CF, Valencia CF and Athletic [Bilbao]; the objective is third place. We are a new team…” the Argentinean said during an interview on with “La Gazzetta.”

Simeone talked about many topics, and it seems that he is playing mind games considering how strong Atlético Madrid still are. Simeone talked about his new team saying, “We are putting the finishing touches on forming a squad; the team has changed, above all in attack. I see it as starting from scratch because the team is different. [Mario] Mandzukic, [Raul] Jiménez and [Antoine] Griezmann are different players than [Diego] Costa, [David] Villa and Adrián. We have held on to the solid base on which the team is built, but we are looking for the style that best fits what we have. We have to be patient.”

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Xavi: “Things are looking good”

Xavi: “Things are looking good”

Xavi Hernández gave a press conference ahead of tomorrow’s Liga curtain raiser against Elche CF to be played at the Camp Nou. Xavi said that he is very optimistic about the upcoming season. “I’m more motivated than on my first day because I like what I’m seeing. The squad is working really well under Luis Enrique. If you could see how the team is training you’d know that things are looking good.” Xavi also said that the team is fulfilling its objective in each training session.

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Rakitić: “I wanted to make this step”

Rakitić: “I wanted to make this step”

Ivan Rakitić, Barcelona’s new midfield signing and the star of their preseason, gave an interview with German magazine Kicker. In it he discusses his move from Sevilla to Barça, his role in Luis Enrique’s team and admiration for Xavi Hernández. Read on below for more from the brilliant Croatian midfielder.

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Alves: “Who disrespected me? A bit of everyone.”

Alves: “Who disrespected me? A bit of everyone.”

Dani Alves had the media salivating with the sheer amount of sound bites but hopefully also left them feeling twinges of shame during his no holds barred press conference yesterday afternoon. The Barça man spoke on a wide range of subjects, particularly the way he believes he is perceived and treated by fans, the club and the media. He also confirmed, though its been blatantly obvious for some time, that he is staying at the club and in fact has a contract until 2016, not 2015. All the very juicy stuff after the jump.

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Suárez: “I’m not a static striker”

Suárez: “I’m not a static striker”

Luis Suárez recently spoke to Barça TV and took the chance to thank the fans for their support despite a difficult summer for the Uruguayan. The striker was unveiled and presented to the fans at the Camp Nou’s team presentation, and was greeted with a roaring applaud. “It’s a reward that helps me to continue training each day so I can return that favour on the pitch.” More from Suárez after the jump.

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Arroyo: “We do not agree”

Arroyo: “We do not agree”

Club spokesman Manel Arroyo was on RAC-1 last night to discuss FIFA’s rejection of the club’s appeal, expressing surprise and frustration but also more self responsibility than seen before. “We do not agree with FIFA’s decision. We are surprised and now will go to the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS). Our lawyers are preparing the case because we know this ban is not what Barça deserve. We have demonstrated that to the pertinent authorities.” However he admitted that the club “is ready to find the right way so there is no issues when signing juniors” and that the club “needs to revise its processes and improve what is necessary.” Finally, Arroyo again stressed that the objective of Barça and it’s youth development is to “develop children and people” versus the trafficking of children which the spirit of FIFA’s law is intended to legislate.

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Mascherano: “It is our duty to fight”

Mascherano: “It is our duty to fight”

A motivated Javier Mascherano talked to the press following the team’s morning session on Wednesday and discussed the recent transfer ban, Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez, the upcoming season, and much more. The Argentine plans on giving his all once again for FC Barcelona, and it appears that the team is ready for what’s coming. “It is our duty to fight in all competitions and get as far as we can.” Read more after the jump.

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Iniesta “It feels like things are going well”

Iniesta “It feels like things are going well”

Andrés Iniesta spoke on Barça TV’s “El Marcador” following the good showing at the Gamper, and was happy with the team performance saying “the start of the season is close now and we are excited, it feels like things are going well” before adding that “it’s been a good pre-season in terms of training and we will be trying to make sure that everything we’ve done is reflected in a good performance next Sunday. We have a great squad which is capable of challenging for titles.” More after the jump.

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Zubizarreta: “Suárez was the first name on our list”

Zubizarreta: “Suárez was the first name on our list”

Club record signing Luis Suárez, Director of Sport Andoni Zubizarreta and vice-president Jordi Mestre were all in attendance this afternoon for one of these new blockbuster type press conferences. Zubizarreta confirmed what surfaced some time ago in the English press that Suárez was the club’s priority target and contacts were made well before the World Cup. “He was the first name on our list when meeting with Luis Enrique. We’ve followed him the past two seasons and he’s one of the world’s best. He’s a forward who can play outside that position and drop back, as well as push to either wing. He’s a goal scorer and able to combine, competitive, and within our team structure gives us options in attack.” Zubi also pointed out the benefit of the striker spending time in the Netherlands during his early years in Europe. “He was formed in Dutch football, a type of football we know well, and later in Liverpool, which is a great team accustomed to success and pressure.” It was stressed that Suárez “wanted to be a Barça player and that desire is important.” Finally, he revealed that the club has been playing around with ideas of what to do during the Uruguayan’s remaining ban time. “That he may go to Uruguay to play some friendlies is something we’ve considered and it’s an option we like.” More after the jump on Dani Alves, Alex Song, the FIFA meeting that happened earlier today and more.

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Suárez: “I didn’t hesitate”

Suárez: “I didn’t hesitate”

After featuring for 14 minutes in Monday night’s Gamper Trophy game, Luis Suárez has finally been unveiled as a Barça player in an overflowing press room. More than 100 reporters, 65 media channels, 20 television stations, the Ricard Maxenchs press room in the Camp Nou was full, and it was all for the €80 million man. “Thank you for making my dream of playing for FC Barcelona come true”, said the Uruguayan to the president, the board, and the fans before admitting, “when I got the chance to come here I didn’t hesitate”. More from Suarez’s unveiling after the jump.

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Players Reactions: FC Barcelona 6-0 Club León

Players Reactions: FC Barcelona 6-0 Club León

Croatian international Ivan Rakitić was impressed by the Camp Nou crowd and voiced his opinion on the team’s performance, even though it was a one-sided game that ended 6-0 to FC Barcelona. “It was an important match, we played at a good pace and I think we played really well.

Even though it was a thumping, Rakitić believes, “There is still the odd thing to improve but the fans can go home smiling.”  The midfielder showed  last night his ability to fire off shots from long range. “It’s a part of my game.  People already know what I can contribute, but I have to keep improving in every match and every training session.” The new man certainly impressed the crowd during his first match at the Camp Nou.

Below are reactions from Jérémy Mathieu, Jordi Masip, Munir El Haddadi, and Claudio Bravo.

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Luis Enrique: “I’ve got a unique squad”

Luis Enrique: “I’ve got a unique squad”

In his post-Gamper conference, Luis Enrique praised the team’s win and performance against Club León after his side thrashed the visitors six goals to nil. This summer’s transfer window is almost over, and Luis Enrique expressed his satisfaction and appreciation of the changes that the club has gone through. “The manager has to put together a team with the squad he has, and we’ve got an amazing squad.” The goal was to strengthen the squad in several aspects to build a more competitive squad, and Lucho believes the club did just that. “We’ve strengthened really well, the club has made a big effort and I’ve got a unique squad.” More after the jump.

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Quote of the Day: A heartfelt farewell

Quote of the Day: A heartfelt farewell

I’m so happy and pleased to have been able to return to a place that brings back such fond memories. There are no words for the love I was shown by the Camp Nou and all the people during my return to Barcelona.

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Luis Enrique: “The fans will enjoy what we do”

Luis Enrique: “The fans will enjoy what we do”

Luis Enrique gave a press conference today before the Joan Gamper game tomorrow against Mexican side Club León F.C. During the press conference, the boss was asked many questions, some about how the players from Barça B are coping, Gerard Deuloeu’s loan and many more.

The Coach started by encouraging the Barça B players saying,  “There are some top quality players there.  It goes without saying that we’ll have to give them a hand.  I love using young players with talent, and they are top rate.  There are quite a few with quality.” More after the jump.

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Ginés Meléndez: “Deulofeu will go back to Barça through the front door”

Ginés Meléndez: “Deulofeu will go back to Barça through the front door”

In the aftermath of Gerard Deulofeu’s transfer, many people have expressed their discontent about the move. However, Ginés Meléndez, a man who knows Deulofeu inside out, having coached the 22-year-old for the Spain U-19s before assuming the role of the coordinator for all Spanish youth teams, seems to think that the move will actually benefit the winger. Read more…

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Rakitić: “We will work very hard”

Rakitić: “We will work very hard”

During an interview with FC Barcelona’s new signing Ivan Rakitić (26), the player was asked many questions about his new coach and teammates. Ivan Rakitić seems to have seamlessly blended with his new team. The Swiss-born Croatian humbly follows the Barça dressing room routine, and wants to become a key part of the team. In addition, his performance was noticed during Barça’s preseason which had different, vertical  football, with good ball-striking and powerful middle-distance shots. He came to Barça willing to take a giant leap in quality in his football career.

Being a month at the club, Was it easy to absorb all the changes with respect to Sevilla FC?
Honestly, the changes are noticed, but it’s hard to explain how. Overall, the general idea of football does not change much because the ideas of Unai Emery are similar to those of Luis Enrique. Here the idea is similar to the one in Sevilla which includes possession and pressure, and that is helping me a lot.

You one said that Felix Magath was the most demanding coach you played for. Is Luis Enrique as demanding?
There is only one Magath  in the world (smiles) … What you learn with him is awesome. I am very grateful for the year and a half I had with him at Schalke 04, but the way he works is different, very difficult to bear, which requires a lot physically and also because you never know if tomorrow you train in the evening or morning, he always left everything open. Luis Enrique is different; he has very clear ideas, leaves  no doubt, and works on all the details. Everything is very professional, even in his talks, he never has lingering questions, and he focuses to the last detail. He has very clear ideas and that is very important to us.

Read more from Rakitić’s interview after the jump.

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Bravo: “I always think I will play”

Bravo: “I always think I will play”

In an interview with Rac1, Claudio Bravo displayed his great confidence in his abilities as a goalkeeper ahead of the competition awaiting him, and the Chilean does not plan on spending much time on the bench. “At Real Sociedad, I was in the shadow of [Luis Miguel] Arconada. They are both [ter Stegen and Jordi Masip] great goalkeepers, but the challenge is a motivator.” More after the jump.

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Suárez: “Happy to feel like a footballer again”

Suárez: “Happy to feel like a footballer again”

The club’s largest signing in history Luis Suárez has finally trained with the first team thanks to the decision from the Court of Sports Arbitration (CAS), which however still upheld the ban over official matches. The Uruguayan striker spoke to Barça TV while training in the Ciudad Esportiva this morning, “I am really happy to feel like a footballer again, and to be with my teammates. I just couldn’t wait to get started”. The new Barça number 9 described the situation he’s been as “really tough…it was a situation that made me feel really uncomfortable. I’m paying for a mistake I made and one I have apologised for, but I have to forget about all this”. Suárez went on then to state: “I am only thinking about the future, which is at FC Barcelona, the club who I dreamed of playing for”. More from the man of the hour right after the jump.

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Vermaelen: “I’ll be trying to do my best”

Here’s new man Thomas Vermaelen speaking on the transition, his respect for Carles Puyol, looking forward to being in Barcelona and his famous doppelganger.

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Denis Suárez: “When Barça came calling, City offered me a renewal”

Denis Suárez: “When Barça came calling, City offered me a renewal”

Denis Suárez was one of the stand-out performers in the Barcelona B side that finished third last season in the Liga Adelante. This season, the Galicia-born midfielder finds himself at Sevilla, where he will play on loan for two years. In an interview with ‘El País’, Suárez revealed he preferred to sign for Barcelona rather than staying at Manchester City, despite of the fact that coach Manuel Pellegrini had told him that he would count on him. After the jump you will find Denis’ most important quotes…

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Iniesta: “Suárez can’t wait to start”

Iniesta: “Suárez can’t wait to start”

During his time at an Estrella Damm promotion event, Andrés Iniesta was asked for his opinion on a variety of Barça-related subjects, including FC Barcelona’s Luis Suárez who is currently waiting for the final decision from the court of arbitration of sport regarding his FIFA ban. “I spoke with him [Suárez] and he can’t wait to get started.” Continue reading for much more from Barça’s vice-captain.

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