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.
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.
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.
Luis Enrique will be one of the coaches invited to the 16th edition of UEFA’s ‘Elite Club Coaches’ Forum’ which will take place at one of the UEFA headquarters in Nyon (Switzerland) on the 3rd and 4th of September. The last time FC Barcelona was represented in this forum was during 2012 by late manager Tito Vilanova, who was coach at that time. Also notably, this will be Luis Enrique’s first participation in the annual event which usually takes place before the start of the prestigious UEFA Champions League.
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.
Before last season, FC Barcelona and Elche CF hadn’t played each other in nearly 25 years. But before that, they were frequent opponents for the Catalans, and not without success: Elche has beaten Barça 8 times at home, and drawn 7 out of their 20 games at Camp Nou. Read more about the history of Barcelona vs Elche encounters after the jump.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Barça may have sent Gerard Deulofeu away for good. Not literally, as he’s still under control till 2017 with a 35 million euro buy-out clause, but figuratively. Deulofeu has never been of the typical La Masia mould. He’s highly individualistic, at a younger age he named Cristiano Ronaldo his idol (in and of itself perfectly fine, but still an insight into the type of figure he aspires to emulate), was forced by the club to close a social media account (reportedly due to expressing an attitude contrary to the club’s) and has never been the “rah-rah Barça till I die” guy. He’s immensely self-assured, some say to the point of arrogance, and seemingly impatient. The club wasn’t sold about loaning him out last season, allegedly succumbing to the young man’s desire to seek more minutes. He left Everton feeling he “deserved to play more”.
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
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.
FC Barcelona managed to breeze through with a 6-0 victory against a weak HJK Helsinki yesterday, but coach Luis Enrqiue definitely has things to say, despite of the chaotic difference in strength between the two teams. Luis Enrique seemed satisfied with the team’s second win in preseason, but still had to make some remarks. Read on for more.
The results of a vote conducted by the first-team players on Tuesday concerning the captain and three vice-captains for the 2014/15 season have been announced today. Although the captains were democratically elected, they follow the Barça tradition of leading by seniority – Xavi Hernández will lead the team with Andrés Iniesta as his vice-captain, while Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets round out the quarter, replacing the departed Carles Puyol and Víctor Valdés. The four have spent 23, 18, 14, and 9 years at the club respectively. Messi captains Argentina and has worn the Barça armband on occasions when none of the four official captains were present, while Busquets is a true rookie, having never captained his team for club or country. Nevertheless, the choice of Busquets over Gerard Piqué, who he shares seniority with, and Javier Mascherano, who was named by Luis Enrique as a player with leadership qualities, indicates the players’ respect and admiration for Barcelona’s new number 5. These four will be critical in leading Barça through transition as Luis Enrique remakes and reinvigorates the team.
In his post-match presser, Luis Enrique refused to fixate on Claudio Bravo’s error that resulted in the loss against SSC Napoli. “He played a good game. It’s a pity he made a small error at the end, but these things happen in football.” The coach was pleased with the overall performance of the team despite the result. “Overall, as a team, I felt like I saw an improvement and I think a draw would have been a fair result.” Continue reading for comments from Enrique on Gerard Deulofeu, Dani Alves and more.
Being that it’s still preseason, I’ll be mild-mannered with my words. Given all the talk of revolution, changes, tactical shifts and experimentation, viewers were given nothing of that tonight in FC Barcelona’s 1-0 loss to SSC Napoli. That could have been any old game at any old time in the past three to four seasons. Is this really the new Barça given the mega-star attacking trident is absent, the first team mostly vacated on 60 minutes and players are obviously rusty and physically unfit? The answer is in the question. Nevertheless, despite dominating the ball, it was a match of minimal insight and anyone claiming to notice change at this point is willing it rather than seeing it.
The season’s first official game against Elche CF is 19 days away, and I don’t think I’ve ever been as excited about a new campaign as I am now. But things have changed, a lot, and so must we. Last season, many culés, including myself, expected a lot from the team. The first half of the season was incredible and the team was moving in the right direction. And then it all fell apart. We’ve blamed the coach, the players, and the board for the unsuccessful, trophyless season but we deserve some of the blame too.
Ever since the treble season we have been spoiled with spectacular football. We became used to watching the one and only Carles Puyol raise trophies up in the air as we celebrate yet another victory. But bit by bit these same players grew tired, and we just couldn’t accept that. I was furious at Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino for the way he managed the team by the end, I was disappointed at how the players showed so little hunger, and I despised the board for choosing to watch from the sidelines while football’s greatest ever generation neared its end. But then again, we always expected too much.
Barcelona’s second preseason friendly ended in a draw with a penalty kick on each side, with most of the senior players and the newly signed ones playing their first game. But besides the club’s new stars, there was a lot of focus on the younger players, some of whom who showed great promise such as Gerard Deulofeu, Marc Bartra and Sergi Samper. Check out what the young men had to say about the new players, the new coach and the rest of the team after the jump.
Barça’s 1-1 draw against Nice yesterday evening may have left Luis Enrique with as many questions as answers. Lucho noted that the result “matters least” and that the purpose of the games “are for seeing where each player is and telling each of them what they’ll need to improve.” Concerning the new signings, he stressed “we’re going the logical, correct, way about things. We can’t expect too much before the season has even started.” He also said that he hoped “all the players with me now are still here at the end of the season” but did not deny questions from the media on the possibility of new faces arriving before the end of August.
These were his comments on the game itself. Not pleased with the first half, Luis Enrique highlighted “players not knowing how to make use of space.” But he was more enamored with the second half, “we created more chances by playing well.” What was blatantly obvious to many an observer, including the new manager, was the enormous influence Xavi Hernández had when coming on. “Right now he’s back to his best both in terms of fitness and motivation.”