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Iñigo Martínez exemplifies defensive solidity. The Basque centre back, the first new addition to the FC Barcelona squad this summer, already feels settled into his new environment. Speaking at his official presentation on Thursday, he said that “I am very happy to be part of this big family. I have received a wonderful welcome from the very first day."
After a decade of playing in his native Basque Country, it wasn't easy to decide to move elsewhere. "But when Barça call, other teams fade into the background" he explained. He added that his conversations with Xavi were also a huge factor in deciding to come to Catalonia.
When Barça call, other teams fade into the background“ Iñigo Martínez
Martínez insists that one of his initial priorities will be to get the hang of the Catalan language. Asked to describe what else he can offer the club, he told the press conference that “I'd highlight my competitive spirit. I'm here to work like everyone else. I know where I am, what this club is about, and what I have to do."
His injury means he hasn't been able to train with his new team-mates yet. “I've been carrying that trouble for some time" he said. "But I can really feel an improvement lately. I wouldn't like to say how long it will be before I'm back on the pitch, but I had a check some weeks ago and the healing process is developing well. The important thing is to recover. I haven't stopped exercising all holidays."
Praise from Laporta and Alemany
President Joan Laporta and director of football Mateu Alemany were also in attendance. The former described how much the club wanted to secure the services of Iñigo Martínez, insisting that "our defence will be much stronger with him in it."
Alemany, revealed that Iñigo's name has been on the Barça agenda for over a year. "We knew we were faced by a mid-term need to reinforce the centre of the defence" he said. "His name was the first to come up when we started talking about players who could do a similar job to Piqué.”
Busy morning at Ciutat Esportiva
Before addressing the media, the new defender put pen to paper in the Barça offices and posed for pictures in his new strip. The venue was the Tito Vilanova field at the Ciutat Esportiva, as the usual stage for such things, the Spotify Camp Nou, is of course closed for construction.
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