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FC Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde gave a press conference on Saturday evening, and there were two topics that dominated the conversation: tomorrow’s top-of-the-table clash with Valencia and the wonderful news that Leo Messi has signed a new extension on his contract.
Here’s a collection of standout quotes from the Ciutat Esportiva pressroom:
On Messi’s new contract:
"As Leo himself said, the renewal of the contract was already decided, it was just a matter of setting a date for the formal signature. But are all calmer now that it’s done, mainly because of the atmosphere outside. We already knew that he was fully committed to the club".
"Managing Messi is a unique experience. Sometimes the player has to adapt to the manager and sometimes the manager has to adapt to the player. It’s exceptional”.
"But I have never thought about whether I’ll be the last man to coach him. We managers just live for the day.”
"Ask me what images come into my head, and there’s the goal he scored against my Athletic team in the cup final at the Camp Nou. I remember his goal against Getafe that was like the Maradona one. And his header against Manchester United in the Champions League final.”
“They are in the middle of a very good winning streak, and I was relatively surprised. I had expected them to have a big year, and I still expect them to do so. They have a good coach, they have good players, they have a clear plan, and they are working hard.”
“Plus it’s a great team and they don’t have any other midweek competitions to wear them down. “
"They have players like Guedes, Zaza, Rodrigo and Soler, who all play deep and block sides from getting the ball out. And their counter-attack is the best in the league.”
On what a win would mean:
"Whatever happens in the game, there’s a lot of Liga still to go. Whatever kind of form Valencia are in, they’re always interesting games.”
"If we win, the mathematically it will be huge. But I must insist that this has still only just started … And I do still think that Real Madrid are candidates for the title too.”
On the Barça defence:"When you have two left footed central defenders, everybody thinks it’s strange, but when you play with two right footed central offenders, it doesn’t seem so strange at all. We are talking about two first rate International players. Tomorrow is an important match, and I have trust in both Vermaelen and Umtiti. We will also have David Costas from the reserve squad, in case we need him.
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