Preseason has begun in earnest with the first game of the International Champions Cup in the Pasadena Rose Bowl in Los Angeles ending in a penalty shoot out victory for FC Barcelona following a 2-2 draw over 90 minutes against Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur. After the contest, coach Ernesto Valverde appeared before the media to reveal “there were a lot of things that I liked [in the game], our ability to take the initiative, our desire the dominate and the freedom of the Barça B players.” For the boss, the performances of the young players “is great news.
The downside to the first game of Barça’s 2018 US Tour was “the injuries to Denis Suárez and André Gomes.” However, Valverde was keen to remain upbeat, highlighting the contributions of players such as Munir and new signing Arthur. The coach described the Brazilian as “a player who can bring a lot to the team. We have been working together for a bit now to allow him to settle in. He was very motivated and he put in a great performance.”
The likes of Lenglet, Rafinha, Riqui Puig and Arthur also spoke to the media following the final whistle:
“It’s a dream come true to make my debut for Barça. I started playing young and for Ernesto to give us a chance is very satisfying. Furthermore, we were able to win the game on penalties so I am really happy.”
“I play as I always have done. Playing for the first time is a reward and I have to enjoy it. I felt nervous but it’s something I have been waiting for. I am really happy and I really want to learn.”
“It’s a dream to be here. I have worked hard for this and fortunately now I am here. I am really happy. I want to work hard to be able to give my best.”
“I am happy for my goal and for the result.”
“It’s been my objective since I arrived. It’s a proud moment to represent the best club in the world.”