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FC Barcelona midfielder Rafinha is set to start his third season in the first team, and will do so as a gold medalist following his triumph in the recent Rio Olympics with Brazil.
The 23-year-old, proudly donning his medal, spoke to Barça TV about the season ahead, and how he feels going into it.
Despite a long injury layoff last campaign and an intense summer, Rafinha says he is feeling “very good, at 100 per cent physical form”.
"It was a difficult year, one of learning, of patience and improvement for me. I extract the positive things from the bad.”
Strength in depth
“We have a complete squad, the strongest since I’ve been at Barça, capable of challenging for everything,” the no.12 said, before adding: “The expectation at Barça is to win every title.”
“There will be more competition and more squad rotation. We will need to put all our effort into training in order to get minutes during matches.”
“We are the three favourites as always, but the rest of the teams have strengthened well too, and the league will be enjoyable to watch.”
“The matches against (Manchester) City are always exciting, we also know that Celtic away is always a tough match and that the German teams are difficult to break down, but we are Barça.”
A “unique” gold
Rafinha never let go of his precious gold medal throughout the interview won in Rio thanks to that penalty shootout win over Germany, in which he converted a spot-kick.
The man himself said: “Winning olympic gold is unique. I never imagined it, I had dreamed of it and, thanks to God, I have achieved it.”
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