Thiago during the press conference / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB

Thiago is a nonconformist. “On a personal level, my challenge for 2012 is to continue progressing and to keep on learning from my teammates. On a collective level, we want to continue along the same lines that we’ve set for ourselves in recent times, which have been fabulous.” The midfielder didn’t rule out the possibility of winning another treble, although he did say that “it would be a difficult feat.” In the last press conference of the year, Thiago said he was satisfied with the team’s performance in 2011: “It has been a gratifying year, on a personal and familial level. In my wildest dreams I could not have imagined finishing the year like this.”

Messi is the best

One of the first events of 2012 is the FIFA Ballon d’Or gala on January 9th. For Thiago, the favourite to win top prize is Leo Messi: “The whole world believes that he’s the favourite. He’s number one in this sport and after the year he’s put in, I believe that he deserves it. He doesn’t stop surprising us. He’s able to do just about anything with the ball. His qualities are unique, it’s a pleasure to play alongside him.”

Ready to play against Osasuna

Before the FIFA Ballon d’Or gala, Barça must play in the last-16 round of the King’s Cup and then in the League derby against Espanyol. On the Osasuna clash, Thiago doesn’t believe Barça will repeat their 8-0 League thrashing of the Northerners: “Every game is different from the previous one. They can design a completely different game plan this time around, both teams know each other a little better now. I don’t know what the game will be like.” FC Barcelona’s number 11 is positive that the team will be in peak physical condition for the year’s first game: “It’s always difficult to get over the turrón (traditional Iberian holiday treat), but I believe that we’ve all returned without any problems and in perfect physical condition.”