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Javier Mascherano in Gothenburg / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

Javier Mascherano and Martín Montoya were the two first team players chosen to talk to the press at Ullevi Stadium ahead of Barça's fourth pre-season match of the summer. Messi, the team’s highest scorer of the pre-season with four goals, was the focus of attention at the start of the press conference. “Leo came back [from holiday] on form. The truth is that pre-season games are designed to get us back into our normal routine, to remember our playing habits, but a month of vacation has been good for him. He’ll be more fresh this season,” said Mascherano. The Argentine midfielder also talked about Tito Vilanova and noted that each player in the squad must shoulder the responsibility of ensuring a smooth transition ahead of the start of the season: “Vilanova gained a lot of importance after being named head manager. Now everyone looks to him but he’s always been an important part of the team’s successes. We all have to respond appropriately.”

One of the players promoted to the first team this season was Martín Montoya. The former Barça B player said that he’s “very content to be part of the first team this year, very excited.” He added, “I’ll work as hard as I can so I can enjoy some playing time but Dani Alves is the best right back in the world.” Montoya also showed his displeasure with the decision to not renew Luis Milla’s contract as the Spanish Under 21 and Olympic team manager: “the players are at fault for what happened [at the Olympics]. We feel terrible. We’ll continue to work so we can have a better showing in upcoming fixtures.”

“The match will help us prepare for the start of the Liga”

On the match against Manchester United in Gothenburg, Mascherano said that “it’s a friendly but Barça have faced Manchester before in semi-finals and finals of the Champions League. It will help us prepare for the opening match of the Liga.”

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