Thiago in the Ricard Maxenchs press room / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

Thiago Alcántara talked to the press in the run-up to tomorrow’s match against Spartak Moscow. The player, whose performance against Getafe two days ago garnered a lot of praise, said: “I didn’t expect to play so well on Sunday but I knew that I could do a good job. The joy of being named to the team and warming up with my team-mates helps me perform well." He added: “My team-mates have made this [recovery] process easy for me. The physios and doctors have done an excellent job. My recovery has been optimal.”

Gaining maturity

Barça’s number 11 said that his injury has forced him to be more mature: “I’m more patient. I’m in better shape now than I was last year. I’m not sorry that I stopped when I did; it’s a good thing.” Thiago also said that he’s ready to play 90 minutes of competitive football and that he’s “completely recovered from the injury, both physically and psychologically.”  When asked if he feels like he’s a new signing for Barça he said: “I spent my vacation in Barcelona, I’m not a new signing. I’m a player that’s coming back to the team after being injured.”

The Champions League

According to the midfielder, “the Champions League is the most important competition for any footballer. There aren’t a lot of games and that’s why the competition is valued so highly.” Thiago noted that even though he and his team-mates are especially motivated to do well in the Champions League, that “we play all the competitions with the intent of winning.” On last year’s elimination in the semi-final, the Barça player said that he doesn’t believe that there are any old scores to settle but that he and his team-mates are very eager to compete for this year’s title.

Finally, when asked about possible comparisons between Barça’s midfielders, Thiago said: “Every player is different. Some score more goals, others have better vision of what’s going on, etc. Barça makes us feel comfortable with each other.” On Cesc, he said: “The Cesc debate is unjust. Cesc is a great player. He gives his all in every training session. He’s an example to the youngsters.”