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Luis Enrique on the manager's seat

Luis Enrique tests out his new seat at the Camp Nou / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB

Luis Enrique has told the press how happy he is to be in charge of “the best player in the world.” He was speaking, of course, about Leo Messi. “I am delighted to have him in my squad. It is very motivating. I see that the club thinks the same and Messi is pleased to be here. He has said he wants to stay here until he retires. There is a connection between all three parties.”

The Argentinian signed a new contract this week, and Luis Enrique was asked to comment on his form, saying that “Messi has not been as incredible this season as he was in others, but he’s still the number one. We are used to him scoring 700,000 goals, and if he only gets 100,000 it’s as if something is wrong. He is about much more than goals. He is a vitally necessary part of the group. I hope I can bring out the best in him”.Messi has not been as incredible this season as he was in others, but he’s still the number oneThat doesn’t just mean Messi, but the whole squad, although Luis Enrique was cautious about naming names. “I have just landed” he insisted. “There will be changes in several positions, we need to strengthen the team as much as possible. A year at Barça is not any year. If you aren’t up to the job, it’s time for a change. We’ll make adjustments in every area and the better players we have the better it’ll be for everyone because we’ll have a team that generates expectations”.

Both Luis Enrique and Andoni Zubizarreta mentioned how, from this Wednesday onwards, they’ll be working on a daily basis to put together the best possible squad for the 2014/15 season.

One person the manager was asked about was Xavi. The Asturian answered that “he’s a friend and former team-mate. I can speak wonders of him and other former colleagues, but we all need to sit down and talk things through, and we can’t really do that until the World Cup is over”. His message about Mascherano was similar, though he did mention that “he is an example of a potential captain.” The names of Cesc and Neymar also came up, but it had reached the point that Luis Enrique preferred to put a stop to questions about individuals, as well as possible signings, but did admit that “we’ll have to decide whether we need a centre forward or not’”.We all need to sit down and talk things through, and we can’t really do that until the World Cup is overPressed further to comment on possible future incorporations, Andoni Zubizarreta also made a call for calm, adding that “matters don’t only depend on us but on the world transfer market as a whole. The market closes on August 31. You must be patient. We won’t have decided on the definitive squad in 15 days from here and neither will we have decided which players to sell”.

But Zubizarreta was willing to comment on the three players that have already been confirmed for next season. On Goalkeeper Ter Stegen, he observed that “he’s good one-on-one, he knows how to play with a lot of space in front of him, he can use his feet and has the character to be a Barça keeper. But I could say the same about Jordi Masip”. It was mentioned that there are rumours that Barça have a third goalkeeper in mind for next season, but the Director of Sport preferred to pass on that question.

On Rafinha and Deulofeu he commented that “they are two new additions to the squad that will now have to fight to get into the first eleven, the second eleven, the third ... Nobody is guaranteed a starting place at Barça, you have to earn it”.


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