Andoni Zubizarreta / PHOTO: FCB ARCHIVE

The Director of football, Andoni Zubizarreta, has spoken about various matters on the day of the second clinic in the FCB Peace Tour. Speaking in Tel Aviv, he commented on the rumours that Cesc Fàbregas will be leaving for Manchester United:  “We’re counting on Cesc” he insisted. “I said that on the day of Tito’s presentation, and also on the day of Tata’s. He is an extraordinary player who creates, finishes and gets into the right positions. We’re delighted with him, he’s the Barça number 4”.

He went on to say that “he is a player that has a contract with us … United said they understand our position and won't be pushing us any more.” As for the player’s stance on the issue, Zubizarreta answered that “there is no other point of view than that one.” Referring to the Santos match midweek, he added that “his performance the other day clearly showed that he is clearly focused on Barça”.

Looking for a centre back

The Director of Football also spoke about the search for a centre back, and that “we are looking for someone to make us more competitive, the best player we could have and that is best adapted to our needs. We always try to make the best possible team. We’ll soon see who it is.” But he insisted that there is no hurry and there is plenty of time to find someone before the midnight deadline on August 31.

No Neymar concerns

Zubizarreta was also asked about the matter of Neymar’s low blood count, explaining that “we would have liked him to have been in perfect condition, but not many players arrive perfect for the preseason. We’ll help make sure he’s in the right condition, it’s not a concern”.

He is happy with the way the Brazilian is adapting to the Barça method, commenting that “in these cases, players are used to training a different way to us and they have to adapt to how we work. That’s what we do in the preseason. There are quite a few days left before the league starts, although it is unlikely that he’ll be 100% adapted by then. But we can clearly see that he’s quickly getting a grasp of our type of football”.

Martino and the players

Zubizarreta also made some observations about Tata Martino. On the new manager he said “I believe what he said at his presentation. He’s a manager who likes a close relationship with his players. He listens and wants to know things. He has come from a club with a very clear football culture. He’ll try to do things for us that he thinks will make us better. We are currently in the process of merging two different ways of doing things”.

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