Andrés Iniesta spoke to the press while attending an Estrella Damm event/ PHOTO: GERMÁN PARGA - FCB

[[DES_1]]This Monday, Andrés Iniesta has attended an event organised by brewer Estrella Damm at the Barcelona Swimming Club, where he also gave a press conference. Asked about how things are going under Luis Enrique, he replied that "nothing has changed, just that it’s a different coach with new ideas. It’s a matter of adapting and doing what the coach thinks is best to get the team to work”.

"We are training hard” he continued. “We are slowly grasping what the manager wants from us … The preseason is helping us to get into shape and for the team to start getting better.” But there has been some criticism of the preseason schedule, which some pundits are saying doesn’t include enough match practice. Iniesta shrugs off these comments, saying “I think it’s better this way, especially with so many new people. This way we can learn new concepts. It’s the perfect formula for a preseason. Let’s hope it’s right and that we’ll play better for it … Luis Enrique is a demanding manager but almost all the work we do is with the ball. It’s nice to work on tactics that way. The important thing is for the players to believe in the manager, and in that respect, we all have total faith”.

Big names

Andrés Iniesta was also asked to comment more specifically on Neymar, Leo Messi and Luis Suárez. He insists that the Brazilian striker is making good progress. "It’s never easy to adapt, but he’s a very young player who’s very important for his national team and so he’s used to dealing with this kind of pressure. We’re hoping for the best for him because he’s good enough to make history at Barça".

On Messi, he commented that "after a year that didn’t go so well, he’s just as keen and enthusiastic as we all are this season. He has that eagerness that we all have after a bad year”.

On Luis Suárez, he said that "he’s dying to start. It’s very important for him to be with the squad, the sooner the better”. And as for his new midfield partner Rakitic, Iniesta said "we all knew how good he is. I’m delighted that he’s joined our team with the single target of winning titles. He’s a spectacular player in midfield. He’s strong, and masters the ball with both feet … He’s a very complete player. Barça got it very right when they signed him.”

Last week it was announced that this season’s captains will be Xavi, Iniesta, Messi and Sergio Busquets. Iniesta is pleased that Busquets has received such recognition, for the Catalan is an important presence among the squad. He adds that "all the players have to feel implicated and important. We have a healthy group and things are going the way they should”.

He ended with some words for former team-mate Víctor Valdés, saying that "he came to a cruel end. I really felt sorry for him. I know his knee is improving. All’s perfect and hopefully he’ll be back on the pitch very soon.”

Beach football with Estrella Damm

Andrés Iniesta was at Barcelona Swimming Club as part of a competition organised by brewer Estrella Damm, the prize for which was the chance to play a game of football on the beach with the Barça midfielder. Monday 11 August was an exciting day for the winning entrants, who were able to share some time with one of the world’s biggest football stars.