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Busquets and Rakitic spoke to the media in San Francisco / MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB

Sergio Busquets and Ivan Rakitic spoke to the media upon arrival in San Francisco on Wednesday and both players were obviously thrilled at the great reception the team had received in the States. Busquets insisted: "clearly it is important to experience playing wherever you can. Football is growing here and the Barça brand is growing here too. I like the US league a lot, there are good European players and I think it will become more competitive”, whilst Rakitic was even more effusive: "this is special. After such a long flight it is great to see how excited people here are to see us, it’s as if we are fulfilling a dream for some of the fans. It makes us feel very happy and I really want to thank the fans, it was great to see such passion at the game and I hope we will be back again soon”.

Room for improvement

Looking back to the LA Galaxy win, Busquets admitted:” of course we know that the first game of the pre-season might not be that important, but the fact is that there are things you can see we have to improve right from the start. We were fine in defence and they had few chances. Up front, we could have been a bit more clinical, but things went well”

“We are the team to beat”

After such a great season last year, the question for the team now is what next? There will be no sitting on laurels though according to Rakitic who reckons: “we want to be perfect, not near perfect. We have to carry on working hard, games are decided by tiny margins and that’s where we need to look to improve. Of course we are the team to beat -that is normal. We help each other to be stronger and we all want to go to an even higher level. We don’t care about the others, only about what we can achieve” Busquets was equally upbeat, claiming: “we have the ambition to continue winning titles because nobody has achieved that yet. We want to retain the Champions League, but first we have the Super Cups and the World Club Cup. Let’s see what the season brings – but we are going after everything”.

United and Sevilla

Looking to the more immediate future, Busquets warned: “although Manchester United (the team’s next opponents on the Tour) have been a work in progress over the last couple of seasons, they are always a club who need to be taken into account”. Rakitic took the liberty of looking a bit further ahead to the European Super Cup game against his old team Sevilla and explained: “It’ll be a tough start to the official season for us. We will need to be at our best, but we will go to Tbilisi looking to win the Cup”.

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