Thomas Vermaelen was the hero of Saturday's home opener. / MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB

Thomas Vermaelen delivered a 74th minute goal to lead Barça to a 1–0 win over Málaga, giving the spotlight to an unlikely hero. And the centre back shed some of that light on his feelings after the match.

"Everyone knows what I went through. The preseason was very important and the coach gave me the opportunity to show what I am capable of. I am very grateful."

On his goal and lack of a celebration, this is what he had to say: "I didn’t celebrate the goal because I don’t often find myself in these situations and I don’t even know how to celebrate them. I was very focused on the game too."

Having now started in the first two games of the season, Vermaelen wanted to point out that he was “fine physically and comfortable within the team." He also had words of praise for Sergi Roberto at right back: "Both last year and this season he has shown what he could do. He is highly technical and very intelligent. "

Here are statements from some of the other players:

Neymar Jr.

"The game today was tough. Malaga defend very well, but we got the goal and the three points, which is what we wanted."

"This year we can have a great season again. The trident will try to repeat the number of goals, but victories and titles come first."

Javier Mascherano

"It's an important win. We found the reward that we were searching for all game."

"It's hard to attack when the opposing team sits back on defence. They left us very little space and were very intense, but we were patient and after the goal we were more relaxed."

"The goal is a huge for Thomas [Vermaelen]. Especially with everything he had to fight against last year when he couldn’t really demonstrate how good he was. It is a big reward for the effort. I am very happy for him."

"The league is shaping up to be very difficult and very open. We have to keep improving because what we did last year isn’t going to help us win this year."

Vermaelen: “I am very happy for my first goal... por fcbarcelona
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