La Liga returns after the recent international break for World Cup qualifiers. Barça face their first ever visit to the Wanda Metropolitano stadium on Saturday, Atlético Madrid’s new home and a team that Barça coach Ernesto Valverde described in his pre-game press conference at the Ciutat Esportiva as “candidates for the league title.”

“Atlético are uncomfortable opponents because they make their goals count; they are difficult to scores and a very solid defensively. We know that if they get ahead then they can make life tricky for us and our intention is to give them very few chances,” continued the blaugrana boss.

The man known as ‘Txingurri’ also touched on his team’s first game at the Madrid club’s new home. “There will be a spectacular atmosphere because football is a show and we want people to enjoy it,” said Valverde.

Last week saw Andrés Iniesta sign a lifelong contract with FC Barcelona and the coach gave his opinion on his captain’s decision and his availability for the game against Atlético after the midfielder’s recovery from injury. “He is an emblem for Barça and it’s a situation that he is very comfortable with due to the gesture form the Club. He is a key figure on and off the field and we think he will be ok for the game against Atlético.”

Finally, after seeing Leo Messi score a hat-trick on Tuesday to take Argentina to the World Cup finals, Valverde highlighted the Barça number 10’s qualities. “Everyone was waiting for him to appear and he did. Of all his characteristics, I see his competitiveness and his ability to show he is the best in the world day after day,” concluded the blaugrana coach. 

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