Andrés Iniesta: 'It feels a lot like 2008'

David Ramos

Andrés Iniesta, one of the best and most important players on FC Barcelona's squad, has spoken on Friday on a press conference at Barça's facilities after practice. He's one of the eight first team players who joined the team's preseason preparations on Thursday, along with Rakitic, Song, Pedro, Piqué, Alba, Xavi and Busquets. During the interview, Iniesta expressed his satisfaction with Luis Enrique, the new faces on the squad and his desire for next season.

Here's a few highlights of his answers:

On the new team:

"This is certainly a locker room with a lot of changes, but everybody wants to be here and wants to have a great year and win championships. I have a good feeling with this group. We enjoy being together again, which is awesome. Feels a lot like 2008, when Pep Guardiola came in. There was also a lot of changes and a new coach. Of course the circumstances are different now, but it still feels the same. In the end, the important thing is for everybody to enjoy their time here and also have the ambition of winning. And I think everyone feels that way."

On the offseason:

"I think teams like Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid have made good moves during this offseason. But we have to look to ourselves, first. We need to have a better start than last year and make no mistakes. We need to be better than last year, undoubtedly. Personally, I enjoyed my vacation time and did my best to just rest and recharge the batteries, so I can come back better next year. After a bad year like the one we just had, you want to win everything and that's my ambition."

On Luis Enrique:

"I met him for the first time when I was sixteen and he was still a player here. For the start, we've had a very good relationship. I think it's fantastic that he is here. He's the kind of coach that likes to make everything clear, and you want to listen to what he has to say. It's great to have that respect and someone like him leading us."

On Luis Suárez:

"He is one of the best strikers in the world. It will be great to see him bring his goalscoring ability, along with his work-rate and mobility. This is one of those signings that will help us not only this year, but for a lot of years to come.

Regarding his sanctions, it's too delicate of a subject for me to get into. Nothing I say will make it better. I think it's best not to talk about it."

On Lionel Messi:

"Winning is a matter of everyone doing their best, not one single individual. That's what I'm all about, and I know he feels the same way. I never had any doubts about Leo. He's so important and influential to us. He is still the best player in the world. A bad performance by him is the best performance of any other players' career, so I'm not worried about him. He's fine."

On Xavi Hernández ultimately staying:

"Nothing changes. We still feel the same way about him like we did before. The important thing is that he's still a Barça player and that's great news. He's such a meaningful and important player for us. It's one of the best news of the summer, no question."

On whether the team will suffer from lack of leadership following the departures of former captains Victor Valdés and Carles Puyol:

"No way. Everyone in this group is a leader in some way. There are those with more experience and time on the club, so obviously they have more responsability. But we're a very united locker room. I'm sure everyone deserves being captain, and it is something special".

You can watch the full Iniesta press conference by clicking here.

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