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Xavi talks Champions League, Pedri, Ronald Araujo and Joao Felix ahead of Antwerp

Here’s the latest from the Barcelona boss


Xavi faced faced the press to discuss his team’s Champions League campaign ahead of their opening group game against Antwerp.

Mark van Bommel returns to Barca on Tuesday with his Antwerp side, with Barca heading into the game after a big win over Betis.

Xavi spoke about his team’s European ambitions, Pedri’s fitness, his options in attack and when he expects Ronald Araujo to return from injury.

Here are the best bits:

Xavi on Champions League

It is a privilege to be in the Champions League. It is time to take a step forward and become great again. We are in a good moment. We start at home, we need the fans. We are very excited.

Xavi on ambitions

The objective is clear, to advance from the group, then we will talk. We have to be in the round of 16 pot, it is our main objective after two years without doing so. It is the clear objective.

Xavi on Barca’s quality

Last year we were good but the results were not enough. We have strengthened ourselves and we have a squad to compete in Europe, but it is not about words, it is about actions.

Xavi on Van Bommel

I have great memories of him as a team-mate and as a rival, he was a very physically strong footballer. He was a good team-mate and a good friend. He is doing a good job at Antwerp. He is a very dynamic rival.

Xavi on competition for places in Barca’s attack

In the end, it is a blessed problem that there are so many people in great shape, performing at a high level. It is difficult to make it into the starting eleven, but those who start are just as important as those who come on in the second half.

Xavi on Ferran Torres

He told me that he needed to have a very good preseason, that he was convinced that he could give his best and he would prove it. We are not surprised because we have seen him in training.

Xavi on Ronald Araujo

We decided that there’s no point in risking him tomorrow. He’ll be available for Saturday against Celta.

Xavi’s message to supporters

It’s easy for the players because they are very plugged into the competition, you can see in their faces. We promise the fans work and sacrifice and want to make them enjoy the game like they did Saturday.

Xavi on Pedri

He is doing very well, he has very good feelings, he still has a little more to do, I can’t give a date because it depends on his feelings, but the important thing is that he recovers 100%.

Xavi on new contracts for Balde and Lamine Yamal

As far as I know, they are very well underway and there will be news soon.

Xavi on Joao Felix

If you don’t have an attitude you can’t be in the team, in mine, at Barcelona. The attitude must always be positive and his is like everyone else’s, positive and wanting to help the team.

Xavi on Champions League demands

There is a demand and the bar is set very high. It is the consequence of Barca’s recent history, from when we won four Champions League titles from 2006 to 2015. We like challenges but the demands of Barca are brutal, it comes from inheriting a brilliant period, the best in the club’s history.

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