Barcelona coach Xavi faced the press on Friday to talk about his team ahead of their first La Liga fixture of the season on Saturday against Rayo Vallecano.
The coach spoke about registrations, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Frenkie de Jong and whether he thinks Barca are title favorites.
Here are the best bits:
Xavi on Rayo
We start with great enthusiasm with the new signings and confidence. Rayo is a team that Iraola has worked very well on. It’s a litmus test. the truth after a very good preseason.
Xavi on registrations
The club has signed very well and I am very excited about what has been signed. We have time until tomorrow and we are very optimistic. Maybe not 100% but we’ll see tomorrow.
Xavi on if Barca are favorites to win titles
I wouldn’t stay so. We have signed very well but we need to do our talking on the pitch. Show what we can do, with our style of play, and get results. To call us favorites right now to win it all, I wouldn’t say that. Real Madrid are the champions, they are the favorites.
Xavi on coping with uncertainty about who will play
It has little influence. You work on different systems and one or the other plays. We pretty much have every position doubled. We are optimistic about registering these players.
Xavi on if he wants more signings like Alonso or Silva?
We are still planning ahead, that’s the reality. We will see what we can do until the 31st August. We will have to have players leave to have others come. The window is open til the 31st and there’s work to do for all of us. We’ll see. Right now we are working to make the team competitive.
Xavi on Aubameyang
I want him on my team. The players I don’t count on, already know. I have already spoken to them. The other ones are part of the club, they train with us and they are here to compete. Between now and the 31st August a lot can happen. But Aubameyang I like a lot, he helped us a lot. He’s an impotant player for me. He arrived here with a lot of humility, a good work ethic, so we’ll see what happens.
Xavi on Frenkie de Jong
For me, it’s the same as Aubameyang. He’s an important player, he’s part of the squad, I can use him. Great. From now until the 31st we’ll see what opportunities there are and where we are regards our participation in the market. From now until the 31st, anything can happen, with Frenkie and with many players of the squad. Things can happen.
Xavi on Pique
I told all my players that we start from zero. It’s a new season. We are going to try and compete for titles, we need the entire team. It depends on their physical aspects, their health, certain aspects during games and of course what I see in training sessions.
Xavi on Marcos Alonso
Right now we have Balde and Jordi so there’s no point talking about Marcos Alonso. Tomorrow we have Balde and Jordi for the left and that’s it.
Xavi on Ansu Fati - pressure off with Lewy here?
Maybe it takes the pressure off. He’s a generational player, he makes the difference, he can score goals. He’s an important player. He helps us inside the box. It doesn’t matter if he plays 10 or 90 minutes they have to help the team. Ansu’s importance to the squad is unquestionable.
Xavi on Nico’s exit
Nico came to me to talk about 3 weeks ago. I wanted him to stay. I believed that he would have minutes. I like him a lot. He came again 4-5 days ago, he wanted to leave. He felt that he’d found a team where he’d get more minutes, more continuity. I understood him. When a player comes to you two times that he sees his participation in the squad as difficult then it’s his decision. It’s very brave and I wish him the best. Hopefully he will come back more experienced and hopefully he will help us moving forwards. I still think he can be a very important player. Busquets substitute? We have Pjanic, he wil stay with us. We have Kessie, we have various options.
Xavi on Mempis
We will see what happens. These are situations where we have to see what happens. Ideally today the market will close and the competition will start but that’s not the case. We have until the 31st, we will see what happens.
Xavi on Lewandowski
He’s a goalscorer, more than that he’s a difference maker inside the area and how he understands the game. He makes a lot of space for his teammates. He interprets space very well. We can play very well with him and he gives us a lot of quality. He’s come here with a lot of humility and motivation.
Xavi on Raphinha
I think he’s different from other players. He’s more of a natural winger. He’s perhaps like Neymar but he can shoot like Rivaldo. He’s a mix of those two. He can come inside, he can score. He can cross, he has the qualities to make the difference. We knew of his abilities and when you can come to Barca and show this personality it says a lot.