“I’m counting on Aubameyang and Frenkie de Jong, but we don’t know what will happen until August 31”
“We have had an excellent preseason, but tomorrow the moment of truth begins”
The FC Barcelona coach, Xavi Hernández, showed his optimism about registering the new Barça signings before playing this Saturday the first day of LaLiga 2022/23 against Rayo Vallecano at the Camp Nou, although “perhaps” they will not manage to record “the one hundred percent” of the pending footballers.
“The whole club is very positive. They have just announced the fourth of the famous ‘levers’. Tomorrow we will get ahead, maybe not one hundred percent, but we will see tomorrow. We have time until two hours before the game, we are optimistic, but We’ll see”, explained Xavi this Friday at the press conference prior to the premiere in the domestic competition.
In this line, the possible absence of the signings for the first duel of the season influences “little” for the coach. “We work with different systems, play one or the other, it will change little. We almost have doubled all the positions. I am aware of the situation and we are quite optimistic”, he affirmed.
“Tomorrow we have a very good litmus test. We have had an excellent pre-season, but the moment of truth begins. It is time to show that we can compete and even more so by playing at home”, added Xavi, who praised Rayo Vallecano, a team with players of a “high” level, although “perhaps not many people know them”.
“It’s an important test, Rayo is tactically a great team. Iraola is a great coach. They are capable of attacking like planes, defending well and putting important high pressure on,” he added.
“I COUNT ON AUBAMEYANG AND PJANIC HAS CONVINCED ME”
On the chapter of highs and lows of the transfer market, the one from Terrassa highlighted the work of the Gabonese Aubameyang. “I’m counting on him, on those who don’t already know. Between now and August 31 I don’t know what can happen. He’s an important footballer, he has come with excellent humility and work capacity, I’m delighted with him,” he acknowledged.
“The same thing happens with Frenkie de Jong as Aubameyang. He’s an important footballer, he’s in the squad, I can use him, well, perfect. From here until the last market day we’ll see what possibilities there are. We don’t know what will happen with the vast majority of the entire workforce,” he said.
In this line, Xavi Hernández was also cautious with the situation of Memphis Depay. “We are going to see what happens. These are situations that we have to assess. The ideal thing would be for the market to close today and the competition to start, but that is not the case. We have time to plan the squad”, he pointed out.
In the case of Nico González, the Barça coach highlighted the young midfielder’s intention to leave to have minutes. “I tried to insist that he stay, that I had him and that I like his footballing conditions. But he insisted that he wanted to leave because he believed he had to always play. And I understood it. It’s a loan, he’s been brave,” he clarified.
“I wish him the best at Valencia. That he comes back next year more mature and can help us on his return because he must be important in the future of Barça,” he added. On the other hand, Xavi confirmed that the Bosnian Miralem Pjanic will be part of the squad. “He has convinced me. We also have Kessié, De Jong as substitutes for Busquets, even Sergi Roberto in an emergency and the same Christensen who has played with Denmark,” he assured.
Asked about Ansu Fati’s role, the ‘culé’ coach stressed that the arrival of Robert Lewandowski “may take pressure off” the young attacker. For this reason, he hopes that “it will be important” together with the Pole, who has catapulted FC Barcelona one step forward as an “extraordinary” team.
On Raphinha, Xavi admitted that he is “different” to any Brazilian I have played with. “He is more of a pure winger, he is more like Neymar, but he has the ability to shoot on goal like Rivaldo. He is a combination between a winger and a midfielder, and he has a goal, he doesn’t think about it. Some qualities to make a difference,” he said.
Finally, the coach valued the “atypical” season with the World Cup in November. “We have already planned what it will be like to do a mid-season vacation. It is the first time, we will do another pre-season for the non-World Cup players, if necessary. Those who are, we will have to pray that they come back without injuries,” he said.
A season that will start rolling for the azulgranas this Saturday and that hopes to rekindle the illusion in Barcelona after last season without titles. “What will mark me as a coach is winning or losing. We place a lot of value on how. I hope to convey my idea of the game to cover the goal of winning titles at the end of the season. The same pressure as when I arrived in November,” he said. .