.@DaniAlvesD2: “We're still the team to beat”

The Brazilian defender considers that Barça, world champions, are still the team to beat

Dani Alves says that he’s as eager as ever to win the Liga title and he made no excuses for last season’s second place finish

“We’re still the team to beat because we’re the best team in the world. We’re the ones that have the logo on our shirts that distinguishes us as world champions. We lost the Liga and we have to try and win it back, we know it’s going to be difficult,” said Dani Alves in today’s press conference.

On FC Barcelona’s La Liga title bid, the Brazilian said: “I’m as eager as ever. If we lost the last Liga title it’s because we weren’t as good as the team that finished first. There are no excuses in this Club, we have to improve.” The defender added that “it’s all the same to me if we’re defending a title or trying to win it. I’m comfortable knowing that the team is competitive, that we have the capacity to fight for all of the titles.”

Satisfied with the team

The Brazilian is convinced that Barça will be able to meet all of its challenges this season: “the team is ready and starting off on the right foot gives you more confidence for the rest of the season. It’s difficult to find the right balance if you start with doubts.” It’s important for Alves to start the season with a victory, because “it would prove that we’re in it to win it.” He added: “it doesn’t matter if we have a lot of players on the roster. Every player must bring something to the team, that’s the important thing. That’s why we’re calm and ready for the season to start.”

In good hands

One of the reasons the players are positive about the team’s chances this season is due to Tito Vilanova’s leadership. The defender gave his take on the transition to the new manager: “Pep left us in good hands. There will be continuity to his work. I’m sure that the athletic project will be reinvigorated and that the players will be eager to do important things.”

The Azulgrana defender is set to start his fifth season with a new mentality, seeing that he’s almost 30. “I feel great. I’m a footballer that, thanks to my physique, can keep on going for many years,” said Dani Alves.

Internationals return; Alexis set to join team on Friday

Leo Messi, en l'entrenament d'aquest dijous. FOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB.
The footballers that played for their countries in this week’s international friendlies returned to training this afternoon, with the exception of the Chilean, who played in the United States

Carles Puyol and Jonathan Dos Santos rejoined their team-mates and trained with the group this afternoon – they trained apart for the team on Wednesday

Tito Vilanova’s FC Barcelona was almost back to full strength this Thursday afternoon for today’s preparatory session ahead of the team’s La Liga debut against Real Sociedad on Sunday. The only first team player absent from today’s session was Alexis Sánchez, who played for his country on Wednesday in New York City. The rest of the internationals, however, reported for duty and trained with the rest of their team-mates.

Puyol and Dos Santos

Carles Puyol and Jonathan dos Santos were also back with the group this afternoon – yesterday they trained apart from the team. Tello, Sergi Roberto and the keeper Bañuz, from the reserve side, also trained with the first team. Thiago Alcántara, however, continued his recovery work apart from the group.

The team will take to the pitch on Friday afternoon for another training session. If everything goes according to schedule, Tito Vilanova will have all his internationals back by Friday.

. @AdrianoCorreia6 : “I’m in the prime of my career”

Adriano during this afternoon's press conference at the Ciutat Esportiva / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
The Azulgrana defender hopes to remain injury free and start “the season off on the right foot” by winning the Spanish Super Cup

The Brazilian defines Tito Vilanova as “very calm, intelligent; he knows what he wants – he has very good character”

“Tito is the commander now. He’s very calm, intelligent; he knows what he wants – he has very good character”
“It’s always appetising to play against Madrid and we hope to start off the season on the right foot by winning the Super Cup”

Adriano Correia is set to start his third season as a FC Barcelona player with a lot of confidence thanks to his physical fitness. For the past couple of months, the Brazilian has been injury free and today, during his pre-training press conference, he stated that he’s in optimal condition to play official matches. “I’m in the prime of my career,” said the 28-year-old defender.

Everything is ready for the start of the season

On Sunday Barça will play its first match of the 2012/13 La Liga season, at the Camp Nou against Real Sociedad (21.00). Adriano said that he the team is 100% ready, even though some of the players joined the team’s pre-season later than others. “The team is in condition to play, despite the fact that some footballers didn’t have as much rest as others, the players that joined the team later on are in good condition.” The Brazilian also warned that FC Barcelona and Real Madrid won’t be the only teams to challenge for this season’s title. “There are always surprise teams, last year we had Levante or Málaga.” He added that the team’s objective is to “maintain the level of play in order to stay at the top [of the league]” while noting that he’s aware that “we can improve on what we did last year.”

La Liga will kick off this weekend, but in seven days the Azulgranas will host Real Madrid in the away leg of the Spanish Super Cup. “It’s always appetising to play against Madrid and we hope to start off the season on the right foot by winning the Super Cup.”

“Tito is the commander now”

Exactly a month ago this Thursday Tito Vilanova was presented as FC Barcelona’s head manager. After a month of working under the Catalan, Adriano said that “the work is the same we did under Pep.” In addition, the player went on to say that Vilanova, with a character that is clearly defined, is his own man: “he’s the commander now. He’s very calm, intelligent; he knows what he wants – he has very good character.”

Eusebio: “We're ready for the season to start”

Eusebio Sacristán / PHOTO: ÀLEX CAPARRÓS-FCB.
The Barça B manager says that he has a team “with a lot of quality,” but he cautioned that “we need to make the group competitive.” The reserve side will kick off its Segunda División campaign at 19.00 at the Miniestadi, against Almería

Eusebio will not be able to call on Kiko Femenía and Ayala, both of whom are recovering from injuries to their left ankles, and Edgar Ié, who is recovering from a fracture to the fifth metatarsal in his left foot

Barça B names its captains

The Barça B players named the new captains for the 2012/13 season. Ilie, Oier, Planas, Sergi Gómez and Masip, in that order, will now represent the the reserve side players.

Barça B will begin its Segunda División campaign this Friday, at 7:00 PM, at the Miniestadi against Almería. Eusebio Sacristán admitted that his players are eager to start the official season, after putting in multiple weeks of training and going undefeated in the pre-season. “We’re very excited to start the season,” said the manager, who was quick to highlight the quality of the players at his disposal. “We’re very pleased with the team we have and we’re eager for the season to start. We’re prepared and confident that we can start [the season] on the right foot.”

When asked to analyse his team, Eusebio said that “they are a great group with a lot of quality players, but we have to try and make them competitive. They are very young and the important thing is to meld all of these players in such a way to achieve the desired outcome.”

Three absences on Friday

For tomorrow’s match, Eusebio will not be able to call on Kiko Femenía and Ayala, both of whom are recovering injuries to their left ankles. These two players are joined by Edgar Ié, who is recovering from a fractured fifth metatarsal in his left foot and will be out of action for at least three months. In addition, neither Cristian Tello nor Sergi Roberto trained with the team this Thursday, both players are scheduled to train with the first team. Eusebio explained that he’s intent on continuing the reserve side’s policy of reinforcing Tito Vilanova’s team. The Barça B manager made special mention on Seri Roberto: “I hope he can continue his stay with the first team, because he’s been with the reserve side for a couple of years and his level of play is very high. He’s responding well and he proving that he’s ready to play with the first team.”

Castilla – Barça B, August 25, at 21.00

The schedules for the second and third matchdays of the Segunda División were confirmed this Thursady morning. Barça B will play away to Castilla, Real Madrid’s reserve side, on Saturday, August 25, at 21.00. The following week, Barça B will face Sabadell on September 2nd, at 18.00, at the Miniestadi. Eusebio is aware that the match against Castilla “creates a lot of expectation, but we’re focused on Almería right now, they are a great opponent and they had a very good pre-season.”