FC Barcelona football star Lionel Messi (2nd L), Neymar (2nd R), Gerard Pique (R) and Rakuteb CEO Hiroshi Mikitani (L) show off the new jerseys with the Rakuten sponsorship logo for the first time during a press conference in Tokyo on July 13, 2017. Japan’s major internet retailer Rakuten entered into main sponsorship contract with FC Barcelona. / AFP PHOTO / Toru YAMANAKA
New Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde laughed off the idea of bringing in new players on Monday saying the best signings were the players already in the dressing room.
“I’m more than happy with the way things stand,” said Valverde when pressed on the potential signing of Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti.
“Happy with the players, happy with their work and their attitude,” he said as his players prepare for their trip to the United States on Wednesday.
“I really don’t care about any player anywhere else,” he said, knowing fans will be keen to win back the Spanish League title and indeed the Champions League, both won by their arch-rivals Real Madrid.
“Even if you might argue we need back up in certain areas,” he said, adding Barcelona had no offers on the table for any of their players either.
“For me, the best signings are the players I already have in my team.”
He said Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar, Barcelona’s attacking trident were “a huge factor in the intimidation of our rivals.”
“Messi is a unique player and wherever I play him he will flourish. He will continue in the role he has always had, he’ll continue to do that very well,” he said.
Over the last two seasons Valverde’s predecessor Luis Enrique had sometimes strained relations with Messi, who he pulled deeper and then pushed out to the right.
“We need him both as a creator of chances and a finisher of chances, where he really makes the difference,” insisted the former Athletic Bilbao coach.
“As for Neymar — he’s doing very well in his current role, although we know he too could play in other roles,” said Valverde of the 25-year-old Brazil captain.
Barcelona play Juventus, Manchester United and Real Madrid in a lightening tour of the United States next week.
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