The first press conference of Barça’s 2019 summer tour was held on Monday at Machida Stadium, one day after the team arrived here in the capital, and one day before they face Chelsea in their first game of the Rakuten Cup.
Before their afternoon workout, the new signing Antoine Griezmann and veteran midfielder Ivan Rakitic fielded questions from the media. Here are the highlights of what they had to say.
On his first days with Barça:
"I want to thank all the fans who came to the airport and the hotel, and also those who will come out to see our matches. I will be getting my first minutes for Barça and I'm looking forward to enjoying it with my new teammates.”
"The first day was difficult because I was nutmegged twice in our warmup rondos, one of them by Rakitic. Since then, I’ve been working on improving in that area.”
On the difference in styles between Barça and Atlético:
“They have two different ways of attacking. Atlético is faster, while here it’s more about patience. I will adjust the way I did at Atlético. I like this style and I know I can contribute many things. For me, there will be no problem running attacking or defending."
On Atlético manager Diego Simeone’s words of praise:
“My relationship with Simeone is more of a family relationship than one between player and coach. He has been important to me on the field, but also in my private life. He knows I love him. We have a relationship that goes beyond sports.”
On being back in Japan:
"It is a pleasure to be here in Japan. We have great memories of the 2015 Club World Cup. There are a lot of fans here and it is a pleasure to share this with them. It’s very special to be able to play two matches here, especially the one against Vissel Kobe and Iniesta, Villa and Samper, who are part of the Barça family.”
On facing his former teammates, now at Vissel Kobe:
"It will be special, but also a bit strange to face Iniesta, Villa and Samper. They know us very well and they will also want to play a good match.
"Iniesta is one of my best friends in the world of football.”
On Barça B’s new player, Hiroki Abe:
"I want to congratulate him on signing with Barça. We'll see him this afternoon, because he has not yet trained with us. I am sure that if he has signed with Barça, he is a very good player. We hope to enjoy him. He is shy, but has already surprised us by speaking some Spanish.”
On learning from the past in order to conquer the Champions League:
"The new players are motivated to win the Champions League. We know the mistakes we made and now we have to look towards the future. I know that this season we will be better than last season, and we want to begin showing it tomorrow.”
Source: FC Barcelona