Valverde Relieved To Have Messi On His Team

Channels Television  
Updated July 17, 2017

New Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said on Monday he was relieved to have star player Lionel Messi playing on the same team and not playing against him.

“It’s a feeling of relief (to have Messi). When you are on the bench as a rival you are thinking about what you have to do to stop the surge that arises and sometimes you lack players to stop him (Messi). Right now, what I’m trying to do is to get used to the way he and the team trains,” Valverde said.

“He’s a unique player and his role will be the same one he has had over the past years, he’s a player that can play in any position and can do it well.”

Messi will sign a new four-year deal keeping him at the Nou Camp until 2021, the Spanish club said on July 5, ending speculation that the five times Ballon d’Or winner could be tempted to leave. But captain Andres Iniesta has not yet signed the renewal contract with the Catalans leaving in the air his future.

“I don’t know if this is the last year for Andres, I can’t predict the future, but my intention is to make him feel happy in the team and that he participates and contributes,” Valverde said in a news conference, addressing the media for the first time since his appointment on June 1.

Barca will travel to the United States on Wednesday (July 19) as part of the pre-season tour and will meet arch-rivals Real Madrid in a friendly match in Miami on July 29 in the first “Clasico” to take place outside Spain for 35 years.

And the coach is ready to work with the players at his disposal.

“The club works to have the best team but my idea, above all, is always to work with what I have. That’s how I work, with the players I have here. We know the club we are in and that a lot of players want to come here, we want to have the best players in the world and actually we have them,” he said.