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30.06.2007 11:38

"I am 100 per cent a winner"

Berta Brau

Éric Abidal is relishing the prospect of playing for the Blaugrana he revealed in his first interview as a Barça player when he spoke to Barça TV and www.fcbarcelona.cat.

After being presented on Friday, the French international was open and honest about his thoughts on moving to the Camp Nou and outlined his plans for the future and his thoughts on the game and his new team-mates.

Why did you have this great conviction to come and play for Barça?

"The great conviction is because I have always wanted to play for Barça, but for me to sign the club needed to do a lot of work and I am very pleased that they have done that because it means that what I have done so far has impressed them.”

Do you see this as the biggest stage of your career?

"A professional career has many stages and when I joined Lyon I knew that I have moved up a level and now I have worked to move up even higher and that has been realised and coming to FC Barcelona is a big moment. But I do not expect things to stop there."

Are you ready?

"I believe I am ready. I cannot wait to be with everyone and to see how I will integrate into the club and I hope that my team-mates will be able to help me fit and feel at home."

How would you define yourself?

"I am 100 per cent a winner and zero percent a cheat."

How do you think that your arrival will help the team?

"I do not know really, maybe the fact that I always give everything and always go out to win. Perhaps also I will help to push the team even more to carry on obtaining good results."

In which position do you feel more comfortable; at left-back or on the left side in the centre of defence?

QM3D5972.JPG"Playing on the left in the centre of defence is my favourite place, but I have played a lot at left-back. If I had to choose I would pick central defence, but for the team they are going to play me at left-back and that is where I also play for the French national team so I see that as my best position."

How would you describe Barça's way of playing?

"Two touches of the ball and moving forward at speed to try and score quickly with the quality and attacking ability that the squad has. During games they are the team that have the most possession and I think that with all the technical and physical ability that there is at the back that is what defines the team the best."

What did you think what you knew that you would be playing alongside some of the best players in the world?

"I thought that I was happy to be playing in this team and not against them! Now I will have to continue working very hard and it is always a pleasure for me to be able to play such well though of players."

At Barça you will reunite with former Monaco team-mates and friends from the French national team. Will that help with your adaptation?

"It is true that with French speakers at the club already it will make communicating a lot easier and means that when I need to know something I will know who to ask. I think that the best way to integrate into any club, especially if you are a foreigner, is to learn and speak the local language and that is why one of the first things that I asked when I came here was whether there were teachers at the club that could help me with my Catalan and Castellano."

What do you know about Frank Rijkaard as a coach?

"The president has told me that he is a great coach, so I am very pleased to be one of his player as he has had great success at Barça and many players have improved a lot under him and I now hope that I will continue to play well under him."

What are your goals and ambitions?

"I look at collective goals because if the team is doing well then personally I will do well. My aim is to be able to win as many trophies as possible with FC Barcelona."

Which players do you look up to in the game?

fcb-sevilla-thuram.jpg"There are a lot. My idol is Lilian Thuram and I am lucky enough to be going to play alongside him. But it is also true that when you are lucky enough to be playing with players like Ronaldinho, Samuel Eto'o and Deco you feel like nobody can beat you. Besides, we have also signed Thierry Henry and Yaya Touré and there maybe more to come. It is true that when you are defending you want to be one type of player and when you are in attack you want to be another and you want to be a role model and to set an example."

Why is Lilian Thuram your idol?

"During the time that I want starting out at Monaco I was compared to him and it became something of a thing of mine to study the way he plays. Lilian does not commit many fouls either and he always try to be play as cleanly as possible at the back and I by watching his style closely I think I have managed to copy him quite well. I appreciate the player on the pitch and also the man himself away from the game.

What are your dreams?

"Many of my dreams have already become reality. The first was to become a professional footballer and I have been lucky enough to achieve that and now I want to win the Champions League and the league and cup in Spain and, above all, to try to help my national team to win the World Cup."

What do you think about the other two new Barça signings this summer?

"I played against Yaya Touré when he was at Olympiacos and it is true that we knew then that he was a great player. If Barça have signed him then it is because he has real quality. He also has great technique, he is very strong, is combative and will bring real balance to the team.

"We all know what Henry achieved at Arsenal and I know what he can do for the national team. We know he has power and technique and can score goals and lead the forward line. I think he will bring everything he had at Arsenal and can achieve great things with Barça."
“I am 100 per cent a winner“
On the field
You are a player that likes to go forward, but you have not scored that many goals...

"I am not comfortable, well; let's say that I do not have that many chances in front of goal or when I am up front although I do like to move forward if and when I can. My strength is to create space to try and provide chances for the forwards or the more attacking players. Although I hope that in this team I will be able to increase my goalscoring tally."

You also do not commit many fouls. In four seasons you have received four yellow cards...

"For a defender that is good, but you should not just look at the statistics, because sometimes there are fouls that are not seen. But I have always felt that the fewer fouls you commit as a defender the less harm you do your team. That is my mentality and the way I think the game should be played."

Do you prefer to play beautiful football rather than to play hard?

"No, no. You can play hard football without a lot of fouls. It seems to me that lately some games turn into a physical battle where technique comes second. As a defender I think that what is most important is to earn respect inside the first 18 metres and commit as few fouls as possible so that your team does not suffer."

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