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31.07.2007 13:09

The voice of experience

Sergi Nogueras

Lilian Thuram believes that the physical work that the FC Barcelona squad are currently doing in training will be crucial during what promises to be a long season.

The 35-year-old knows from experience that pre-season is never easy and thinks that it should not be as he has joined the rest of the players during the first couple of weeks of preparation.

"Training is very important to play football," he said. "Now technical ability is also crucial, but the physical side is still vital too. Training is hard now, but that is normal. We are in pre-season and you have to push yourself to be fit for the whole year." Thuram would rather train than travel, but he recognises that trips, like the forthcoming tour of Asia, are all part of the modern game. "I do not think it is possibly the best way for the team to prepare," he continued. "But that is how football is and all the big clubs do it nowadays."

Milito’s arrival

entreno310707-1_x10x.jpgThis season Thuram will face increased competition for a place in the Barça side following the arrival of Gaby Milito from Real Zaragoza. But the former Juve star does not see the new signings as a challenge to his chances of playing. "He is a great player and plays for his international side, but it will not change anything for me personally."

French fancy

QM3D9456.JPGAmong the current Barça squad are three current French internationals, the first time ever that the club has had that many at any one time. Given his experience at every level, Thuram is a reference for the new arrivals, Thierry Henry and Éric Abidal as well as French-speaking Touré Yaya, and he is pleased to be able to show them the ropes. "The three of them all speak French for them it is good that they came together," he said. "In the dressing room they have no problems and all of them are delighted to be playing for Barça. Having them all here is justified because they will all bring something to the team."

Reflecting on Henry's arrival, Thuram added: "He is very happy. He has been linked with Barcelona for a long time and now he is happy to finally be here. After many years at Arsenal he has enjoyed changing clubs. It is not for him to be able to improve, because that is not possible, but so that he can learn."

On Giovani

At the opposite end of the spectrum from Thuram is 18-year-old Giovani Dos Santos, who is just beginning his career. A Mexican journalist asked the French defender what he thought about the youngster. "Dos Santos is a very good young players," he explained. "I expect him to become a great player. He has a lot to learn and has a positive attitude and that is the best thing."
The voice of experience
Great expectations
During the press conference on Tuesday, Thuram was asked if he felt that there was more motivation in the squad now than there was last season. "No, we are not more motivated because last year everyone was," he said. "Last season was not good, however, and we expect this time to be different."

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