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12.09.2007 19:32

Oleguer working hard

Sandra Sarmiento / Marc Guillén

Catalan defender Oleguer Presas has had more time on the pitch so far this season than any other member of the senior squad. Frank Rijkaard has included him in the starting line-up for the eleven matches played up to now.

Oleguer Presas has missed just twenty minutes of the pre-season and official matches played by Barça, all of them in pre-season encounters.

Obviously, the injury to team captain Carles Puyol, plus the fact that fellow defenders Milito and Márquez joined up with the squad later than the rest due to their international commitments in the Copa America will have had some effect, but the coaching staff clearly have great confidence in Oleguer. In the opening league match of the season, Márquez sat with the subs while in the match against Athletic Bilbao it was the turn of Milito and Thuram to start on the bench.

A quiet season

WEB_40.jpgLast season, Oleguer Presas played rather less than he had done in previous seasons, perhaps due to the arrival of seasoned internationals such as Thuram and Zambrotta. Oleguer played in 25 league matches, in 7 Kings Cup matches, 5 in the Champions League, 1 in the Super Cup and 2 in the Catalonia Cup. He had been a fixture in the starting line-up in the two previous seasons but last season started just 10 matches in the league.

A key figure in 2005-2006

In Barça’s Champions League and Spanish League double season, 2005-06, Oleguer was one of the most regular players in the team. He missed just 5 league matches and started 31 of the 33 in which he played. Barça won the league title comfortably and Oleguer demonstrated his versatility, playing in the heart of the defence or at right back.

The story was the same in the Champions League. He played in 11 matches, only missing a match against Panathinaikos and the return leg of the semi-finals against Milan, the latter due to injury. He was one of the eleven that started the final in Paris against Arsenal and so entered the history books of the Club.

Oleguer really established his place in the team in the 2004-05 season, playing in 36 league matches, of which he started 33. He scored his only Barça goal to date away to Malaga.
Oleguer working hard
Debut in 2003
Oleguer Presas made his Barça debut on 12th January 2003 in Malaga. Dutch manager Louis Van Gaal brought him on in the 13th minute after Gerard had picked up an injury. The match ended in a goalless draw.

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