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12.10.2007 10:33

"I still have a lot to achieve"

Berta Brau

Éric Abidal has played the most minutes of any outfield player in the Barça squad and he reflected on his great start to life at the club in an interview with Barça TV and www.fcbarcelona.com.

The French international has become a firm favourite at Camp Nou as he has already shown that he has great physical strength, is powerful in defence and agile when breaking forward to help build attacks. Abidal's great form has impressed the coaching staff and his new team-mates too and he is delighted to have settled in quickly, but he also explains that he won nothing yet and has plenty more to achieve at the club.

How do you feel now you have been at Barça for four months?

fcb-bilbao99_x6x.jpg"I feel good and am integrating well. We have made a strong start to the league and the Champions League so from there, if everything goes well fgor the club, then it will go well for me."

Has it been easy to settle in alongside your new team-mates?

"Well, I feel at ease, and I try and talk to everyone whether it be in English, Spanish or French, which is easier. But we all understand each other and everyone understands what I say and that has made it all a lot easier."

What are your impressions of the team from the inside?

WEB_05.jpg"When I arrived I thought it was very different from France and even more so now I have played here. We have a good team, even though there are a few injuries. It true that the football is different, we think about keeping the ball a lot more and using it more precisely to score goals."

Have you changed you opinion of Barça since you joined?

"No. The only thing that has changed is that before I was on the outside and now I am on the inside."

Against Stuttgart you played some time as a central defender, how did that feel?

"It was great. In fact, that is the position which I prefer to play, but I switched to the left side a few years ago. During the game against Stuttgart I felt myself automatically going over to the left, but my preferred position is in the middle. I was delighted to be able to play there for a while, but I would have preferred it to be under different circumstances as it came about because we suffered two injuries and I would liked to have been asked to play there for other reasons. But the most important thing was that the team won."

What do you think about that fact that, apart from Víctor Valdés, you have played the most minutes this season?

fcblyon2_x13x.jpg"That is something to ask the coach about. I am here to play and it is the coach that decides what changes have to be made to the team. In the game against Levante I came off in order to be ready for the Champions League game, I think. It is good to rest from time to time, but I am ready to play in every game if I am asked to do that."

How you feel physically?

"I am fine, but if I was to feel something then I would prefer it if someone else was to play instead. But as long as I can give my best then I will never refuse to play."

Do you see this as the best moment of your professional career?

WEB_06.jpg"I do not know as it has not finished yet. I think when I retire I will be able to look back and say what was the best time for me ,but what is true that in this profession you have to know how to make use of all the good and bad moments. At the moment I am very happy to play for Barça and now I have to continue working hard as there is still plenty more to achieve."

The supporters are impressed and surprised with you. Why do you think that is?

"I don't know. My spontaneity maybe, because do not calculate everything and I am quick, I am really not sure. Maybe that is a question to ask the fans. I just try and be myself and to play the way I know and if people like that then that is great."
“I still have a lot to achieve“

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On the OL
How did you feel when you had to play against you former club?

"It was a little strange, but one the day there are no friends out there once the game starts as it was an official game. Our goal was to play well at home because the Champions League is important and it was the first match and you always want to win that to set yourselves up for a good run. I knew a lot of the players on the othre side, I know their qualities, and I had a chat with the coach. We kept an eye on Juninho, especially at set pieces, and we tried not to commit fouls around our area and that made it a bad day for him and a good one for us. As was said before, that page has been turned and we are nw focussed on the future."

Did expect to win 3-0?

"I did not think about the end result. It is true that 3-0 was a difficult result to predict, but what was important was to win, even if that had been by a single goal. But I know, having played for Lyon, that it is certain that in this competition that we have start well while they have not as the luck has probably gone against them and it is going to be a different season for everyone."

Why do you think Olympique Lyonnais have had a bad start in Europe?

"There are a number of reasons. The team needs to be given time as a number of new players have come in and the coach has changed too and maybe his tactics and ideas are different from the coach last season. Then, if you start badly, you become a little dispirited and doubts creep in and from there, when there are any problems you do not rise above them so easily and it makes things even more complicated. We saw that against Rangers that they did not play well either, so they have to really pull things around in ordder to qualify for the elimination phase of the Champions League."

How do you think your return to the Stade Gerland will be?

"That is a way off, but it would be god to go there having already qualified and then we could see. I do not like to think what will happen ahead of time because things never turn out quite like you think, so we will have to wait and see. But I will be very happy to go back and see my old club and to see the fans that gave me such great support when I was there."

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