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08.08.2008 13:39

Dream start for new players

Jordi Clos

The five new signings and the seven reserve players have made an excellent start with the first team in the preseason.

It’s often the case that signings and young academy players become the main attraction in the warm-up matches, and in the summer of 2008 it has been the turn of Alves, Piqué, Cáceres, Keita, Hleb, Pedro, Jeffren, Busquets, Sánchez, Vázquez, Abraham and Córcoles. All of them have performed excellently in their first outings as Barça players.

Adapting to a different style of play

Coming to Barça as a defender isn’t easy as you have to quickly and effectively adapt to a team that has to win and plays in an attacking way. Three out of the five signings are defenders: Dani Alves, Gerard Piqué and Martín Cáceres. They have had more game time than the other signings, though of course they did join the club earlier on.

Multi-purpose Keita and Hleb

The other two signings, Seydou Keita and Alexander Hleb, have demonstrated their all-round skills and played an important role in the attack. The Mali midfielder has shown he can be useful both in attack and defence, while Hleb was signed just before the Scotland trip and didn’t really get involved until the US tour. Against Chivas and the Red Bulls he showed signs of his vision and technique.

The revelations

They did have the benefit of knowing what Pep Guardiola wants, but the seven reserve team players who’ve been with the first team for preseason have also been excellent. The three to have made the biggest impression are Pedro, Jeffren and Busquets: indeed Pedro started four out of the five games and scored twice, just like Jeffren.

Víctor Sánchez and Víctor Vázquez were less lucky as they picked up muscle injuries in the US and missed the last two games after impressing in the first three. As for Abraham and Córcoles, they only went to Saint Andrews, though that was time enough to show that they can be counted on to cover holes in the defence.
Dream start for new players

Martín Cáceres 307 1
Piqué 299 0
Dani Alves 291 0
Keita 251 0
Hleb 137 1

Young academy players 

Pedro 245 2
Jeffren 220 2
Busquets 209 0
Víctor Vázquez 104 0
Víctor Sánchez 103 0
Córcoles 90 0
Abraham 71 0

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