Tito Vilanova has applauded Golden Boot winner Lionel Messi and promised the Barcelona team that meets Alaves will be competitive.
Messi was presented with the Golden Boot in a ceremony in Barcelona earlier today, becoming part of an elite group of players who have been the top scorer in Europe twice.
“I don't want to repeat myself, but I don't think we'll ever see a player like him again,” Vilanova told a press conference.
“Mainly because of the way he understands the game. His tactical ability makes him even better. If necessary he'll run 35 metres to defend a corner. Not many great players do that.”
The Blaugrana boss also sang the praises of Andres Iniesta, who is celebrating the tenth anniversary of his debut for the club.
“Iniesta is an example of La Masia. It takes a lot to develop a player as special as Andres. He came in as a little boy and was made a global superstar thanks to the work of the club.”
Vilanova then turned to tomorrow's Copa del Rey fixture against Alaves, former UEFA Cup finalists now residing in Spain's third tier. Messi, Pedro Rodriguez, Victor Valdes, Jordi Alba and Xabi Hernandez will all be rested.
“I will put out our most competitive team. If I just thought about giving out minutes I wouldn't be giving the game the importance it deserves. The players we are leaving here are the ones who have played most.
“These opening rounds are difficult because you have little to gain and a lot to lose. This is the best team we could have met in the opening rounds. I know their Coach and I know how he works.”