Barcelona defender Carles Puyol believes criticism of his team is unfair after winning La Liga with 100 points last term.
“The condemnation of Barca has not been fair. We won La Liga! I spent many years without winning anything and the statistics are incredible,” insisted Puyol in an interview with Mundo Deportivo, before being asked about the Catalans’ inability to overcome teams such as Bayern Munich in big games last season.
“We must analyse how we arrived at this situation against these teams and the toll the last five years has taken on us, what we have won and what we have not.
“All these things add up as well as injuries at crucial times. It’s difficult as we had Lionel Messi playing with an injury he is still trying to recover from.
“Leo is very important to us. What team wouldn’t miss this player? It’s like if Real Madrid had Cristiano Ronaldo taken away from them.
“Barca have some great players but Messi exudes confidence. Knowing he is there changes things.”
The veteran 35-year-old also spoke about the arrival of Neymar from Santos and of how he believes there are few players like the Brazilian in world football.
“We’ll need to see how he adapts but for me he is very good. There are not many like him and from what they say he is eager and very excited to be coming to us.
“I’ve marked him and studied him in the past and as a footballer he’s different. There aren’t a lot like him around but we will help him when he arrives.
“He is very strong in one-on-one situations and if he turns you then you have a big problem. That’s something our team needs, especially now when sides sit back against us.
“Not many players can cause damage like him, either standing still or on the move, and in tight spaces the way he unbalances people is vital.
“Neymar also has goals in him and is a very complete player,” he concluded.