Xavi Hernandez praised Barcelona’s work in the transfer market over the summer. ‘It wasn’t easy to replace the best goalkeeper in the club’s history.”
Despite Thomas Vermaelen’s injury problems and Douglas Pereira’s failure to break into the first team, the 34-year-old believes the Catalan giants’ other major signings during pre-season have already proven their worth, most notably Victor Valdes’ successor Claudio Bravo.
“Last year we didn’t do well for various reasons. I think this year we signed well. It’s a pity that Vermaelen had to be operated on,” he said in today’s edition of Sport.
“[Ivan] Rakitic is also a proven player, who is contributing to the team, [Jeremy] Mathieu has put in some outstanding performances, while the goalkeepers have been amazing.
“The hardest thing was replacing a goalkeeper [Valdes] who had been here for 12 years, constantly playing at a high level.
“It wasn’t easy to replace the best goalkeeper in Barcelona’s history. For what he’s achieved, there can be no debate about that.
“Nothing needs to be said about Luis Suarez, now only Douglas is missing.
“Like Luis Enrique said, we need to be patient with him, plus [Andoni] Zubizarreta said he was not a player for this year and must adapt first. He came from another continent, so it’s not easy for him.
“It’s difficult to make comparisons with last year. Alexis [Sanchez] and Cesc [Fabregas] were great players, so was Valdes in goal. Last year we didn’t do well, although we signed Neymar.”