Arda Turan lifts the lid on his Barcelona experience, revealing his best friends and lauding Lionel Messi and his ‘idol’ Andres Iniesta.
The Turkey international spent six months on the sidelines at Camp Nou as Barca were banned from registering his move from Atletico Madrid, and he admits he didn’t expect to be so involved when he was finally available to Luis Enrique.
“It was very hard. I arrived at Barca and couldn’t play because of a problem with FIFA,” AS quotes Arda as telling Turkey’s Diari Ara.
“For six months, in my mind there was only one thing: ‘I will play for Barca, I will play for Barca.’ I repeated it every day.
“I feel like I’m the 12th man. I think I play too much since I’m on a team that won everything last year. I need time. For six months I haven’t been able to play, now in two-and-a-half I’m already getting minutes.
“I’m playing with the best players in the world, confident that little by little I will improve, taking a leading role as the days go on.
“I’ve had to change my style because there are players here who are responsible for doing what I used to do [at Atletico].
“It’s not something that bothers me. I’m enjoying playing with [Lionel] Messi, Neymar, [Sergio] Busquets, [Dani] Alves.
“It’s very easy to play with them. They’re incredible, very intelligent tactically. It was different at Atletico.”
Arda elaborated on his thoughts on his Barca teammates, naming his closet friends in the squad, the player he looks up to the most and stressing the ability of Messi.
“Everything he does is amazing. He’s very fast in everything. Most important is his tactical intelligence,” he said of the Argentine.
“It’s incredible, surpassing everyone. He’s a very intelligent player. He’s a talent above the rest. He thinks very fast and that allows his other virtues to come through.
“Best friends? Alves, Neymar and Adriano. I get on particularly well with them. But for me, Andres Iniesta is an example.
“For how he plays and how he lives this sport. Not only for his play but as a person. He doesn’t play football, he creates art.
“Neymar is my friend, we’re always close by. Iniesta is my idol and I watch how he plays, how he moves. I like him as a person, quiet, introverted, calm.
“Neymar, though, with Alves or me, we’re warm-blooded.”