Cesc Fàbregas needed little introduction to his new team-mates when he returned at FC Barcelona from Arsenal FC, but that has not diminished excitement ahead of his first big trip with the side.
It is less than a fortnight since the Spain midfielder made his long-awaited €35m return to the Camp Nou. It took all of 48 hours to collect his first silverware for the club, coming on as a substitute in the second leg of Barcelona's Spanish Super Cup victory over Real Madrid CF. Now a meeting with FC Porto in Monaco on Friday is all that separates him from UEFA Super Cup success – not a bad start for a player who did not win a title in his last six seasons in north London.
I came to Barça to get better, to compete and obviously to win titles," he said on the eve of the game. "It's down to the achievement of last year's side but I'm lucky enough to be part of this team now and would like to thank my fellow players for their magnificent season last year.
"Hopefully we'll be run out winners. We're in good shape and with this team you give your all and fight to the end. It's important everyone trusts each other, but I've also noticed that there's great humility in this side."
That self-effacement seldom brings reward to opposing sides, but it has helped Fàbregas settle in immediately. Of course, his six years as an academy player at La Masia up to 2003 meant he was no stranger to the club.
"I knew 90% of the players and that made it very easy for me," he said. "It's a pleasure to be part of this great club and this great team. [Against Real Madrid] they were constantly talking to me, telling me what movements they were making; I immediately felt comfortable, at ease."
It is almost as if Fàbregas never left, though he betrayed affections when conversation turns to Arsenal, and his delight after "we" went through to the UEFA Champions League group stage. A question about Porto's attributes retrained his thoughts.
"They are similar to us and like to keep the ball," he said. "[In last season's UEFA Europa League semi-finals] against Villarreal, one of the best teams in Spain, they scored [seven] goals. They can do some serious damage if you make a mistake." Barcelona do not make many.
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