They may have won the UEFA Champions League twice in three years but new signings have made "an amazing team even stronger", FC Barcelona's Xavi Hernández tells UEFA.com.
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FC Barcelona continued to set the standard last season when they were crowned European club champions for the fourth time after another impressive campaign. However, far from contenting themselves with a squad that has become the envy of world football, the Azulgrana added to their number with the summer acquisitions of Cesc Fàbregas and Alexis Sánchez, two signings Xavi Hernández described respectively to UEFA.com as "great" and "fantastic".
"The truth is that we have an amazing team and this year it is even stronger," said midfielder Xavi. "There are many players in the market but few that could have improved what Barcelona already have. Cesc and Alexis have improved the team, and so they have been welcomed; they will adapt easily because of their character, fitness, and the great team-mates around them. I am sure they will be playing very soon and they will adapt perfectly and show the class that they have shown in their teams."
Fàbregas came through Barcelona's famous La Masia academy before moving to Arsenal FC in 2003, and knows many of his new colleagues from his 60 games for Spain. Meanwhile, Xavi feels the style that earned Alexis legions of admirers for his performances at Udinese Calcio last term will help him fit in well at Camp Nou – once he has recovered from a hamstring injury sustained on Saturday.
"Cesc has no problems because he knows us from the national side. He grew up at the club, he enjoys the technical and tactical side of the game and is adapting very easily to Barcelona's style. Alexis will mix it up well too because of his deep style of play. He is skilful, can go one-on-one and will be a fantastic player for us."
With such quality in the side, competition for places is sure to intensify at Camp Nou, but as he embarks on his 13th full season with the European champions, Xavi – who turns 32 in January – does not consider the arrival of either player as a threat to his place.
"I had a rough time when people were saying that I was [Josep] Guardiola's successor and I did not enjoy my first years, it was hard for me to adapt," recalled playmaker Xavi. "Cesc needs to be Cesc – he is a winner and we have different characteristics. I don't want anyone to be my successor and have to go through that pressure. Let him have his own personality and show what a great footballer he is. We have shown with Spain – in the final of the European Championship when we both played from the start – that we are different and compatible footballers."