Luis Enrique and Jordi Alba faced the media ahead of Barcelona’s first game of the Champions League, against Roma in the Italian capital on Wednesday.

Luis Enrique explained: “Favourites? That has to be demonstrated out on the field, and that is tough. When the ball starts to move there are no champions, no favourites, just 32 teams who all want to win.”

“At the start of the season we have been playing really well. Coaches and players always try to repeat good performances. We are always looking to be better. The Super Cups that we have played for what we did last season, we accept that, but we have been competing at a high level since August. I would have preferred a less demanding calendar.”

“Messi is the best player I have ever coached. Not just the best player in the world for me, the best in history.”

“The Joan Gamper Trophy game is not a reference point because it was pre-season, there was not that intensity and Roma have added players since then. I expect a Roma side similar to the one that played against Juventus in their second game of the season. A Roma that pressures, plays with the ball and creates chances and that was better than Juventus.”

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“The objective of winning the second consecutive Champions League is not added pressure, it’s a marvelous stimulus for the fans and the team. We will try but it is not added pressure, quite the opposite. If we were favourites for having won the league, we are also favourites for having won the Champions League. You have to show it out on the field and here is the difficulty. When the ball is in motion there are no champions, no favourites, just 32 teams who all want to be champions.”

Jordi Alba was keen to show his ambitious nature in front of the world’s media: “It’s important to win the first game. We are the holders and we want to keep winning, even though we know it will be difficult at Roma”

“A club like Barça is always motivated. No-one has ever done it, but neither should we obsess over it. We know it will be difficult to win everything again but we will try.”

“The Gamper match is not a reference point, it has nothing to do with the Champions League game. They are playing at home and they will be stronger at home in front of their own fans.”

“When Messi is on the field, everything changes in FC Barcelona’s favour. He is five steps above the rest.”

Have Your Say
Do you expect Barcelona to win in Italy against Roma? Has Jordi Alba performed as well as you expected since joining Barcelona?