Barcelona returned to the Champions League in style last night, beating Viktoria Plzen 5-1 in their first group stage match. The atmosphere was buoyant at Camp Nou and the club is almost unrecognisable from the same stage last season.
There were some signs of defensive looseness from Barcelona, which may concern Xavi Hernandez. The only other sour note was the fact that Sergi Roberto was withdrawn from the action at half-time with a thigh problem.
Speaking to Diario AS after the match however, the captain on the night declared that it was not to be worried about.
“I had some discomfort in my adductor but they have told me it is nothing serious. Tomorrow we will look at it but it is not concerning.”
Roberto was injured for almost all of last season and in his absence, there were some who questioned his usefulness to a team seeking to turn over a new leaf this season. He addressed the matter when asked about it.
“I have always been professional, putting the club and the team first. In the end things came out that are not true. I kept myself away from it, I respect [people’s] opinions. This is a club with a lot of responsibility. I am always here to add what the manager or the club needs.”
“Last year was very difficult for me with the operation. I am here to work, return the trust and I am very excited for this season. The fans look excited to me.”
Now 30, the match against Plzen was Roberto’s first start of the season. However the minutes he has been given have been good so far and as one of the two more natural right-back options, he will be hoping for more minutes.