Madrid, Aug 24 (IANS) Reigning Spanish League and Cup Champions FC Barcelona have kicked off the football season in an impressive style with a 5-0 aggregate win over Sevilla in the Spanish Supercup and a 6-2 thrashing of Betis to open their defence of the La Liga title.
The summer has seen the club add depth with the signing of Andre Gomez, Denis Suarez, Lucas Digne and Samuel Umtiti and although Barca are still looking to add a fourth forward to their squad, central defender Gerard Pique is optimistic.
“The squad this year has got a very high level,” he said in an interview with sports paper, Marca on Tuesday.
“It is hard to compare squads because players pass through different moments of form, so I can’t say if this is the best squad we have ever had, but I am certain it is very competitive and we are going to try to win titles as we have done in recent years.’
One player who will not be with Barca this season is goalkeeper, Claudio Bravo, who is putting the finishing touches to a move to Manchester City, with Ajax keeper Jasper Cillessen lined up as his replacement.
“That’s a decision the club has taken with the aim of having a more competitive squad. If they have decided on that it is because they think it is the best option for the goal,” said Pique.
Looking at targets for the new season, Pique admitted that although the Champions League was “very important” for Barca because it carries more prestige, “we have won a league and cup double for the past two years and that is very important because we have shown we are the best side in Spain by a long way.”
“You don’t win the double in consecutive seasons very often and it shows that we are the team to beat,” he insisted.
Pique also looked at the English Premier League saying that although Pep Guardiola is now at Manchester City, he would “always” support his former club, Manchester United.