Barcelona midfielder Oriol Romeu has said that he is very excited to play in the UEFA Champions League, adding that everyone at the club is feeling very positive, especially after the recent 5-0 win over Real Betis.
Romeu, who joined Barcelona this summer from Girona, spoke to the media ahead of Barcelona’s home game against Real Antwerp in the UEFA Champions League group stage opener.
The midfielder began by saying, “I am excited, it is a stage where all the players want to be and being able to do so with a club with Barça is unbeatable,” as quoted by Mundo Deportivo.
“The feelings are very positive, we have a very good dynamic and I hope we can continue like this.”
Atmosphere is positive in the locker room
Barcelona’s luck in the Champions League over the last few years has been extremely unfortunate. However, the former Chelsea and Southampton midfielder has said that everyone at the club is feeling optimistic about the competition.
“The feeling is one of optimism, of having a good year in Europe and competing better than other years. The objective of the squad and the club is to reach the final phases and compete against top teams.
“The squad is prepared to take a step forward and tomorrow is the first litmus test and we have to prove it,” he explained.
The midfielder went on to add that at Barcelona, everyone plays to win and aspires to be the best version of themselves.
“Barça always need to win, compete and aspire to the best.
“Regardless of the moment and the season, you want to win and be as high as possible. We want to start the competition well and be leaders, and show our credentials, be protagonists and create chances and put the opponent in difficulties,” he added.
Romeu’s take on the two Joaos
Summer signings Joao Felix and Joao Cancelo have made an instant impact at Barcelona, with both of them scoring a goal in their first start.
While speaking about the duo, the defensive midfielder said that the pair was too excited to join Barcelona and everyone at the club could feel that.
“Each player contributes different and positive things. They have both adapted very well to the group. They were both very excited to come and we could feel it from the first day.
“They are two high-level players; Cancelo is a winger who has shown and adapted to the level and to our football and Felix gave a great version between the lines and has plenty of level to help us.”
Romeu’s return to the Champions League
Not many are aware of the fact that Romeu has, in fact, a UEFA Champions League winners medal to show for. This came during the 2011-12 season which was his debut campaign in English football with Chelsea.
“Many years have passed, and it has rained a lot. When you go to Southampton, to think that you will be in the Barça squad [one day] and play a leading role is difficult to imagine.
“But football takes many turns and the situation is what it is and I am happy and eager to play a good role. It is the most beautiful competition there can be for a player,” he said.
While speaking on his role at Barcelona, he added, “I carry it out in the most natural way possible, doing the things I have to do and knowing my role and adapting in the best way possible.
“I’m feeling good but I’m sure there are things I can still improve. Both at the level individually and collectively, this is the line to follow. The season is very long.
“It was a possibility to be a starter and you prepare for it. I appreciate the coach’s trust, as it makes you feel more comfortable and feel better, I hope I can continue helping the team from that position and that role. To grow with the group is the main objective of the season.”
Upon asking how it is to win the Champions League, he said, “It is one of the trophies that a player can be most excited about, there is no need to even explain it. As a child, you dream of reaching these stages and playing in these competitions.
“Seeing our idols as children and the excitement you already have, it explains everything. Motivation is not necessary because the player comes with an extra base of enthusiasm.”
Relationship with Frenkie de Jong and Gavi
Romeu has shared the starting spot with Frenkie de Jong in each of Barcelona’s five league games this season and while talking about the Dutchman, the Spaniard said that the former Ajax midfielder has been very kind to him since day one.
“Off the field, he is very good. Frenkie is an excellent guy, wonderful and very open, from the first day he has been very kind to me, like other teammates.
“On the field, he is a luxury, he is capable of breaking the line, and he always holds it or gives it to you in the best conditions. I see him as one of the best midfielders in Europe.
“He is leading the team and physically he can withstand very high rhythms. You have to make these players feel comfortable and Barça appreciate it,” he explained.
About Gavi, he said, “Gavi is a player who, for his age, is to be admired for the experience and attitude he brings to every game.
“He always orientates himself well and knows how to interpret the game. Inside the locker room, having him by your side is a pleasure. I hope he can be at this level. The competition is very high.”
Romeu’s take on the team and the veterans
Ever since Sergio Busquets departed, Barcelona have struggled to have strength in the pivot role. This season, Romeu happens to be the natural successor and the midfielder says that he is not at all worried about it.
“Pressure for not having a natural substitute, no, maybe the squad is shorter compared to other teams, maybe there is no classic pivot but there are players who can adapt excellently to this position. If the injuries respect us, the squad there is it’s very good.”
Seasoned veterans such as Roberto Lewandowski, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Sergi Roberto and Frenkie de Jong among others have a lot of experience playing in the Champions League and while speaking about their impact in the competition, he said,
“The fact of playing in the Champions League is an extra excitement and they don’t have to explain much to the young people. Listening to the anthem and seeing the teams there is a different scenario. The excitement is maximum.”
About the team and upcoming game
The midfielder lastly added that the message to the team is very simple, improve with each passing game.
“The message is easy and simple. The team is growing and improving game by game. Against Betis, it was at a very high level and the objective is to continue in that line. Antwerp has young players and we should be at a good level.”
“Above all, I know Alderweireld, who we met in England, and Janssen, the striker, they are a well-worked team that is used to winning and is going to put us in difficulties,” he concluded.