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Oriol Romeu: “One of the most exciting times in my career”

Photo credit: IANS.
Photo credit: IANS.

Barcelona unveiled new signing Oriol Romeu in Los Angeles on Friday. At his presentation, the player reflected on time passed and the time to come.

Having been around Europe for the better part of 10 years, Oriol Romeu returned home to Barcelona, following an excellent stint at fellow LaLiga Hypermotion-side Girona.

He joined after Barcelona paid Girona his full release clause, as confirmed by football director Mateu Alemany, and rejoins the very same club he left in 2011.

When he left, the midfield had the likes of Sergio Busquets, Xavi and Iniesta in its roster, and now, 12 years later, Busquets has left the club, Iniesta is a free agent having left Vissel Kobe, and Xavi heads the helm at the Catalan club.

The scenery has changed, but Oriol has no doubt about his objectives at the club: compete for everything, and play entertaining football at the highest level.

Here is what the 31-year-old midfielder had to say at his unveiling, in which he touched on multiple topics: the prospect of being Sergio Busquets’ replacement, his role and objectives, Xavi’s involvement in the deal, and how it feels to be back home after leaving Girona.

Here is what he had to say:

“I want to reemphasize the excitement that I feel. It’s one of the most exciting times of my career. I want to reach the objectives and help the team, both at a techinical and a personal level. Força Barça,” Oriol began.

On how he feels about returning home

The emotions and feelings are very good. After many years of moving around, having the opportunity to return home is immensely exciting.”

On what he can offer

“I think I can be a positional pivot and that players further up the pitch can feel safe. My strong suit is my physicality, but I continue to learn how to pass the ball out and how to keep play flowing. I’m sure that with the coach’s help, I’ll improve.”

On his experience

“I’ve learned a lot in the places I’ve been. I feel ready for the time to come and ready to perform at a high level. Now, when the season starts, I’ll show that on the pitch.”

On his objectives

“They will always be to win all the competitions. On a personal level, I want to play the highest amount of minutes possible and grow with my teammates. We want to succeed as much as possible. In the last few days, I’ve seen the warm group [the club has].”

On his role

“[We], the players, have to understand how we [all] play, and I feel able to help [us] going forward in the best way possible.”

“Xavi is an icon to me and anyone who loves football. He called me when I was on vacation and told me he’d spoken with the staff so I could be the one to fill that role. The excitement of having Xavi call me and think about me [coming to FCB]… I can’t ask for much more than that.”

On whether he feels pressured to fill the boots of an icon in Sergio Busquets

“The pressure is always there. When you’re at a club like this, you have to fulfill that [pressure] and we live that on a daily basis.”

“Busi was the best and trying to have his composure with the ball, being able to filter out [the right options], the awareness… There are a lot of things you have to try to learn without losing his essence.”

On how he left Girona

“There was a situation… Girona didn’t want me to leave but they understood my position. Without them, I wouldn’t have been here. The season we just had was very good. I’m sure that Girona will continue to grow and on a personal level I’m eternally grateful to them.”

“Girona didn’t want me to leave but they understood my position. Without them, I wouldn’t have been here. We just had a very good season. I’m sure Girona will continue to grow and on a personal level I’m eternally grateful to them.”

“I’m optimistic, and I had some very good years in England, and I knew that I wanted a step forward. I went to Girona to go back to playing the football that I like to play. I wanted to return to a big [club] and that was achieved thanks to the great season [we just had].”

“The season we just had at Girona helped me prove that I can play with this ambition of dominating games. The impact that Michel [Girona’s coach] had on me, helped me and gave me the opportunity of Xavi noticing me and wanting to bring me back [home].”

Oriol has been at three clubs in LaLiga including Barcelona, having also had stints at Valencia and more recently in Girona. He also played briefly for Stuttgart, as well as English sides Chelsea and Southampton.

h/t Mundo Deportivo