Fabregas, Guardiola gear up for Porto test
Cesc Fabregas is hoping to claim his second medal at Barcelona, less than two weeks after joining the club, when the European champions meet Porto in the UEFA Super Cup. The Monaco clash against last season's UEFA Europa League winners gives the Spain midfielder the opportunity to add to the Spanish Supercopa title he claimed after coming on as a late substitute in the fiery second-leg clash against Real Madrid.
Cynics have suggested Fabregas will struggle to find a regular place in Barça's star-studded midfield but the former Arsenal man was relaxed, and admitted playing in such a talented line-up against Madrid was enjoyable. He said: "We have not discussed my future position. I have to say I played with some outstanding players and that obviously makes my job much easier.
"They were always talking to me, telling me what movements they were making and from my part I felt very comfortable and at ease. The team has treated me extremely well and I think we are in great shape, with this team you can just fight to the bitter end and give your all knowing that everybody trusts you and that everybody works together.
"What I have found most striking in this side is that there's great humility. They have won everything but they still want to keep winning. I know 90 per cent of the players and they made it very easy for me. It's a pleasure for me to be part of this great football club and this great team, and we just want to focus on tomorrow and the rest of the season."
Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola, meanwhile, rejected suggestions that this Barça side is the best of all time. He said: "We are not unbeatable. Any team can beat us. We receive a lot of compliments because we have won 11 prizes in the last four seasons. But we have to try and forget the past. The most important match is the next one so let's try to focus and keep going and for the players to show to the world they still have desire.
"For people to want to watch us play and to switch on the TV to watch us is the best compliment we can have. I have always had ridiculously good teams. We forget that former teams won three titles, and the team before that won six titles, so to say this squad is better than other squads cannot be said. This current squad needs to prove it on the pitch. This will be decided by history. We try to do the best we can, afterwards people will be able to judge whether they like it or not."
Guardiola is certainly not underestimating Porto despite them losing star striker Radamel Falcao to Atletico Madrid. He said: "They won the league without losing a match - look at their statistics, they are impeccable. (Nicolas) Otamendi, Rolando, (Joao) Moutinho, the two wingers, Hulk, all the players are extremely valuable and can play in any major European team, but they are already playing in a very big European team in Porto."
Porto coach Vitor Pereira insisted Barcelona are the best side he had ever seen. He added: "But we are not coming here just to watch Barça play, we are here on merit after winning the Europa League last season and we are here to win the Super Cup. Of course Barça are difficult to beat, but I believe in the players I have and the game plan I have worked out which hopefully will see us win the game."
Pereira said he was unaware of any moves by Chelsea for any Porto players - the club's former manager Andre Villas-Boas is now in charge at Stamford Bridge and has reportedly made a bid for Uruguayan defender Alvaro Pereira, who is not expected to play against Barça. Joao Moutinho is also reportedly a target.
"I am the coach of Porto to maximise the team's potential," said Pereira. "These issues are beyond me. As far as I am aware there has been no contact from Chelsea for any of our players. We are friends, Andre Villas-Boas and myself. He was one of the people who contributed to us being here, but now we want to savour the moment and prove our quality."