Before Barcelona's first training session in Ann Arbor on Thursday, Brazilian midfielder Arthur Melo spoke to the media in the United States about, among other subjects, Philippe Coutinho, Neymar and the team's objectives for the new season.
Signing Neymar. "I don't speak to him about his future because I don't want to annoy him too much. Everyone asks him about that and I speak with him about a lot of other things. I don't know if he will come or not, but here we are. Let's see what happens. I think me, the fans, the players and the team would want him back because he's an amazing player. I really like playing with him for Brazil and I hope I can enjoy [playing with him] here, too."
Neymar's decision. "I don't know if he does [have to speak out]. He has to speak with his family. He has to do what he wants to do. As his friend, I wish him the best. I don't have much more to say about it. ".
Coutinho's future. "It's his choice. He has to speak with his family, he has to be happy [here] to stay [here]. I think he's happy. My desire is for him to stay because he's a top player and a great friend, too. He's been happy. He's working hard, as we all are, and I think he has everything [needed] to stay here and to help us a lot."
Midfield competition. "Any player that plays in midfield for Barcelona has quality. We have so many players of quality, not just in the middle, but all over the pitch. Whatever choice the coach makes, I think it will be a good one."
Physical adaption. "It's true I had some problems last season, but that's why I've come back early, to work on the physical side of my game. Last season I made some mistakes, physically I could have been a little better, but this season I am much better than last season."
Season objectives. "My first season was really good. I had to adapt a little bit, but I am adapted now and I have to try more and work more, work harder this season. I'm more involved with the team. I think this season's going to be a long one but I'm ready for it."
Personal and group objectives. "On a personal level, I want to keep improving that side of my game and on a collective level, I want to win as many titles as possible. We know it's difficult, but we're here to fight for every trophy."
Early return to training. "I cut my holiday short. I spoke with my family and we decided to return to Barcelona together early. That way I could get back in training sooner and it's meant I'm in good shape to play these friendlies in the U.S."
Copa America success. "I think winning it has given me a lot of confidence. We played against a lot of quality national teams. We came out of it as champions. For me, it's given me a lot of confidence."