EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW - Arthur: Barcelona believe in me

Barcelona's next signing speaks to SPORT about the future

¿Qué tipo de futbolista es Arthur? El análisis definitivo | ZETA MEDIA LAB

In March you told us that you were watching Barca games, including on your phone in the team coach, are you still watching?

Yes, yes. I have watched the games since then regularly. It’s great to see how they play. The style was one of the reasons I accepted my future being at Barcelona. I think my way of playing will help me adapt.

What did you think about the Copa del Rey final?

It was a spectacle, it was fantastic. It was a fantastic game! To see Barcelona dominate, the speed they circulate the ball, what Messi is capable of doing in the final metres. It was fascinating. It’s a unique spectacle.

And Barcelona played that day a type of football that suits you…

Yes, for sure. I like teams that keep the ball and know how to work it. That’s my way of understanding football and how I try to play. When the moment comes I think I will adapt to Barca’s style because it’s mine.

The game came after the Roma UCL elimination…

It was sad, but we can’t take the credit away from Roma, who played very well in that game, they are things that happen.

Then came the double.

To win two titles of this importance in a season is very difficult. I had the luck of winning four title with Gremio and I know how hard it was to win each one. I hope to be able to keep winning and help adding more titles.

Some say Barca are working out whether or not to bring you in in July, what do you think?

I don’t get into that much because from the start of the negotiations I leave everything in the hands of my representative and my family, who can solve it all, along with Gremio. When it has to happen, it will happen. Barca are confident in me and I’m happy for that. They called to keep me calm.

Barca phoned your agent and your family.

They calmed everyone down, everything is on a good path. It’s a dream to play for a club of the greatness of Barcelona. I’m sure it will all go well and I will be even happier than I am right now.

Your idol Iniesta is leaving at the end of the season.

I’m sad. I started to learn football in a new way, watching Iniesta play with Barca. He was an example to follow for me, someone that from a distance, has become a reference point. On the other hand we have to see that he leaves Barca with his head held high, having brought so many titles to the club. His career has been impressive, I hope everything goes well for him in China.

You won’t have the chance to play with him.

That’s why I’m so sad. I hoped to be able to share a dressing room with him. It was a dream to be in the same team, but if God wants, we will meet at a later date, playing or not, and I can give him a hug.

In all your 2018 matches you have a 94 per cent pass accuracy…

It’s my main characteristic. Since forever I have taken care over that aspect of play. I stay working after training. I demand a lot from myself in prep sessions and when I make some kind of error in games I get furious. I’m happy to be able to keep that accuracy percentage.

What is different in the 2018 version of Arthur to the 2017 version who won the Copa Libertadores and delighted Barca’s staff…

I’m getting in the box more, I have more goals in two months than the whole of last season. One has to keep evolving and one of the aspects I’m trying to improve is shooting at the opposition goal.

That’s something you picked out or your coach Renato Portaluppi?

A bit of everything. The coach has always given me good advice and speaks openly about how I must improve. I humbly lower my head and listen to what he has to tell me, because I know that is best for me. He’s the coach who believed in me, who gave me the chance to start and I owe him everything.

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