Fabregas eyes golden start with Barcelona

Updated: 26 August 2011 12:40 IST

Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas is looking forward to a trophy-laden season with his new club and says that his teammates remain as motivated as ever as the Spanish season gets underway this weekend.

Fabregas eyes golden start with Barcelona

Barcelona:

Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas is looking forward to a trophy-laden season with his new club and says that his teammates remain as motivated as ever as the Spanish season gets underway this weekend.

Fabregas returned to his hometown club this summer from Arsenal and after coming on for the final minutes last week as Barcelona beat Real Madrid in the domestic Super Cup he is now keen to win more medals.

Barcelona are aiming for their fourth consecutive league championship and begin their title defence against Villarreal on Monday.

The season will finally get underway after a dispute by the players union (AFE) and the football league (LFP) over the size of a fund to protect unpaid players led to a strike last weekend.

"I learnt from my first day here that we can go very far because we have the desire and everyone fights for each other and this has been a pleasant surprise," said Fabregas.

"Thanks to my teammates we had a magnificent season last year and now I can form part of this. My friends and family are very happy that I am back here and now hopefully I can improve as a player and win trophies."

If Barcelona do win the league this year then it will be a special achievement for coach Pep Guardiola as it means that he will have equalled the four straight league titles which his mentor Johan Cruyff won in the early 1990s as coach of a side in which Guardiola was an integral part.

However, Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho, in his second season at the club, is desperate to win the championship with pressure already mounting on him.

The physical approach of his side when they have played Barca has led to criticism but the players and the fans are still behind him.

"Mourinho has the full confidence of this team. He is in charge of the group and we are ready to do as he asks and it will always be that way," said defender Sergio Ramos.

It is set to be another two-horse race and the gap with the rest in Spain could grow with Barcelona having strengthened with notably Fabregas and Alexis Sanchez while Real's main signings have been in defence and midfield including Fabio Coentrao and Nuri Sahin.

Valencia, who face Racing Santander this weekend, finished third but while they have brought in highly-rated keeper Diego Alves and youngster Sergio Canales from Real, they have lost a key player in Juan Mata to Chelsea.

It will be an interesting clash between Sevilla and Malaga, who have invested heavily over the last year and now have a side that is well capable of a top four finish with Ruud van Nistelrooy leading the attack.

It was very tight at the bottom of the table last spring with half the teams in the league in danger of relegation going into the final weeks and it could well be equally as close this season.

Zaragoza, who survived by the skin of their teeth, have a difficult opening game against Real Madrid.

Real Betis are the best prepared of the promoted sides and they face fellow newcomers Granada on Saturday while Rayo Vallecano have a tricky away match against Athletic Bilbao.

Saturday

Sporting Gijon v Real Sociedad, Valencia v Racing Santander, Granada v Real Betis

Sunday

Atletico Madrid v Osasuna, Athletic Bilbao v Rayo Vallecano, Mallorca v Espanyol, Getafe v Levante, Zaragoza v Real Madrid, Sevilla v Malaga

Monday

Barcelona v Villarreal

Topics : Football Real Madrid Barcelona Francesc Fabregas
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