Martino says Fabregas not for sale

Updated: 2013-07-28 08:27

By Agence France-Presse in Barcelona(China Daily)

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Gerardo Martino, officially unveiled as Barcelona's new manager on Friday, wasted no time in telling Manchester United that Cesc Fabregas was not for sale.

On Thursday, United boss David Moyes revealed that the English champion's attempts to sign the former Arsenal captain were "ongoing" after two reported bids, one of 30 million pounds ($38 million) had been rejected.

Martino, asked about Fabregas at a Nou Camp media conference, didn't mince words.

"If the club has signaled its refusal twice, then I signal it a third time - and so he (Fabregas) will be staying here."

Barca vice-president Josep Maria Bartolomeu confirmed: "We are not thinking of selling Cesc.

"That United is showing interest in Cesc is normal, because he's a great player.

"That doesn't upset us, that makes us proud that they want one of our players.

"But whatever the offer, we won't be selling him. We are relying on him."

Martino laid out his ambitions for his new team, declaring that he wanted Barca to concentrate on the dazzling style of play that has made the Catalan side great in the past.

The 50-year-old has joined Barca on a two year contract, replacing Tito Vilanova, who stood down last Friday to pursue treatment for cancer.

Speaking about his aims Martino said: "Every side, even Barcelona which has already achieved certain moments of excellence, can always improve, and Barcelona still has things to win.

"To continue to retain a high standard of play in order to keep winning, that's one of the questions.

"There is something with Barcelona that we've become used to and which has I could say dazzled us, at any rate which has struck us, that is the ability to know how to press forward and then quickly recuperate the ball.

"That is perhaps one of the characteristics that we are most interested in rediscovering so that Barca is a team that feels at ease attacking and which defends far from its box."

Martino continued: "Every team, even Barcelona which has already attained certain moments of excellence, can always improve, and Barca still has things to win."

Turning to Barca's star player Lionel Messi, the Argentine said: "He will continue to play in exactly the same position. He has to feel comfortable, after that he'll do the rest."

Martino stressed he had no intention of changing Barca's 4-3-3 format.

(China Daily 07/28/2013 page7)