Barca can win trophies despite transfer ban, says Andres Iniesta
Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta is confident that despite their transfer ban the team has the depth to win trophies as they start the new year with a trip to face Real Sociedad on Sunday hoping to keep the pressure on La Liga leaders Real Madrid.
The Catalan club will be unable to reinforce their squad in the following two transfer windows as their appeal against a FIFA sanction over the transfer of foreign Under-18 players was rejected by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), this week.
The decision is likely to cause most concern for Barca’s defence where they have continued to look weak despite making several signings ahead of the season.
In particular, there is a lack of cover at right back for Dani Alves who himself has received plenty of criticism for below par displays.
Still, Barca are only a point off an imperious Real who have played a game less and take on Valencia this Sunday looking for their 23rd straight win in official matches.
"It is not even crossing our minds the idea of not winning anything this season," Iniesta told reporters.
"The squad that we have has sufficient quality to win trophies and the important thing is to believe in ourselves and that we can keep improving so as to reach our maximum.
"I don’t know the full legal details (of the CAS verdict) but having come through the La Masia (Barcelona youth system) myself, I think that the opportunity that it gives to youngsters not only on a footballing level but also personal, is very high.
"We cannot sign now and that is obviously a handicap but we need to concentrate on this season with the players we have and look to win."
Iniesta believes that the team is on the right course while he also has not ruled out the title chances of third-placed Atletico Madrid, who face Levante on Saturday.
"They (Real) won a lot of trophies last year and they will be in the fight. All teams go through ups and downs and while Real are doing well now we are making good progress," he said.
"Atletico though are the reigning league champions and it is our job to take the trophy from them. They have done well for several seasons and we know that they will be challenging."