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Barcelona’s Pjanic hoping to kickstart Camp Nou career under ‘role model’ Xavi

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Barcelona midfielder Miralem Pjanic is hoping to kickstart his Camp Nou career after being given the opportunity to play under head coach Xavi, who he considers a “role model”.

Pjanic’s days at Barca appeared to be numbered when he was loaned to Besiktas last season, having struggled to hold down a starting spot upon arriving from Juventus in 2020.

Xavi has since replaced Ronald Koeman in the Barca managerial hotseat, however, and Pjanic appears to be part of the legendary former midfielder’s plans for the coming season.

The 32-year-old featured in the recent friendly with Olot and is part of the Catalan giants’ squad for their pre-season tour of the United States, though he did not play any minutes in Saturday’s win against Real Madrid.

Pjanic still has two years to run on his contract and is excited to work with Xavi, who enjoyed a positive first six months in charge during the second half of last season to finish second in LaLiga.

“Xavi has always been a role model of a midfielder for me,” Pjanic told reporters. “I have followed him with admiration. For me, he is one of the best midfielders of all time in the world, so working with him is very special.

“In the last two years, I have struggled with injuries, COVID-19, and went out on loan. But now it’s different. I am convinced that I can get back to my best. I’ve been working with a physical trainer this summer.”

Asked about his Barca future, Pjanic added: “I have a contract until 2024. This year we will be working with our new teacher Xavi. I hope it will be a very good season for the team and for me.”

Barcelona face Pjanic’s former club Juventus in their third pre-season outing at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas on Tuesday, before rounding off their tour of the USA against New York Red Bulls on Saturday.

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