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Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Afellay relishing Total Football at Barca

ESPNsoccernet staff

New Barcelona signing Ibrahim Afellay believes his schooling in Dutch football will assist his adaptation at the Camp Nou.

Afellay, 24, has now completed his move from PSV Eindhoven and has been working in training with Pep Guardiola and his new team-mates.

He accepts that he is still learning but, as a Dutchman, he has an advantage in his attempts to adapt as the legendary Netherlands star Johan Cruyff laid the blueprint for the team's style of play.

"For me, 'Total Football' is the way the game is supposed to be played, and no team in the world does it better than Barcelona," he told Sport.

"My earliest memories of the club are of those Dutch players who went to Barcelona like [Ronald] Koeman and Cruyff. I didn't see them live but had the videos.

"There are also the more recent players like [Patrick] Kluivert and [Philip] Cocu, plus I also paid attention to people like Guardiola and Luis Enrique."

Afellay feels he is settling well into the squad despite his inability to speak Spanish.

"Everyone has been really nice to me from the off," he said. "Although a lot of the players don't speak English, they have tried to talk to me, and - more importantly - all the players speak the language of football.

"Iniesta is one of the best players in the world but, more significantly, he is even better as a person. He's helping me out a lot.

"Pep helped me a lot in the first training session. He's got an awareness of what I do and has been giving me advice on how to improve, which helps me to adapt quickly. Every day I feel better. I'm understanding how I should play in this team and I'm sure I'll be able to improve further."




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