Araujo, Pedri, Ansu, Gavi and Balde tell SPORT their wishes for 2023

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Barcelona's youngsters hope this will be the year they win more trophies

In a matter of months, the story at Barcelona has taken a turn. From talking about reconstruction and playing success down (and legacies from the past) to recognising the need to win titles. The strong investment this past summer requires raising the bar in 2023.

Three factors contribute to that demand: the first, the arrival of differential signings; the second, Xavi's familiarity with the Barça job; and the third, the experience of the youngest players in the squad, who are adding more and more games in the elite to their CVs.

Eliminated from the Champions League, the great challenge is LaLiga, where despite the unexpected setback in the derby, Barça continue to lead the way, albeit tied on points with Real Madrid.

No one at the club hides it anymore: winning LaLiga would give the project the necessary impetus to continue growing. Barça are also competing for the Copa del Rey, the Super Cup and the Europa League, where Manchester United, a Champions League-levl rival for Europe's second competition, await them.

Araujo, Balde, Ansu, Pedri, Gavi, Ferran Torres and Eric Garcia are the first to use the word trophy when asked about their wishes for 2023 by SPORT.

“A wish? Being able to win many trophies in the Barça shirt”, says Ronald Araujo. The Uruguayan central defender has recovered from his injury and is waiting to get minutes again. Against Espanyol, he was called up but did not come off the bench in the end.

Araujo has to be one of the defensive pillars of the team in 2023. It became clear when he was available: he can form, together with Jules Koundé, one of the best center-back pairings in the world.

Ansu Fati, meanwhile, also imagines a year with trophies and, also among his wishes, that injuries respect him after several seasons with painful mishaps that have slowed down a brilliant career.

"May 2023 bring us all a lot of health and another trophy to celebrate with our fans," he says.

'Compete' is another of the words that the players repeat the most. After several seasons in which Barça have lost their status in the game, the club needs to recover the sensation of being a big team.

Pedri makes it clear: "In 2023, I want to keep enjoying myself on the pitch and for the team to keep growing and competing better all the time."

The Spain midfielder has established himself as one of the team's benchmarks. He has become an essential player for Xavi in midfield.

Gavi, the youngest of the youngsters on the squad, is just 18 years old.

"I hope 2023 is a great year for everyone and I can celebrate my first trophy with the first team," he says.

The latest to arrive in the first team, Alejandro Balde, also a youth team player by registration still, is still on a cloud after becoming an important player in the first team and debuting at the World Cup with the Spain national team.

"My desire is to continue learning alongside the best players in the world and consolidate myself in the first team," Balde tells SPORT.

The youngsters on the squad highlight the link with the fans, who have embraced the generational change and have high hopes for this core of footballers between the ages of 18 and 23.

"I hope the fans are proud of how their team plays and competes," said Eric Garcia.

Ferran Torres is on the same line: "Here's to a 2023 with many magical nights at Camp Nou with our fans."

It was not the case in the Catalan derby as Barça closed 2022 with more shadows than lights. This year, they are convinced it will be a different story. The Barça youth club wants to start building its own history.

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