There are few better places to get a footballing education than Barcelona.

Alexis may be one of the most complete players in Europe right now, but he says he only realised how much he had to learn about the game when he arrived at the Nou Camp in 2011.

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“I was confident about my abilities as a player, what I had to offer and what I could do [when I joined Barca],” Alexis told Arsenal Player.

“Gradually I began to realise what I was learning about football through playing at Barcelona. It’s not all about following the ball. You have to have good movement off the ball and an open distribution of players. That’s how we played then.

Alexis’ free-kick… from every angle
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“Messi would be in the middle and we would try to give him space so that he could create even more space and then breach the defence through the middle.

"It wasn’t just a question of playing football, it was also about movement, the right touch of the ball and retaining possession.

“On the counter-attack, it was about knowing when to break through and when not to. There were times when I used to break when I shouldn’t have and other times when I broke through and the ball wasn’t passed to me.

“This taught me a lot about the use of space and knowing the right moment to make a run. That’s a difficult thing to learn as a footballer.”

 

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Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source
Rob Kelly 19 Apr 2017