Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez heaped praise on new signing Jules Kounde after the defender made his debut in a 4-0 win over Real Valladolid on Sunday, describing the Frenchman as “a player who can mark an era at Barca”.
Kounde arrived at Camp Nou from Sevilla at the start of August in a deal worth a reported £42 million, after turning down interest from Premier League suitors Chelsea.
However, the 23-year-old had to be patient before pulling on the famous red and blue stripes for the first time, as he was only registered in Xavi’s squad on Friday due to financial issues involving the La Liga salary cap.
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Kounde finally made his debut against Valladolid and impressed at right-back as the Catalans kept a clean sheet.
"When we talk about Kounde, we're speaking about a player that can mark an era at Barca,” Xavi said.
“He can do everything, play out from the back, has personality, leadership, can play in any defensive position. We've made a great signing."
Although Xavi picked Kounde out for praise, it was another Barca new boy who stole the headlines once again, striker Robert Lewandowski.
The Poland international, who arrived in Catalonia from Bayern Munich this summer, scored his second brace in a row, including a clever back-heel finish into the bottom corner.
Lewandowski’s haul of four goals in his first three La Liga appearances is the most of any player since Radamel Falcao for Atletico Madrid in 2011, and the most of any Barca player in the 21st century.
"I think Lewandoski is an extraordinary player. He is a natural leader and a born worker. He is an example for the squad,” Xavi said.
He added: “Apart from the goals, I want to highlight Lewandowski's timing. He has the ball and protects it often.”
Barcelona face Sevilla away next on Saturday, before kicking off their Champions League campaign at home to Viktoria Plzen on 7 September.
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