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Fit and motivated

Captain Van Buyten ‘proud and honoured’

For the first and only time during the intense pre-season training camp in Trentino, the players were awarded an afternoon off on Thursday. Daniel van Buyten had a few thoughts of what to do with his spare time, possibly a boat trip across Lake Garda with a couple of team-mates, he explained at midday. But first, he would have the medical unit check out a niggling Achilles problem. “It's minor," he said, “I'm not 20 any more."

Van Buyten is in fact 34, making him the oldest player in the first-team squad. He is gearing up for his seventh season in FCB colours, but on the practice ground, it almost looks as though he has only just arrived at Germany's most successful club. The 1.97 m colossus is literally leading from the front, with the youngsters in the squad sometimes struggling to keep up.