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Shaq is back

Swiss ace: It's great to be playing again

Last Tuesday, just under a week after the first group of players officially reported back to Munich for duty, Xherdan Shaqiri joined in the preparations for the new season. The 21-year-old had represented Switzerland in a 1-0 World Cup qualifying victory over Cyprus on 8 June, after which his well-deserved three-week summer break kicked in.

But Shaq is now back and raring to go into the new campaign. That much was obvious in FCB's 13-0 victory over the Paulaner Dream Team in Friday evening's gentle warm-up match. Shortly after coming on as a second-half substitute, the Swiss ace struck on 53 and 60 minutes, before completing a hat-trick four minutes from the end.

“It was my first friendly match after vacation, and we all had a lot of fun. I was particularly keen to be playing again at last, and I think it was obvious to everyone watching," Shaqiri said after the Saturday morning training session in Trentino. It was the wide player’s sixth workout under Pep Guardiola, and the starlet is making no secret of his joy at playing for the new coach.