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Last Updated: Friday, 17 November 2006, 06:45 GMT
Gudjohnsen's reign in Spain

By Jonathan Stevenson

Gudjohnsen swapped the blue of Chelsea for the swoosh of Barca
Gudjohnsen swapped the blue of Chelsea for the swoosh of Barca

When Football Club Barcelona come calling, there are very few players in the world who turn them down.

In July, the Catalan giants turned their attentions to an Icelandic international striker to cushion the blow of losing the talismanic Henrik Larsson.

And so it was that Eidur Gudjohnsen swapped the bustling city of London for the more laid-back climes of Catalonia.

The 28-year-old tells BBC Sport how different life in La Liga is to the Premiership.

THE DECISION

When I got the offer from Barcelona, I just immediately felt like it was the sort of opportunity I could not let go.

It is a once-in-a-lifetime chance for a footballer to play for a club like Barca and I was willing to take the chance and fight hard for my place.

The way I parted from Chelsea was perfect and the move was dealt very much with respect.

People thanked me for my time at Stamford Bridge and I really enjoyed being there, it was a great time in my footballing career and in my life, too.

THE MATCHES

I still feel a little bit that I am adjusting to the different football, but for any player it takes time no matter which club you are moving to.

La Liga is worlds apart from the Premiership, to be honest. The physical side in England is at a much higher level and the refereeing is different too.

EIDUR GUDJOHNSEN
Born: 15 Septemer, 1978, Reykjavic, Iceland
Clubs: Valur, PSV, KR, Bolton, Chelsea, Barcelona
Honours: Dutch Cup, Dutch Super Cup, Dutch League, English League Cup, Premiership (2), FA Community Shield, Spanish Super Cup

But I'd say the technical level here in Spain is a bit higher, I'm very impressed by it. I wouldn't say the league is better, but it's very different.

If you match the champions of both leagues, like when Barca played Chelsea, you won't see a great deal of difference, it's just that they play different styles of football.

There is always pressure no matter who you're playing for, but it's a slightly different pressure over here compared to Chelsea.

My goals while I am with such a club are very simple - to win as many trophies as is possible.

THE TRAINING

I don't think I had any idea until I arrived here just how good the players at the club are.

You can talk about your Ronaldinhos and your Decos and your Xavis, but the rest of the players have massively impressed me too, like Andres Iniesta - they are all so much better than you think.

As for Ronaldinho, he is truly an incredible player, I would have to say probably the best footballer of his time.

It is an amazing thing to be training with these sorts of players every day.

We're chasing trophies on three fronts and although we've had some injuries recently, I think the squad's big enough and good enough to cope.

It gives great opportunities for some players that don't play every week and injuries are just part of football, you have to deal with them.

THE MANAGERS

Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard is a very easy coach to play for. He's very easy to get on with, a relaxed person who rarely raises his voice or loses his temper.

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho (left) and Barca manager Frank Rijkaard
Gudjohnsen has enjoyed playing for both Mourinho and Rijkaard

However, he always gets over his point to the players and you can sense there is an awful lot of respect among them for him.

Frank is completely different to Jose Mourinho, but I really enjoyed playing under him at Chelsea and we had a good personal relationship.

I think the things Mourinho comes out with are just his way of dealing with the media. To the players, he is completely different in the dressing-room than he is in public.

Maybe he is trying to take the pressure off the players, but I don't know if it helps as there is always pressure - it's just the way he chooses to deal with it.

It didn't bother me at all when he talked about me going down easily in the box a couple of weeks ago before the two teams played, I didn't take any notice of it.

THE LIFESTYLE

I'm settling really well in Barcelona, it's been absolutely great up until now.

The main thing was getting my family over from England and getting the kids into school and that's all worked out very well.

In fact the only thing that's missing so far is a few more goals!

Everything is monitored very closely over here. You've got so many newspapers talking about Barcelona every day, but the difference with England is that here they only talk about the football.

It is nice that people only concentrate on the game whereas it's not quite like that in England.

Here, it is like a religion, everything is about Football Club Barcelona and everyone buys into it, it is the heartbeat of the city and of Catalonia as well.



SEE ALSO
Barcelona 2-2 Chelsea
31 Oct 06 |  Europe
Gudjohnsen to come good - Barca
31 Oct 06 |  Europe
Gudjohnsen completes Barca move
14 Jun 06 |  Chelsea


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