BARCELONA (REUTERS) - Barcelona are looking to recapture the kind of form they hit when former coach Pep Guardiola, the club’s most successful manager, took over in 2008, midfielder Andres Iniesta said on Friday.
The Catalan club are in the process of rebuilding after they failed to win major silverware last season for the first time in six years and coach Gerard Martino has been replaced by Luis Enrique.
Players including Uruguay forward Luis Suarez and Croatia midfielder Ivan Rakitic have arrived to join the likes of Lionel Messi and Neymar and Iniesta said the players were excited about the new season starting next month.
"We want to get back to doing things well and making the fans happy,” the Spain playmaker and club captain told a news conference.
"This year will be tough but we have the goal and the ambition to repeat (the successes of) the 2008-09 season,” he added.
"We are tackling this year just like that one, with a lot of excitement.”
Iniesta said there were “some similarities” with Barca’s situation now and in 2008 when Guardiola took over from Frank Rijkaard before going on to win 14 of the 19 competitions he contested during four seasons in charge, including two Champions League crowns and three La Liga titles.
"We are starting from scratch,” Iniesta said. “There have been a lot of changes but the level of excitement and desire is extremely high.
"The goals are the same as every season: win titles and start off on a good note to help us tackle the whole year.”
Iniesta declined to offer a opinion on the ban Suarez earned for biting an opponent at the World Cup which will prevent him making his Barca debut until the end of October.
Barca lured the 27-year-old, who was banned twice previously for biting, from English Premier League club Liverpool this month for a reported fee of around 80 million euros ($108 million).
"He is one of the best forwards in the world,” Iniesta said. “For the players who make passes having a player with those characteristics is fundamental. He is a great signing for now and for the future."
Barca begin their La Liga campaign at home to Elche on the weekend of August 23 to 24.