Barcelona's Arthur has similar qualities to Xavi Hernandez - Rafinha
LOS ANGELES -- Arthur Melo was compared to Xavi Hernandez by teammate Rafinha after impressing on his Barcelona debut against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.
Arthur struck with a curling effort from the edge of the box as Barca drew 2-2 with the London side in the International Champions Cup, winning on penalties.
The 21-year-old played the first 45 minutes and looked at ease in his first appearance since signing from Gremio for €31 million earlier this month.
"I don't like to make comparisons usually, but he has a touch of Xavi about him," midfielder Rafinha said. "It's the way he touches the ball, the way he passes it. He's a great, great signing for Barcelona."
Coach Ernesto Valverde, who gave debuts to new signings Clement Lenglet and Malcom, was also impressed.
"Arthur's a player that we think can give us a lot of things and he's shown that today," he said at his postmatch news conference. "He's good in possession, on the ball, carrying it forward, he can get in areas to shoot.
"Both Lenglet and Arthur have had some time training with the team now. There were fewer doubts with Lenglet because he's come from La Liga, but we're working on Arthur's [adaption]. This was his first game, his debut, and he was motivated. It was a good display."
Midfielders Denis Suarez and Andre Gomes were taken off with hamstring problems and could miss the rest of Barca's tour of the U.S. with games against Roma in Dallas on Tuesday and AC Milan in San Francisco next weekend still to come.
"I liked a lot of things about the performance -- the way we tried to dominate the game, especially in the first half, and the performances of youth players," Valverde said.
"There were more positives than negatives. The negatives were just the injuries. There will be tests on Sunday but it's possible they won't finish the tour with us."