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Nov 20, 2012

Cesc: Spain stars can flourish at Barca

Barcelona's Cesc Fabregas has said he sees no problem for Tito Vilanova in fitting all the club's Spain international midfielders into the same starting XI.

• Blog: Can Montoya replace Alves?

So far this season, Barca coach Vilanova has been careful to rotate his starting midfield - with Fabregas, Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta stepping in and out for different games.

The former Arsenal man, who admitted earlier in the season he did not enjoy watching matches from the bench, said he was happy to be starting regularly at the moment and it was possible for all of Barca's stars to play in the same line-up.

"At Barcelona you do not play if you are not doing well," Fabregas said. "I am playing a lot, giving everything, I am motivated and I am happy with my performances. Can we all play together? Well, we won a World Cup and Euro Championship together. I do not see a problem. But Tito is the one who must decide. We have players who can come in and refresh the team and it always goes well."

Vilanova's decision for this game may be to move Iniesta into a wide attacking role, to replace the injured Alexis Sanchez, or he may give David Villa a first European start of the season alongside Lionel Messi in attack. Supposed first choice back four of Dani Alves, Carles Puyol, Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba look likely to line-up together for only the second time.

Fabregas, who joked that the Russian border official who detained him at the airport for two hours due to a visa problem on Sunday must have been a Real Madrid fan, said that Puyol's return would help with the team's mentality.

"We consider him vital, he is the captain," the midfielder said. "He never accepts he is beaten, he always wants to improve."

Barca have never lost in Russia, but have drawn on five of their six visits, with the only win coming back in 2002-03 at Lokomotiv Moscow. Fabregas said that neither the cold nor the artificial surface at the Stadion Luzhniki could be used an excuse if they did not win this time and secure qualification for the knock-out stages with one game remaining.

"The artificial grass and the cold will be neither a problem or an excuse," he said. "Teams in the Champions League are always dangerous. And in Russia it always takes a lot. It will be a difficult game, but we want to win. We always play the same way and we will have to adapt to whatever they do."

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