FC Barcelona announced Wednesday its first all-European preseason tour since 2003. While details have yet to be finalized, the club announced the possibility of four-to-five games being held in Spain and around the continent.
According to the club, the decision to stay local this upcoming summer revolves around the added strain the Olympics and European Championships will have on the blaugrana. Barcelona could lose more than a dozen players to both competitions, and should Spain progress to the finals of the Euros, a great chunk of Pep Guardiola’s squad will have its vacation time greatly reduced.
El Mundo Deportivo interpreted the decision as a nod and perhaps some not-so-subtle pandering to Guardiola, whose contract expires on June 30. While the board’s decision to hold Barcelona matches in lucrative markets like Japan and Indonesia would have potentially brought in roughly €6-7 million, the board ultimately decided Guardiola’s satisfaction in resting his team held more weight.
The board also concluded the announcement with a nice little thank you to the fans in far-off places who patiently await the day Lionel Messi and company some day set foot on their soil.
“FC Barcelona would like to express (its) thanks to all (its) fans around the world who have been looking forward to the team visiting and assure them that the Club remains committed to further international tours in coming years.”