Munir El Haddadi is La Masia’s man of the moment. The 18-year-old not only started against Elche, he capped off his dream night with a Camp Nou goal. Munir was the guest on Barça TV’s El Marcador following the match and obviously he was on could nine. “I am so proud to have scored at the Camp Nou with Messi and so many other great players around me. I’m very happy. It was a dream come true to play with them … Luis Enrique has told me to keep doing what I do, and so I’ll keep working for more chances. He tells us to work hard and get better every day. He’s a great manager.”
Despite admitting a combination of nerves and excitement had him up all night, his performance was assured and mature, not only scoring but blasting the crossbar earlier on. But the goal is what he will remember forever. “It came because if you keep losing your marker, sometimes you get there. I saw the goalkeeper was off his line and just chipped the ball.”
With the first La Liga match of the season for FC Barcelona, the players are also back to giving their post-match comments in the Zona Mixta of the Camp Nou. Dani Alves underlined that “the team has taken on board what Luis Enrique wants and that’s important for our progress. If we put it all into practice, the wins will come. Things are in our grasp, so we’re all happy.” Speaking about a young teammate who not only had his first team debut but also scored a goal, Alves noted that “we have to look after Munir because he’s got a great future ahead of him. He’s humble, but hard work is getting him what he deserves. It’s a pleasure to have him in the team.” Read on for comments from Ivan Rakitić and Marc Bartra.
The early star of the show was an old Camp Nou friend (or an omen for those suspiciously inclined folks). But when the black cat was shown the exit (the security man earning a bite for his trouble), Luis Enrique’s new look FC Barcelona comfortably beat Elche 3-0. The visitors’ defensive strategy was voided when Lionel Messi opened up his 2014/15 account and despite a late first half setback, a debut goal 49 seconds into the second half from Munir El Haddadi ended this game as a competitive affair. There is certainly praise to go around, but seeing an energetic Messi with his much missed smile is unquestionably tonight’s key takeaway.
Barcelona B’s 2014/15 Liga Adelante season began with a defeat at El Sadar against promotion contenders Osasuna. What the reserves showed on the pitch at Pamplona must have surely left coach Eusebio with plenty to ponder. The team was lackluster, lackeing the grit and determination to match the hosts’ energy. Eusebio’s side created very few chances, and was forced to play with a backline that was totally in shambles. Avoiding relegation will be a challenge this season. Read more…
totalBarça welcomes you all to the first Liga game of the season between FC Barcelona and Elche CF! Are you ready?
Sunday, August 24, 2014 @ 21:00 Barcelona time - Convert to local time
Before last season, FC Barcelona and Elche CF hadn’t played each other in nearly 25 years. But before that, they were frequent opponents for the Catalans, and not without success: Elche has beaten Barça 8 times at home, and drawn 7 out of their 20 games at Camp Nou. Read more about the history of Barcelona vs Elche encounters after the jump.
With the start of Barça’s new Liga campaign kicking off tonight against Elche, the hosts have been fortunate with Pedro Rodríguez’s inclusion in the squad list. Pedro was suffering from gastroenteritis and was a doubt for tonight’s game. However, the Brazilian wonder kid Neymar Jr has been omitted from the squad list along with many others despite progressing well from his ankle injury. Neymar joins a list of absentees that includes Marc-André Ter Stegen, Thomas Vermaelen and Adriano Correia who are injured, Luis Suárez and Gerard Piqué who are suspended, and the omitted Alexandre Song. But Luis Enrique has put his faith in the club’s youth and included Munir El Haddadi and Sandro Ramirez. Check out the full squad list for the Elche match after the jump.
The last time FC Barcelona lost on the opening day of La Liga was the 2008/9 season, when Pep Guardiola’s eventual all-conquering triplete side lost to Numancia 1-0. After that, Guardiola managed a win on the opener of his other three campaigns as did Tito Vilanova and Gerardo Martino in their debut seasons. Will Luis Enrique make it six on the trot?
The wait is finally over. FC Barcelona will today face Elche CF in their opening league game and Luis Enrique will make his first official managerial debut with the Catalan club. Much has changed since last season, with several new arrivals and goodbyes. The fans and players are as hungry as ever and are aiming to put the disappointments behind them, for the night is darkest just before the dawn.
Starting today, La Liga kicks off it’s new season, and Luis Enrique has given his final press conference ahead of Barça’s first league encounter against Elche. “It has been a great week in terms of the team dynamic and we are going into the game in the same buoyant mood as we did before the Gamper,” said the Barça boss before adding, “We know Elche will pose us problems because tactically and defensively they’re such a well-structured unit.” More from the Asturian after the jump.
August 23, 2014