The Joan Gamper Cup is a one-off friendly held annually to remember and commemorate the first president of FC Barcelona. Historically it’s played at the end of August, but with recent success of the team, it was sandwiched between a Spanish Super Cup double-header or not far from the UEFA Super Cup. As a result Barça would field a reserve side.
So this year it’s been brought forward and possibly prudently this will be the norm going forward. The date has been set for August 2, 2013, but no official opponent. Rumors are it will be Santos. That date has it being played before the pre-season tour east of Barcelona. Pre-season dates in case you missed them after the jump.
Those of you suffering from Barça withdrawal, the end is in sight! The club on Wednesday officially announced that the first friendly of the pre-season will be played on July 20 in Poland against local team Lechia Gdansk at the PGE Arena. This will be the first of a series of warmup matches, including a visit to an old friend in Munich on July 24, and trips to Oslo (July 27), Bangkok (August 7) and Kuala Lumpur (August 10).
La Liga officially gets underway on August 17 with the Supercopa tie against Atlético starting a week later on the weekend of August 24. This seems like an eternity to wait, but the new season will be upon us in a flash!
FC Barcelona’s summer plans continue to take shape. Following the game with Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich in Germany on July 24th, the Blaugrana will also play three matches in Asia this summer. The team’s first stop will be China on August 3rd, followed by games in Thailand on August 7 and Malaysia on August 10. The opponents for the three matches have not yet been announced.
The first preseason game for the 2013-14 season has been announced. FC Barcelona will play a friendly match at the Allianz Arena in Munich against Bayern Munich, on Wednesday, the 24th of July. Both clubs began discussing the possibility of a match months ago, and on Wednesday the game was officially announced during the ECA General Assembly (European Club Association), currently meeting in Doha, Qatar. The match will be a friendly for charity, therefore all of the proceeds generated by the match will go to social programs.
Although typically taking place before the start of the season, the Trofeu Joan Gamper’s 2012 edition will feature an FC Barcelona side fresh off an emphatic 5-1 La Liga debut over Real Sociedad barely 24 hours after the final whistle.
For the third time in as many years, the one-off match will feature an Italian opponent (AC Milan 2010, Napoli 2011), this time in the form of Sampdoria, the team over which Johan Cruyff led Barcelona to its first ever European title to back in 1992. Twenty years later, Tito Vilanova’s Barça is fresh off a pretty decent preseason that saw the likes of a Lionel Messi hat trick against Raja Athletic and some fine penalty shootout saves from Jose Manuel Pinto, who should start in net today.
The preseason is over, and in short the good news is FC Barcelona did not suffer a defeat despite some tough opposition in Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain. But what else happened? Catalan daily sports paper Sport put together the top 10 stories, positive and negative, from the 2012 preseason. After the jump is a summary of Sport’s 10 notable moments.
After an afternoon off in Sweden, FC Barcelona’s first team returned to training on Friday morning at the Gamla Ullevi stadium, beginning at 11. Tito Vilanova led the session with all his players present except for Carles Puyol, who did specific work at the hotel’s gym to help recover from some trouble with his right thigh. Dani Alves, who trained apart on Thursday with a bruised right heel, trained normally with the group this morning in Gothenburg.
On Thursday, FC Barcelona’s first team trained in Gothenburg with all the available players present except for Alves, who did specific work to recover from a bruised right heel. The progress of the Brazilian player, whose heel was hurt during the friendly against Manchester United, will determine his availability for the last match of the preseason against Dinamo Bucarest.
The blaugranes, who will remain in Sweden until Friday, held their training session at the Gamla Ullevi stadium. Jordi Alba trained for the first time under the orders of Tito Vilanova today, after joining the first team on Wednesday, and making his debut in the blaugrana kit during the friendly against Manchester United. Andoni Zubizarreta watched the session.
Plenty has changed since the 2011 Champions League Final clash between Pep Guardiola’s FC Barcelona and Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United. Both created sensational ripples in their fan bases with purchases of high quality players and promotions of true-blooded academy cadets. Both took part in a friendly in August 2011, with Ferguson’s men narrowly grabbing the win in a hot and sticky American summer afternoon. Both teams put up valiant fights throughout the last two seasons, attaining a significant amount of glory and silverware. Both teams stumbled off their continental perches to see their league crowns narrowly swiped from under their noses by cunning adversaries. But many will agree that these are still the two best teams in club football today.
Barça will enter the final phase of the preseason with two friendly matches against Manchester United, Wednesday in Gothenburg, and Dinamo de Bucarest, Saturday in the Romanian capital. Following training on Tuesday, the coaching staff announced the list of 24 players that will participate in the ‘mini-tour’.
FC Barcelona’s first team returned to training this Monday morning after a day off on Sunday. Tito Vilanova’s team worked on pitch no. 3 of the Ciutat Esportiva with Adriano present and able to train with the group for part of the session. The Brazilian player sprained his ankle during Thursday’s training session and was unable to travel on Saturday to play in the squad’s third friendly of the preseason, against París Saint-Germain. Jonathan dos Santos spent this morning’s session in the gym, doing specific recovery work.
After the game against Paris Saint-Germain, Tito Vilanova shared his thoughts about the clash, the preseason, and some important events that have occurred so far, such as the return of captain Carles Puyol.
According to Barça’s official website, Tito said regarding the preseason’s rhythm that “I prefer a tough preseason, so that we quickly get up to the level we need to be at.”
During today’s final session of the week on pitch no. 3 of the Ciutat Esportiva, two of the three blaugranes who took part in this summer’s Olympic Games -Martín Montoya and Cristian Tello- were back in training after arriving in Barcelona on Thursday. The third, Jordi Alba, following Tito Vilanova’s instructions, will join the group next Wednesday, the 8th of August.
Jordi Alba has arrived at the Ciutat Esportiva this Thursday afternoon, after the team had finished with their second training session of the day. The new blaugrana player greeted his new teammates and seized the opportunity to meet with Tito Vilanova. The coach has prioritized rest for the player and, although Alba volunteered to return immediately to work, the coach gave him rest until Wednesday, August 8, coinciding with the team’s trip to Gothenburg to face Manchester United. This means that after playing in the European Cup and Olympic Games, Barça’s new signing will be able to enjoy a few days of rest.
Barça trained this Thursday morning with Jonathan Dos Santos absent after the midfielder pulled the quadriceps of his right leg. The player did not train with the group and instead did specific recovery work. Without him, training on the pitch of the Ciutat Esportiva were 18 footballers from the first team and two from the reserves, Sergi Roberto and Oier.
Preparations continue for Barça’s first team. Unlike Tuesday, when the team held two training sessions in the morning and afternoon, this Wednesday there was just one session for the blaugrana, at 9 in the morning at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper. Vilanova was able to work with the 19 available footballers from the first team and four from the reserves: Oier, Sergi Roberto, Planas, and Rafinha.
The players of the first team held their second training session of the day this afternoon, with the same intensity and good atmosphere that has marked each session since the preseason began. Gathering in the center of the pitch, the session started with smiles and congratulations for David Villa, who received his medical clearance, and Javier Mascherano, who renewed his contract with the Club through 2016.
FC Barcelona’s preseason continues. After the seven Spanish internationals were incorporated into the group on Monday, this morning Tito Vilanova continued to work with almost his entire squad available, with only Jordi Alba and Martín Montoya missing as they take part in the Olympic Games. In total, 19 players from the first team and two reserve players (Oier and Sergi Roberto) took part in this morning’s training session. Among the 21 footballers were David Villa and Andreu Fontàs, who continue training with the group although they have not yet received their medical clearances.
Barça’s first team has returned to training this Monday afternoon with the addition of seven players who won the European Championship with Spain who rejoin the group after their holidays. Valdés, Piqué, Cesc, Xavi, Iniesta, Sergio Busquets, and Pedro worked with the rest of the team in their first session under new head coach Tito Vilanova. The players underwent various medical tests this morning, along with Carles Puyol, who received his medical clearance afterwards.
And so Messi begins in Tangier. In the much anticipated preseason in Morocco, FC Barcelona gave a masterclass in teamwork and defensive pressure. Lionel Messi’s debut game this season really brought fans to their feet with his hattrick and two key passes. Messi has developed a good understanding with Alexis Sanchez, who scored two goals and made two assists himself. The match in Grand Stade ended with an entire outfield of Barcelona B players from the 70th minute mark.