Barcelona finished last season as Spanish champions and they will most certainly continue to dominate La Liga with a great new signing in Antoine Griezmann. The main focus must be to get back in the “big walk” of the Champions League.
A few changes were needed to just “freshening up” the situation at Camp Nou. Ernesto Valverde will of course continue the progression and hopefully be able to be even stronger next season.
Barca recently returned from Japan, winning over there against Vissel Kobe. Vissel Kobe with former Barce players David Villa, Sergi Samper and Andres Iniesta in their line-up. A pre-season defeat to Chelsea was of course no fun, as Frank Lampard’s men are preparing for a new season in Premier League.
Lionel Messi has not yet taken part in any pre-season games after his Copa America advneture, and that of course will be a major loss for Barca. We will hopefully see another team when the best player is back.
A bit of time left before the season start, and a bit of testing must be allowed. Valverde got a better look at players such as Todibo and Araujo. Two young centre backs ready to get into action if needed.
Barca forward Malcom looks certain to join Zenit as talks are confirmed and under progression, but the Brazilian is still part of the pre-season preparation and came on for the 2nd half against Vissel Kobe.
The rest of the pre-season contains games against Arsenal and two fixtures against Napoli, played in Miami, before they take on Atletico Madrid in the season opener away on the 16th of August.
The inclusion of young Dutch starlet Frenkie de Jong will be interesting to watch, but to get a regular place in this Barca team will be a testing task. If Ernesto Valverde is eager to get Neymar back from Paris, he can of course make a move.
A close rumor is that Manchester United defender Matteo Darmian can be on his way to Barca as they try to fill their squad with as much quality as possible.
A remarkable situation really, but Barce defender Gerard Pique is the owner of a football club after buying FC Andorra for deposit fee of €452,022. They are currently playing in the 3rd tier of Spanish football and this will be interesting to see how the highly rated defender will combine his roles.