Barça's expedition arrived yesterday morning at El Prat airport after a week of tour of the United States. Ernesto Valverde gave rest to the players, who, affected by the jet lag, do not go back to training tomorrow. The first team has a difficult week in which it will have to overcome the fatigue accumulated by the thousands of kilometers of travel and take the proper physical form to start the League in San Mamés. Friday at 9:00 p.m., the champion starts at the Athletic Club field.
Although the 4-0 against Napoli in the last preparation match allowed the expedition to return home with a smile, from the dressing room, there is no concern for the state of how players will come to the inaugural day. Valverde, despite being a club man and having a cautious and comprehensive discourse, was not able to disguise disappointment in the planning of the Barça preseason, which included two one-week tours to the rest of the world. First it was the Asian tour with matches against Chelsea and Vissel Kobe, and then a visit to the East Coast of the United States to face twice in Naples. "The tour is important for the club, at an economic and social level. But for the team it is complicated. There are many kilometers and there are players who have not trained. We'll see how we can solve it, "the coach said last week, before taking the plane to Miami.
Barça's coaches have accumulated the problems because Messi, with a mild muscle injury, fell at the last minute of the tour and stayed in Barcelona doing the recovery. A headache added to the Txingurri, who remained without an unquestionable title in front to test on how to fit Griezmann, the star signing of the team in the attacking zone. Now it will be only three days before the official competition begins, although it seems that the Argentine star will not play in Bilbao, at least from the start, because it seems difficult to have a week of training enough to take the physical shape "Only eleven players can play. We'll see what happens when Leo is there. The fact that Griezmann can play the band or forwards is an advantage. Of course, he always tends to go inside. Treads area and has a goal. Different is the profile of Dembélé, or that of Coutinho. We'll match it in some way, "said Valverde.
"We have to adapt to the pre-season we have, and based on this we will try to do it as well as possible. We will try to get to the match against Athletic Club with guarantees, aware that maybe they are a bit more shot than us ", added coach Barça from the United States. Almost 40,000 kilometers accumulated, injuries and the fact that some South Americans did not join the team later due to the Copa America (apart from Messi, Suárez, Coutinho, Arthur and Arturo Vidal) have been hàndicaps added.
The results and the sensations have not been rocket, except for the 20 minutes of rapture and goals of Saturday's match. The team played five games, won four and lost one, with a balance of eleven goals in favor and four against, although the coach clarified that the important were not the markers but the multiple tests in a pre-season in which the players of the subsidiary have had a notable presence.
Two summer tours
This has been an exceptional summer for the first team of Barça. The fact that he did not have to play the Spanish Super Cup – the tournament has changed its format and goes on to dispute in January – has opened the door to make two tours around the world. An option that has not finished convinced neither the staff neither the players nor the physical trainers, but that was a very sweet option for the club, especially in terms of revenue.
After competing four times with the International Champions Cup (ICC), a 2017 tournament, Barça resigned to participate in this edition of the friendly competition because it had "priority interests" in Asia, according to sources of the ICC. This commitment was the Rakuten Cup, a tour organized by the main Barça sponsor in Japan and which included daily commercial events, most of which with the presence of the players in the first squad.
The expedition left Barcelona on July 20 and returned on Sunday 28, early in the morning. It was only a week before the Joan Gamper trophy, a competition that was also planned taking into account commercial criteria. And the game, set for Sunday, August 5, was disputed over the weekend of the most tourist influx in Barcelona. The data gave the reason to the club's brand leaders, who filled the stadium with 98,812 spectators, the record for the tournament.
In a game aimed especially at visitors, Barça could raise around 10 million euros. On the following day, on Monday 6, the flight to Miami for the second tour, which ended yesterday morning. From the club they did not want to make public the revenues that were the two trips this summer, but insist that they have been "necessary". The goals are two, square the budgets, every year higher, and grow the Barça brand.
After finishing the preseason and while the Barça team focuses on the competition, the Camp Nou offices are already starting to plan next summer. For now, the club has the opportunity to return to the United States in 2020 to play the International Champions Cup.
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