It has been a shaky preseason for Barcelona at best, and though many may claim that “friendlies are just friendlies”, the match against PSG is sure to break the ominous pattern. The much anticipated Trophée de Paris was sold out two weeks prior to the game and an expected 48, 527 fans will make their way to Parc de Princes this evening for what is sure to be a memorable showdown!
Repeatedly asked about what Ibrahimovic will bring to PSG, Coach Ancelotti insisted that he would maintain his position as striker, and that he expected “good football” from him. No more, no less. As for the adjustment to the French League, it seems that Ibra has already done that. In the words of the coach, “football is football, no matter where you are in the world”, and this showdown will be the forum for Parisians to witness the newly acquired, and sometimes controversial, Ibra. No stranger to Barcelona, Ibra is sure to put on a striking performance to secure fan trust and remind FC Barcelona just who he is!
Barcelona’s preseason, which has seen them travel all corners of the world, has been a testy one. Yes, it may only be the preseason, but there is far more at stake here. As the new era of Tito Villanova gets underway, many Blaugranas will look to the new coach for yet another successful season. Xavi spoke openly about the fact that not much has changed – “Semi-new coach, same technique, pretty much the same team. It’s all really the same”. If this is the case, then Barcelona fans can rest easy. Barcelona will certainly look to steal the limelight from Ibra on his big night, and with the whole squad back together, Barça may very well stop Ibra in his tracks.
Together with all the preseason travel, FC Barcelona is also dealing with the infuriated lashings of RCD Espanyol. The Catalan Derby that was scheduled for July 31st was cancelled due to the fact that Barcelona had announced they would be sending their B-squad. RCD Espanyol refused, for obvious monetary reasons, as well as the fact that it shows Barcelona’s pure disregard of this annual Derby. In a press conference held earlier this week, Club representatives explained that Barcelona was “disrespectful” for thinking that simply by choosing another date, RCD Espanyol would agree. The club is not satisfied with the newly announced date that falls in the middle of the La Liga. Arrogant as they consider FC Barcelona to be, the game will be played in late September.
Puyol, who spent the week in and out of medical sessions, has been declared fit to play and seemed in good spirits during training sessions this past week. The Barcelona defender sat down and spoke candidly about his aspirations for the new season, and of course, in true Barcelona style, nothing but the best will do. He also put the rumors to bed by clarifying that he couldn’t be more content with his current state and that he wishes to finish his career with FC Barcelona. Anxious for the new season to start, Puyol reiterated the same thought as Xavi, stating that playing under Tito would be no different. As Pep´s sidekick, Tito already knows all the strengths and weaknesses of the whole squad, and let’s face it, he was pretty much given an unbeatable team on a silver platter. Here’s to hoping he doesn’t mess with the winning formula too much.
What may be considered the most challenging preseason tournament for FC Barcelona, this match in Paris will display the true coaching skills of Tito, who has had the whole team back together for training over the last week. With the exception of Marc Muniesa, who underwent surgery, and won’t be back until February, the squad seems back on track…Villa, Puyol and the rest of the boys all looking to kick off this season the right way.
Could this showdown be an indication of the season to come? Will Ibra satisfy thousand or will FC Barcelona steal the light on his big night?
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