Barça touched down in Birmingham yesterday to kick off their pre-season training campaign under new manager Luis Enrique.
They will be carrying out their pre-season preparations at the Burton-upon-Trent complex from July 28th – August 2nd. The complex cost over £100 million to build and Barcelona will be based at the National Football Centre to get their new season off to a cracking start.
World Cup stars Xavi, Iniesta, Pique and Pedro were part of the squad although Lionel Messi is on an extended break after his participation in the world Cup which saw Argentina get beaten by a great German side and Mario Götze’s awesome goal.
New faces in the lineup were Ivan Rakitic and Jérémy Mathieu, who’s out to prove that his 30 years of age is not a problem at Barcelona.Barça’s new stoppers Mark-Andre Ter Stegen and Claudio Bravo both made the 26 man squad that flew into Birmingham on Monday.
One of the new faces of the new look Barça squad that was noticeably absent was Luis Suárez who’s not allowed to train with the squad to his ban by FIFA for biting Gioergio Chiellini in the World Cup.The £75million signing is currently serving a four-month ban from all football as part of his punishment.
Julie Harrington, the St. George’s Park’s Managing Director, was delighted that the Catalan giants chose the facilities as part of their pre-season:
‘This is hugely exciting news for St. George’s Park and The FA, and it is a real pleasure to be able to have one of European football’s most successful clubs train at our facility.
‘We look forward to welcoming the players and staff, and helping ensure their visit with us is both an enjoyable and memorable experience.’