Barcelona vs Celtic, 2016 Champions Cup: Final Score 3-1 as Barça start preseason with easy win

Preseason wins don’t matter, but YAY!

Barcelona’s preseason is off to a good start, as the Catalan giants beat Celtic FC with an easy 3-1 victory, thanks to goals from Arda Turan, Ambrose (OG) and Munir El-Haddadi, with Leigh Griffiths scoring for Celtic. While the fitness level was still low, the Blaugrana used their supreme talent to overcome a Celtic side with their minds on a key Champions League game next week. Young Barça players got a chance to show their worth, and the big stars are already off to a good start.

FIRST HALF

With a starting lineup with plenty of young players and a few reserves, the expectations of a great performance weren’t high, but the Catalans did just that. From the very beginning, apart from a few mistakes at the back, Barça were great in possession, with the midfield trio doing great work to keep the ball, and had help from Messi to create scoring chances.

After ten minutes and a a great buildup, Aleix Vidal nutmegged his defender in a spectacular way and found Arda Turan outside the box, and the Turkish placed the ball perfectly into the top left corner. The Blaugrana continued to play well and dominate, but a freak goal happened when JA Martínez failed to control an easy pass and Griffiths scored the equalizer. Just a minute later, Juan Cámara played an errant cross into the box, and Efe Ambrose scored an own goal to give Barça the lead again.

More control and good use of possession led to the Catalans’ third goal, thanks to a spectacular long pass from Messi to Cámara, who found Suárez in the box, and the Uruguayan then gave an easy tap-in goal to Munir.

At halftime, a good performance overall, a promising game from the midfielders, and a comfortable lead.

SECOND HALF

With plenty of changes on both teams, the competitive spirit of the first half was gone. Barça’s kids from the academy looked to prove themselves to Luis Enrique, but very few chances were created from two inexperienced sides.

In the end, an easy victory, and a promising first half performance. Barça is still a good football team.

Barcelona: Masip (Jose Suárez) | Vidal, Martínez (Borja), Mathieu (Marlon), Cámara (Gumbau) | Roberto (Alfaro), Arda (Aleñá), Denis (Mujica) | Messi (Samper), Suárez (Carbonell), Munir (Nili)

Goals: Arda (11′), Ambrose (OG, 31′), Munir (40′)

Celtic: Gordon (Fasan) | Janko (Ralston), Ambrose (McCart), O’Connell (Ajer), Izaguirre (Fisher) | Brown (Allan), Bitton (Rogic), McGregor (Armstrong) | Roberts (Ciftci), Griffiths (Dembele), Forrest (Christie)

Goals: Griffiths (29′)

WATCH: Luis Suarez sets up Munir to make it 3-1 vs. Celtic

It’s a goalfest in the International Champions Cup match between Barcelona and Celtic. The Blaugrana have pulled ahead to a 3-1 lead in the first half. After Arda Turan scored a brilliant goal, Celtic equalized before scoring an own goal to make it 2-1. Munir extended the lead to 3-1 with this tap-in off of great work by Luis Suarez:

via r/Soccer

It’s another masterful piece of passing movement by Barca. Suarez and Messi look just fine without their MSN mate Neymar there to help out.

Barcelona vs Celtic, 2016 Champions Cup: Confirmed Lineups, Live Game Thread

Preseason is here! Let’s follow and comment Barcelona vs Celtic

Here we are! Preseason starts for Barcelona, as the Catalan giants kick off their International Champions Cup campaign facing Scottish champions Celtic in Dublin, Ireland.

The team has already arrived at Aviva Stadium:

And the lineups are here!

Barcelona starting lineup: 25. Masip | 22. Aleix Vidal, 12. JA Martínez, 24. Mathieu, 20. Sergi Roberto | 6. Denis Suarez, 7. Arda Turan, 18. Juan Cámara | 10. Messi, 9. Luis Suárez, 17. Munir

Celtic starting lineup: Gordon | Janko, Ambrose, O’Connell, Izaguirre | Brown, Bitton, McGregor | Roberts, Griffiths, Forrest

Luis Enrique’s first starting lineup for the new season is young and hungry, with academy youngsters (Martínez, Cámara), Denis Suarez at pivote and Munir looking to prove himself as a worthy backup forward. Sergi Roberto is now a full-back, and he starts on the left, as Aleix Vidal looks to become an undisputed starting right-back. Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez start, and will look to kick off preseason with some goals.

This should be fun! Use the comment section below to follow the game, and please keep the thread fun and respectful. VISCA EL BARÇA!

Adriano’s farewell message to Barcelona.

He says his goodbyes, for now.

Adriano Correia had some words to say to the Barcelona faithful after his move to Turkey.

Beloved Blaugranas,

As you already know, I’ll be playing next season for the Black Eagles of Beştikaş and the time has come to say farewell to all of you.

I do not have the words to express all of the sentiments that I have flowing in my head. They are overflowing. My gratitude comes with a ton of memories, lots of happiness, and the pain that one has when saying good bye to something they love.

Since I was little I had this dream of becoming a footballer, and to put on the Barcelona shirt culminated this dream. But you have given me much more than that.

During these six years a lot of my teammates at this club have become life-long friends that I will cherish wherever I go.

Barcelona, this beautiful city, it has gifted my family its second son, Azhaf, who has Catalan blood.

I will be forever grateful to the teammates and coaches that I’ve had, both past and present. I have learned a lot from them. They’ve helped me grow to new heights as a professional and as a person.

I also want to give thanks to the President and the governing bodies of the club for always believing in me and giving me the opportunity to become part of the history of Barca.

To you all, the fans of Barcelona, you have made me feel at home from the first day I set foot in the Camp Nou. Without your unconditional support, a lot of these achievements would not have been possible. I hope that I have returned part of your immense affection!

A lot of times in life one finds himself crossing into a new path. For now and always I will have you all in my heart and feel like a part of the Barcelona family.

With all of my love I tell you,

Not farewell, but see you later!

Barcelona vs Celtic, 2016 Champions Cup: Start time, TV listings, live stream

The Blaugranes begin their preseason against the Scottish champions

The best team in the world is back.

After two months off following another successful season with a domestic double and four total trophies won, Barcelona football returns to our lives, and that obviously is fantastic news. Luis Enrique is still the manager, the squad is even stronger thanks to an incredible month of July in the transfer market, and the expectations are once again sky high for the Catalan giants.

There will be no huge preseason tour for Barça this year. The team travelled to the United States in 2015 with a lot of young players and more time on the plane than on the training ground, and that suboptimal preparation led to an injury-plagued start to the campaign. This time around, all four friendlies are in Europe, against very good opposition and with almost all members of the squad healthy and available.

To kick off the International Champions Cup, Barça travel to Dublin, Ireland to face Scottish champions Celtic at Aviva Stadium. Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez are sure to play, so if the return of Barcelona football wasn’t enough, you got two members of the ‘MSN’ trio ready to score from the first preseason game. Yeah, you can’t miss it.

Date/Time: Saturday, July 30, 2016, 6pm BST (UK), 7pm CET (Europe), 1pm ET, 10am PT (US), 10:30pm IST (India, next day)

Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland

Referee: Will Be There

On TV: ESPN (US), ESPN Deportes (US – Spanish), TSN5 (Canada), Sky Sports 1 (UK), Sony ESPN (India), TV3, La Sexta (Spain), elsewhere

Online: WatchESPN (US), SKY GO (UK), elsewhere

(Listings via LiveSoccerTV)

FC Barcelona News: 30 July 2016; Barca Travel to Dublin for Friendly, Martin Montoya Set for Valencia

FC Barcelona are on their way to Dublin | FC Barcelona
FC Barcelona’s time at St. George’s Park has come to an end are now on their way to Dublin for the match of pre-season against Celtic in the International Champions Cup (7.00pm CET)Luis Enrique’s side took off at 11.15am CET and are scheduled to land in the Republic of Ireland at around 12.30pm where they will then go to their hotel to rest before the match.

Match preview: FC Barcelona v Celtic | FC Barcelona
After an intense week of training at St. George’s Park, FC Barcelona are looking to put their practice into action on Saturday when they take on Celtic in their first match of the International Champions Cup (7.00pm CET).At the disposal of Luis Enrique will be the 24 players who were training at the English FA’s facilities, apart from Martin Montoya who has been given permission to leave the camp on Saturday morning.

Andrés Iniesta happy with new signings | FC Barcelona
He may be on vacation, but Andrés Iniesta is still fully aware of the ongoings at the club and weighed in with his opinion in an interview with Barça TV.The club has signed four players over the summer, and the legendary midfielder says that they are “very positive reinforcements because they offer a lot”. He recognizes that Denis Suárez, Umtiti, Digne and André Gomes are young, with huge capacity to learn and with lots of quality”.

Sergi Roberto and Jeremy Mathieu looking at defensive roles | FC Barcelona
After Friday morning’s training session at St. George’s Park, Sergi Roberto and Jeremy Mathieu spoke to the media briefly in the mixed zone.  Having played several matches at right-back last season, the influx of new midfielders and the departure of Dani Alves is seen by Sergi Roberto as a chance to play more football.

Leo Messi and Luis Suárez, head to head | FC Barcelona
Towards the end of the morning session, however, there was a more light-hearted exercise set up by the physical coaches, who got the players in pairs to exchange headers while sitting on inflatable balls.Leo Messi and Luis Suárez paired up and showed the rest how it should be done with an impressive rally of numerous touches, only for the sun, according the Uruguayan, eventually stopping them.

Barcelona defender Adriano Correia completes Besiktas transfer | Sky Sports
The Brazilian defender moved to the Nou Camp in the summer of 2010 from Sevilla for a fee of £8m and has gone on to make more than 100 La Liga appearances for Barcelona. Adriano, 31, has collected 16 titles in six seasons at the club and the move comes after he extended his current contract in March to 2017.

Montoya set to join Valencia | Football Espana
Martin Montoya has reportedly left Barcelona’s preseason camp to complete a free transfer to Valencia. According to Marca, Barca have agreed to terminate Montoya’s contract, with the right-back now travelling to Valencia instead of Dublin, where La Blaugrana will face Celtic in a friendly on Saturday.

La Liga News: 30 July 2016; Atletico Madrid Defeat Tottenham, PSG Chasing Jese Rodriguez

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez’s right-hand man – ESPN FC
Even though some of us still hope Real Madrid have changed their signing policy for the better, there might be a different reason behind their low-key summer so far. His name is Jose Angel Sanchez, and he’s the club’s closest figure to a Chief Executive Officer.

Cristiano Ronaldo out for Super Cup possibly La Liga opener – Zidane – ESPN FC
Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane confirmed that Cristiano Ronaldo won’t play in the UEFA Super Cup against Sevilla on Aug. 9, and could miss the league opener against Real Sociedad 12 days later. Ronaldo injured his knee early in Portugal’s Euro 2016 final victory against France back on July 10, and after being given some time off has been busy rehabbing the injury.

PSG coach Emery confirms interest in Real Madrid’s Jese – Goal.com
Paris Saint-Germain coach Unai Emery confirmed his interest in Real Madrid forward Jese Rodriguez, saying a move is possible. Goal understands the two clubs have discussed a move for the 23-year-old during the two clubs’ tours of the United States.

Tottenham 0-1 Atletico Madrid | Sky Sports
Having been overrun against Serie A champions Juventus in their first International Champions Cup tie, Spurs put in an improved performance at the MCG on Friday, with Josh Onomah and Erik Lamela hitting the woodwork in the first half.

OFFICIAL: Vietto to join Sevilla | Football Espana
Sevilla have confirmed that Luciano Vietto will join the club after he passed a medical and was given permission to begin training with the Andalusians. Vietto appeared to have been closing in on a permanent switch to Barcelona, but reports this past week have seen Sevilla overtake the Catalans, to the extent that the striker is already training with Los Nervionenses.

Sevilla boss Jorge Sampaoli turns down Argentina job | Football News | Sky Sports
Sampaoli only took over at Sevilla last month following Unai Emery’s departure to manage Paris Saint-Germain. The Argentina-born Sampaoli was in charge of Chile from 2012 to 2016 and guided them to the 2015 Copa America title on home soil.

Southampton ‘keeper Paulo Gazzaniga joins Rayo Vallecano on season-long loan | Sky Sports
The 24-year-old joined Saints from Gillingham in 2012 and has made 23 appearances for the club. But the south coast club are in talks to sign Alex McCarthy from Crystal Palace to provide competition for Fraser Forster.

Official: Alexis joins Alaves | Football Espana
Alaves have announced the signing of former Getafe, Valencia and Sevilla defender Alexis Ruano on a one-year contract. Alexis only joined Besiktas from Getafe at the beginning of the year and helped the Turkish giants win the Super Lig, but the recent political turmoil in the country prompted the 30-year-old to push through a return to Spain.

Barcelona vs Celtic, Preseason Friendly: All Updates

Barça play their first friendly this preseason, and this will keep you updated on all the action

FC Barcelona will be looking to kick-off their pre-season campaign in style tomorrow, as they travel to Dublin to take Scottish champions, Celtic FC at the Aviva Stadium. The match will be the Blaugrana’s opening fixture in the 2016 International Champions Cup, a curious competition that has certainly struggled to endear itself to football fans across the globe since its inception.

Fundamentally, the premise of the competition itself is a lie. While titles are technically handed out to three participating teams, they are awarded somewhat arbitrarily based on the team’s performance in friendlies in a particular region – meaning that there is no one true winner of the Cup. Couple this with an aggressive marketing campaign built around the premise that the ICC is “transforming the traditional preseason tour into something remarkable: a competitive, world-class tournament” and well, it’s easy to see why most fans groan at the mention of their club participating.

But here we are, and as far as participating in the International Champions Cup goes, Barça have probably engineered the best deal for themselves this summer.

Even if it is for one year only, the FC Barcelona road-show is staying on the continent; rather than racking up extra air miles to cash in on the emerging Asian and American markets, Luis Enrique has taken his side to the glamorous Midlands in England. There’s far less marketing opportunities, but there does happen to be a state of the art training facility there and Barça have been making full use of their time to do something that’s so often overlooked at this time of the year: actually prepare for the new season ahead.

It’s clear that this approach is motivating the squad; a number of players cut their holidays short to return to training – no doubt influenced by the fact that Barça are taking preseason seriously, unlike so many of Europe’s top clubs. Would Lionel Messi have returned from his vacations to fly to Melbourne, Beijing or the west coast of the USA?

Don’t get me wrong, these preseason fixtures are still far from being the legitimate competitive fixtures they are promoted as, but at least our focus is on what matters: the football.

At the risk of spoiling it for all the Culés out there, this doesn’t mean that we’re going to learn a lot about our team in this preseason period either. Irrespective of how we line up against Celtic tomorrow, or whether we beat Liverpool next week, we’re not going to be able to use these games to predict what will happen in the season opener, let alone next May. However, we do know that these games will help our players get back into shape and back into rhythm in time to start the season and hit the ground running.

Tomorrow is the first step in what promises to be another exciting season for FC Barcelona and I for one, cannot wait.

TEAM NEWS

BARCELONA

With the Copa America, European Championships and Olympic Games all falling in the same summer, Luis Enrique will see his squad return in stages over the next few weeks. The initial group that started pre-season was soon joined by its talismanic star man, Lionel Messi, who cut his holidays short and bleached his hair blond, presumably because he was so excited to get the ball rolling with this campaign. With other internationals set to return to the fray next week, Enrique has bolstered the ranks with a few B team players and in true preseason fashion, it’s expected that all players named to the squad tomorrow will get a run out at one stage or another.

As such, the whole “team news” section is a little redundant tonight; we know we’re going to see everyone at one stage or another, so does it really matter whether they start or not?

Instead, let’s focus on some of the names you might not recognise, or at least the ones that have the most to prove in the next few weeks.

First up, we have Munir El Haddadi. Of course, everyone recognises Munir so clearly he falls into the latter category of having something to prove, and his story could perhaps be the most important this preseason. There have been a lot of rumours that Enrique would like to sign a “nine” to complete his squad – a player that’s capable of slotting into the team and scoring goals if Luis Suarez is ever injured or in need of a rest. From Mario Gomez to Solomon Rondon to Luciano Vietto, we’ve seen a plethora of strikers linked with a switch to the Camp Nou, almost as if Munir were an afterthought.

Yet, the young Spanish striker may perhaps be the most obvious solution. He is of course intimately familiar with the Barça system, and as he progressed through the ranks at the club he thrived in a more central position. If given the opportunity, maybe Munir will show Enrique that he is capable of filling that role and negating the need for another signing.

Carles Aleña might not be as famous as Munir, but he’s a talent that has had Culés abuzz for years. Heralded as the best midfield talent to emerge out of La Masia since Sergi Samper (we’ll get to him), Aleña is equally adept at tearing through opposing defenses with his quick feet and incredible control as he is as dictating the tempo of the game. Of course, that combination of skills has seen him likened to Andrés Iniesta, but Aleña is of course his own player.

Given game-time under Luis Enrique, Aleña has the opportunity to demonstrate why so many have been singing his praises, and why he is tipped to someday break into the senior squad. Above all else, he has the chance to test himself against a better level of opposition – is he ready for that test? No doubt we will find out.

Speaking of Sergi Samper, this preseason could determine whether or not the talented youngster stays, or whether he is sent out on loan. As yet, Luis Enrique hasn’t definitively ruled out a move away for Samper – and as such, one must assume that he is waiting for Samper to prove his worth and guarantee his spot in the senior squad. I mean we all know he will deliver, but it’s another fascinating subplot to keep our eyes on.

Perhaps most importantly though, will Messi’s new haircut have any impact on his otherworldly football ability? That’s the real question, and I’m anxious to find out.

CELTIC

OK, I know it’s only preseason, it’s my first preview of the campaign and I shouldn’t start making enemies already, but I’m just going to go out and state it for the record: Celtic are a bad football team. A couple of weeks ago, they lost a competitive match to a team from Gibraltar. An actual, real, competitive match of football. While they managed to progress by virtue of a win in the second leg, they subsequently went on to draw with FK Astana, a team from Kazakhstan. The second leg of that UEFA Champions League qualifying tie is this coming Wednesday, so clearly Celtic have more important things on their mind that a preseason game with Barcelona.

New signing Kolo Toure therefore won’t feature tomorrow, and there’s a strong possibility that much of the rest of the first team will also play limited minutes in order to conserve energy for the match that matters. Financially, Celtic almost need to qualify for the UEFA Champions League group stage in order to remain relevant on the European stage – so don’t expect them to take tomorrow all too seriously.

MATCH PREDICTION

Return with a win: 3-1 Barça.

Barcelona vs Celtic, 2016 International Champions Cup: Team News, Match Preview

Barcelona vs Celtic: Preview

FC Barcelona will be looking to kick-off their pre-season campaign in style tomorrow, as they travel to Dublin to take Scottish champions, Celtic FC at the Aviva Stadium. The match will be the Blaugrana’s opening fixture in the 2016 International Champions Cup, a curious competition that has certainly struggled to endear itself to football fans across the globe since its inception.

Fundamentally, the premise of the competition itself is a lie. While titles are technically handed out to three participating teams, they are awarded somewhat arbitrarily based on the team’s performance in friendlies in a particular region – meaning that there is no one true winner of the Cup. Couple this with an aggressive marketing campaign built around the premise that the ICC is “transforming the traditional preseason tour into something remarkable: a competitive, world-class tournament” and well, it’s easy to see why most fans groan at the mention of their club participating.

But here we are, and as far as participating in the International Champions Cup goes, Barça have probably engineered the best deal for themselves this summer.

Even if it is for one year only, the FC Barcelona road-show is staying on the continent; rather than racking up extra air miles to cash in on the emerging Asian and American markets, Luis Enrique has taken his side to the glamorous Midlands in England. There’s far less marketing opportunities, but there does happen to be a state of the art training facility there and Barça have been making full use of their time to do something that’s so often overlooked at this time of the year: actually prepare for the new season ahead.

It’s clear that this approach is motivating the squad; a number of players cut their holidays short to return to training – no doubt influenced by the fact that Barça are taking preseason seriously, unlike so many of Europe’s top clubs. Would Lionel Messi have returned from his vacations to fly to Melbourne, Beijing or the west coast of the USA?

Don’t get me wrong, these preseason fixtures are still far from being the legitimate competitive fixtures they are promoted as, but at least our focus is on what matters: the football.

At the risk of spoiling it for all the Culés out there, this doesn’t mean that we’re going to learn a lot about our team in this preseason period either. Irrespective of how we line up against Celtic tomorrow, or whether we beat Liverpool next week, we’re not going to be able to use these games to predict what will happen in the season opener, let alone next May. However, we do know that these games will help our players get back into shape and back into rhythm in time to start the season and hit the ground running.

Tomorrow is the first step in what promises to be another exciting season for FC Barcelona and I for one, cannot wait.

TEAM NEWS

BARCELONA

With the Copa America, European Championships and Olympic Games all falling in the same summer, Luis Enrique will see his squad return in stages over the next few weeks. The initial group that started pre-season was soon joined by its talismanic star man, Lionel Messi, who cut his holidays short and bleached his hair blond, presumably because he was so excited to get the ball rolling with this campaign. With other internationals set to return to the fray next week, Enrique has bolstered the ranks with a few B team players and in true preseason fashion, it’s expected that all players named to the squad tomorrow will get a run out at one stage or another.

As such, the whole “team news” section is a little redundant tonight; we know we’re going to see everyone at one stage or another, so does it really matter whether they start or not?

Instead, let’s focus on some of the names you might not recognise, or at least the ones that have the most to prove in the next few weeks.

First up, we have Munir El Haddadi. Of course, everyone recognises Munir so clearly he falls into the latter category of having something to prove, and his story could perhaps be the most important this preseason. There have been a lot of rumours that Enrique would like to sign a “nine” to complete his squad – a player that’s capable of slotting into the team and scoring goals if Luis Suarez is ever injured or in need of a rest. From Mario Gomez to Solomon Rondon to Luciano Vietto, we’ve seen a plethora of strikers linked with a switch to the Camp Nou, almost as if Munir were an afterthought.

Yet, the young Spanish striker may perhaps be the most obvious solution. He is of course intimately familiar with the Barça system, and as he progressed through the ranks at the club he thrived in a more central position. If given the opportunity, maybe Munir will show Enrique that he is capable of filling that role and negating the need for another signing.

Carles Aleña might not be as famous as Munir, but he’s a talent that has had Culés abuzz for years. Heralded as the best midfield talent to emerge out of La Masia since Sergi Samper (we’ll get to him), Aleña is equally adept at tearing through opposing defenses with his quick feet and incredible control as he is as dictating the tempo of the game. Of course, that combination of skills has seen him likened to Andrés Iniesta, but Aleña is of course his own player.

Given game-time under Luis Enrique, Aleña has the opportunity to demonstrate why so many have been singing his praises, and why he is tipped to someday break into the senior squad. Above all else, he has the chance to test himself against a better level of opposition – is he ready for that test? No doubt we will find out.

Speaking of Sergi Samper, this preseason could determine whether or not the talented youngster stays, or whether he is sent out on loan. As yet, Luis Enrique hasn’t definitively ruled out a move away for Samper – and as such, one must assume that he is waiting for Samper to prove his worth and guarantee his spot in the senior squad. I mean we all know he will deliver, but it’s another fascinating subplot to keep our eyes on.

Perhaps most importantly though, will Messi’s new haircut have any impact on his otherworldly football ability? That’s the real question, and I’m anxious to find out.

CELTIC

OK, I know it’s only preseason, it’s my first preview of the campaign and I shouldn’t start making enemies already, but I’m just going to go out and state it for the record: Celtic are a bad football team. A couple of weeks ago, they lost a competitive match to a team from Gibraltar. An actual, real, competitive match of football. While they managed to progress by virtue of a win in the second leg, they subsequently went on to draw with FK Astana, a team from Kazakhstan. The second leg of that UEFA Champions League qualifying tie is this coming Wednesday, so clearly Celtic have more important things on their mind that a preseason game with Barcelona.

New signing Kolo Toure therefore won’t feature tomorrow, and there’s a strong possibility that much of the rest of the first team will also play limited minutes in order to conserve energy for the match that matters. Financially, Celtic almost need to qualify for the UEFA Champions League group stage in order to remain relevant on the European stage – so don’t expect them to take tomorrow all too seriously.

MATCH PREDICTION

Return with a win: 3-1 Barça.