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Nikola Karabatic buys out contract

Nikola Karabatic will no longer be playing for FC Barcelona. / VÍCTOR SALGADO - FCB
The 31-year-old Frenchman pays his own release at the Liga Asobal offices

Handball player Nikola Karabatic went to league offices on Thursday to buy out his contract with FC Barcelona according to that which was established in his contract.

Barça head coach and technical secretary Xavier Pascual said that Nikola Karabatic told us his personal desires a few weeks ago and, after hearing his explanation, the Club understands the situation and he has all our support.”

During Karabatic‘s two seasons with Barça, the team won a total of 12 titles, including the Champions League, two Asobal Leagues and two World Cups.

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Famed Rose Bowl to host FC Barcelona v LA Galaxy

The Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California is home to the UCLA Bruins of the NCAA.  / www.rosebowlstadium.com
The southern California stadium, which has a rich history including big international football matches, is the first stop on Barça’s US tour

The Rose Bowl, one of the most famous outdoor stadiums in American sporting history, and one which has hosted a plethora of major sporting events since it was built in 1922, will open its doors once again to international football when FC Barcelona arrive in Pasadena, California to take on the Los Angeles Galaxy in Match Six of the 2015 International Champions Cup on Tuesday, 21 July at 8.00pm PT (5.00am CET on Wednesday, 22 July.

With a natural grass playing surface and an official seating capacity of 92,542, the Rose Bowl is perhaps most renowned for American football. It is currently the home field of the UCLA Bruins of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and has been the site of the Rose Bowl game — arguably the most famous of several annual “bowls” that form part of the NCAA’s ever-evolving championship system — since 1943.

Aside from having held many other events, including the track cycling events of the 1932 Olympic Games and music concerts featuring a who’s who of performers — from Depeche Mode, Metallica and Michael Jackson to Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones and U2 — the Rose Bowl also has a rich history hosting matches from that global sport that Americans like to call ‘soccer.’

Football, or soccer, history

In fact, FC Barcelona’s first preseason opponents this summer, the Galaxy themselves, called the Rose Bowl home from the team’s founding in 1996 until they moved to their current grounds in 2003.

Aside from Major League Soccer (MLS) matches, the southern California stadium has seen its share of the international spotlight as well. The Rose Bowl hosted eight matches as one of the main sites of the 1994 FIFA World Cup, including four in the first round, one in the last 16, one of the two semi-finals, and the thrilling Final between Italy and Brazil, which came out on top, 3–2 on penalty kicks, after 120 minutes of scoreless play.

For Barça, the Rose Bowl is not overly familiar, and that’s because the Catalans have only played there once.  On 1 August 2009, Pep Guardiola’s squad, fresh off the first treble-winning campaign in Club history, took on David Beckham and the Galaxy and emerged with a 2–1 triumph on goals from Bojan Krkić and Jeffren Suárez.

On 21 July 2015, Luis Enrique and his own Treble-winner will be back to try and equal, or improve, on that result.

Special section Barça’s US tour

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How Messi, Mascherano and Bravo got to the Copa América Final

Messi, Mascherano and Bravo are vying for yet another title in 2015. / FCB
The three FC Barcelona players lead their teams into Saturday’s Argentina–Chile title match

Leo Messi, Javier Mascherano and Claudio Bravo shared the Barca dressing room and celebrated the 2014/15 Treble together. But this Saturday the Barça three players face off in the final of the Copa América, and once the game is over, only two Argentina players or one Chilean goalkeeper will celebrate a new title.

To reach the final, Argentina won their group by drawing 2–2 with Paraguay and beating both Jamaica and Uruguay 1–0. In the quarter-finals, the Argentines had to go to penalty kicks to win, while they routed Paraguay 6–1 in the semi-finals.

Chile also won their group after a 3–3 draw against Mexico, a 2–0 win over  Ecuador and a 5–0 rout of Bolivia. In the quarter-finals they slipped past Uruguay 1–0 and then defeated Peru, 2–1, in the semis.

Blaugrana keys

All three Barça stars have played key roles for their respective teams on the road to Saturday’s Final. Mascherano only missed 13 minutes after being subbed out of the semi-finals to avoid a yellow card that would have left him out of the Final.

Messi, the Argentina captain, has just one goal, a penalty kick in the first match against Paraguay, but has taken 17 shots and has three assists.

Bravo is Chile’s captain and has conceded just four goals, with three shutouts in five games, tied for tops in the tournament.

Here’s a look at the stats from the three Barça players heading into the Copa América Final:

  Messi Mascherano Bravo
Games 5 5 5
Minutes 450 437 450
Goals 1 0 0
Shots on target 8 0
Shots off target 9 1
Scoring chances created 13 2
Assists 280 365 156
Passing percentage 83.6% 91.4% 39.5%
Interceptions 20 26 56
Tackles won 3 7
Tackles lost 0 1
Blocks 0 7 4
Fouls received 19 9 0
Fouls committed 1 5 0
Yellow cards 1 2 0
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FC Barcelona has history versus International Champions Cup rivals

Dani Garcia in the 2003/04 preseason versus Manchester United. / FCB ARCHIVE
Barça face four familiar teams — Manchester United, Fiorentina, the Los Angeles Galaxy, and Chelsea — in the preseason

FC Barcelona’s 2015/16 season will start off with a preseason tour of the United States, where they will participate in the 2015 International Champions Cup and square off against some familiar faces. Barça play the Los Angeles Galaxy at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California on 21 July, followed by Manchester United at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California on 25 July, and then Chelsea at FedExField in Landover, Maryland on 28 July. Barça fly to Florence, Italy to take on Fiorentina in the final preseason friendly, also a part of the International Champions Cup, on 2 August.

Here’s a look at Barça’s history versus this summer’s preseason rivals:

Los Angeles Galaxy

Despite several tours in the USA, FC Barcelona has only faced the Los Angeles Galaxy once, a friendly on 1 August 2009 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, the same place they’ll play this year. The Catalans won 2–1 with goals from Pedro and Jeffren. David Beckham scored on a free kick for the Galaxy.

Manchester United

Barcelona and Manchester United have played in several European competitions, but also in two friendlies held on the other side of the Atlantic. The first was played in 2003 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Curiously, the match was the first sporting event ever held at the brand-new stadium, built as the home of the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles. History aside, Manchester United won 3–1 on goals from Forlán (2) and Van Nistelrooy. Barça’s came from Patrick Kluivert.

On 30 July 2011 the two clubs met in Washington, DC in a rematch of the UEFA Champions League Final — which Barça won — played just two months earlier. In the rematch, Manchester United won 2–1 on goals from Nani and Owen. Thiago scored for Barça.

A third friendly match against the Red Devils was played in the 2012 preseason, but in the Swedish town of Göteborg, in a friendly that ended in a scoreless draw. Barça won, however, on a penalty shootout (2–0).

Fiorentina

Barça’s only match against the Italian club in this century was held in 2008 in the third friendly match of Pep Guardiola’s squad. At the Artemio Franchi stadium in Florence, Puyol, Jeffren and Bojan gave the victory to Barcelona, with Fiorentina pulling one back from Pazzini.

Barça and Fiorentina met four other times in the 20th century. Barça won 2–0 in 1969 at the Artemio Franchi. In 1982 they drew 0–0 at the Comunale. Then, in 1987, at the Trofeo Naranja semi-final in Valencia, Barca won 3–1. Finally, in 1997, in a match that lasted just 45 minutes, Fiorentina won 2–0 at the Artemio Franchi.

Chelsea

Against Chelsea, Barça have played fifteen official games in the UEFA Champions League and the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, but both clubs have never clashed in a friendly tournament.

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Los Angeles Galaxy, the first opponent of the preseason

Robbie Keane is one of the big stars at LA Galaxy / FCB
The Californians are the current MLS champions and have signed Steven Gerrard as part of their bid to win the CONCACAF Champions League

A month before the preseason gets under way, we take a look at the four teams that FC Barcelona will be playing in this summer’s International Champions Cup. It all starts on July 21 (at 5.00am CET on July 22 back in Barcelona) against Los Angeles Galaxy at the Pasadena Rose Bowl.
 
Los Angeles
is about to experience scenes similar to those in 2007 when David Beckham joined the team. Former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has left English football to play for MLS champions Galaxy alongside Irishman Robbie Keane. With five titles to their name, one more than DC United, LA Galaxy is the most successful team in the history of the US soccer championship.

This year the Californians are also involved in the CONCACAF Champions League and will be hoping to win the continental title for the first time since 2000.

Second coming

FC Barcelona have been to North America on many occasions in the past, but this is only the second time that they will have played Galaxy. The only previous meeting was in 2009, also just after the Catalans had won the treble of Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League. That game was also played at the Rose Bowl and ended in a 2-1 win for Barça thanks to goals from Pedro and Jeffren. The home side scored courtesy of a David Beckham free kick.

Euro legends

Team captain Robbie Keane had all kinds of injury problems in his fourth season in the MLS, but still placed in the top three players in the championship for both goals and assists. He has been named club MVP in each of the last three seasons. The team also includes Finnish international Mika Väyrynen and Sweden’s Stefan Ishizaki, and is coached by former US national team boss Bruce Arena. With Steven Gerrard added to the mix, there are plenty of reasons for fans of the Galácticos to fancy their chances in the forthcoming Champions League.

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Top 10 most viewed news articles of the 2014/15 season

Dani Alves' contract extension was one of the top stories of the year. / MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB
We review the most read pieces on the English language version of the FC Barcelona website for the past season

FC BARCELONA AND LIVERPOOL FC REACH AGREEMENT FOR TRANSFER OF LUIS SUÁREZ


CHAMPIONS LEAGUE CELEBRATIONS ON SOCIAL MEDIA


THE NEW BARÇA KIT FOR THE 2015/16 SEASON, ON SALE


NIKE AND FC BARCELONA UNVEIL NEW AWAY KIT FOR SEASON 2014-15


WHEN AND WHERE TO WATCH EL CLÁSICO BETWEEN FC BARCELONA AND REAL MADRID


SKILLS: MESSI VS NEYMAR


FC BARCELONA PLAYERS TRY OUT FIFA 15


LEO MESSI NAMED ON THREE-MAN SHORTLIST FOR FIFA BALLON D’OR 2014


TEAM’S JOY SWEEPS SOCIAL NETWORKS


DATES FOR THE NORTH AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONS CUP REVEALED

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[SPECIAL SECTION] A synopsis of the Treble-winning 2014/15 season

FC Barcelona completed the Treble on 6 June 2015 in Berlin, Germany. / FCB ARCHIVE
We’ve put together a special section on fcbarcelona.com as a tribute to the recent historic accomplishments of FC Barcelona

The 2014/15 season is history. Now that the month of July has rolled in and brought with it the 2015/16 preseason, we take a look back at perhaps the greatest season in FC Barcelona history. The team will forever be remembered as having won the Club’s unprecedented second Treble, and we at www.fcbarcelona.com have created a special section to bring together the 2014/15 season’s historic and memorable achievements, all under one roof.

Special section 2014/15 SEASON SYNOPSIS

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Second edition of penyista card

2015 Penyista Card
New season brings process for new edition of card

Immediately following the 2014/15 season, with the Treble still fresh in everyone’s minds, the Supporters Club Department has begun the process for the second edition of the supporters club member ID card for 2015.

All supporters clubs with new members since last November can enter their new supporters’ data so they can receive their card this summer. From now until 6 July, supporters clubs can make census updates through the online tool for supporters clubs.

After that date the data for each supporters club will be extracted, and cards for new supporters will begin to be issued. Any clubs that have not yet received their 2015 cards will receive both shipments at once.

Once shipment is completed an invoice will be sent to each of supporters club for payment. As agreed with the World Supporters Clubs Confederation, supporters clubs will receive their invoices from the month of September, for payment in the month of October.

Advantages

This card has several exclusive benefits for officially registered supporters. In addition, the Supporters Club Council is working to ensure that these benefits continue to grow year after year.

To see the advantages of the supporters club member ID card, click on the button below.

Penyista Card Advantages

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A busy July for FC Barcelona

Luis Enrique will be embarking on his second preseason with Barça. / MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB
The preseason begins mid-month and is highlighted by a trip to the United States for the International Champions Cup

The month of July brings with it a return to football activity. July 13 is the starting date for a busy preseason that includes a North American tour of international friendlies.

Monday 13 July: The first team will check in to the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper for physical and medical testing and a warm welcome before training sessons begin.


Sunday 19 July: After a first week of training, the first team will fly to the United States for the International Champions Cup.


Wednesday 22 July: First friendly of the preseason is at the Rose Bowl in Los Angeles, California against the Los Angeles Galaxy at 9.00pm PT (5.00am CET).


Saturday 25 July: The second preseason friendly will be played at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California against Manchester United at 1.00pm PT (10.00pm CET).


Wednesday 29 July: The third and final US friendly will be at FedExField in the Washington DC suburb of Landover, Maryland versus Chelsea at 8.00pm ET (2.00am CET).

The tour actually ends back on the Old Continent, when Barça will travel from the United States to Florence, Italy to play the last match of International Champions Cup against Fiorentina on August 2 at 9.00pm CET.

 

INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONS CUP

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Take a peek at the top 10 most viewed videos of the 2014/15 season

Neymar trains at the Ciutat Esportiva. / MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB
A look at the most viewed YouTube videos from FC Barcelona’s record-breaking season

MESSI AND NEYMAR JUGGLE, AND DAZZLE


MESSI WATCHES HIS OWN TRIBUTE


PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED VIDEOS OF MESSI IN HIS YOUTH


OFFICIAL TRAILER OF ‘MESSI,’ THE MOVIE


THE AMAZING BASKET OF MESSI, NEYMAR AND MASCHERANO


NEYMAR’S FIRST TRAINING SESSION


THE CHAMPIONS PARADE


BEHIND THE SCENES MEDICAL CHECK-UPS


THE AUDI PRESENTATION


THE MAGIC OF INIESTA, XAVI AND BUSQUETS

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