FC Barcelona on Friday completed their final training session of a week without a host of first team players who were away on international duty. However, Munir El Haddadi was back with the squad after playing for the Spanish under-21 side against Estonia on Tuesday.
Training was held on pitch number two at Ciutat Esportiva where all available players took part, including four players from the U19 squad: Paik, Mújica, Arnau and Rubén.
The first team’s next practice session will take place on Monday evening as Barça prepare for Saturday’s trip to Madrid to take on Atlético.
The Belgian is the only victorious blaugrana with Arda Turan’s Turkey and Rakitic’s Croatia drawing
Thomas Vermaelen‘s excellent start to the season at Barça has been echoed with his form for his national side. After an absence of 14 months, the defender not only returned to the Belgian national squad but also started the match against Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Roma striker Edin Dzeko put Bosnia ahead after a quarter of an hour but goals from Felliani, De Bruyne and Hazard gave Belgium a deserved 3-1 win with Vermaelen playing all 90 minute in the encounter. With the win, Belgium remain three points behind leaders Wales in Group B. Vermaelen was not the only blaugrana in action in the fixtures for qualification for Euro 2016.
Assist for Turkey but only draw for Turkey
The summer signing played his first official game since joining the blaugranes, Turan captained a Turkey side who were up against Latvia in their seventh game of the qualifying stages. Inan’s goal with an assist from the blaugrana 13 minutes from time appeared to have given the Turks a 2-1 win but an injury time equaliser from Sabala gave the Baltic team a share of the points.
Turkey missed the chance to make the most of Holland’s defeat against Iceland in Group A but they are now only a point off third place in the standings.
Draw for Rakitic
Earlier in the evening Azerbaijan took on Ivan Rakitic’s Croatia side. The game ended goalless despite the best efforts of the Balkans who are now coached by former Barça player Robert Prosinecki. Rakitic played all 90 minutes and came close to opening the scoring with an excellent free kick from the just outside the box. With the point Croatia remain top of Group H, although now they are joined on 15 points by Italy following the azzurri’s 1-0 win over Malta.
After two days training with FC Barcelona B, the first team trained Thursday without the reserves on Field 2 at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper.
But the big news was the head coach Luis Enrique was back after attending Wednesday’s UEFA Elite Club Coaches Forum in Nyon, Switzerland.
WithBarça’s international players on leave with their respective national teams, four players from Barça’s Under 18 team joined in on the training session.
With league play paused for international matches, the first team will be free over the weekend. The final session of the week will be held on Friday at 10.00am CET.
Three FC Barcelona players face qualifiers with the national teams for the UEFA Euro 2016, to be held in France next summer. But while all three players form part of the same club team, the similarities facing them this weekend end there. Barça midfielder Ivan Rakitic, defender Thomas Vermaelen, and new pickup Arda Turan all face distinct situations as their countried continue in their attempts to qualify for the big dance.
First, at 6.00pm CET, Rakitic and Croatia face Azerbaijan in Group H. Croatia lead the group with 14 points, two points ahead of Italy. Norway are still lurking in third place with 10 points, meaning the Croats need to keep the foot on the gas if they want to avoid any major complications. Rakitic co-leads the qualifying phase in assists.
Later in the evening, at 8.45pm CET, Barça centre-back Thomas Vermaelen is expected to play for his national team the first time in 14 months — he was injured in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil — when Belgium meet Bosnia and Herzegovina in Group B. Belgium are undefeated in their last 12 home qualifiers (7 wins and 5 draws) but, after losing their last qualifier at Wales, they find themselves 3 points behind the Welsh and are in second place with 11. Israel and Cyprus are knotted in third with nine points apiece. Bosnia have 8 while Andorra bring up the rear and have yet to win.
Turquia in must-win spot
Turkey and Barça’s new player Arda Turan lost their first two qualifiers and have been playing catch up ever since. The Turks have recorded eight of their last 12 possible points but still have work to do. Turkey are seven points behind leaders Iceland, five behind the Czech Republic and two back from the Netherlands.
Turkey will try to draw closer tonight at 8.45pm CET when they face Latvia, who are just two points behind the Turks. Arda cannot play with Barça until January and will try to get in some much-needed work at game speed. He has one goal in five qualifiers so far.
Marc Bartra was one of the stars of the press conference on Thursday at Las Rozas where the Spanish national side are preparing for Saturday’s game in the Carlos Tartiere Stadium in Oviedo. The Barça defender revealed: “I am working with great enthusiasm to be able to return the confidence that Del Bosque has shown in me.” He continued: “I am excited, the challenges are coming and the excitement as well. It is an exciting challenge to try and be at 200% to improve and grow.”
With regards to his selection for the national team, squad, Bartra added: “I have been coming during qualification and I am where I want to be, in the Barça first team, after four years of battling and the national side as well, it’s all a dream.”
Praise for Piqué
Bartra also commented on the form of Gerard Piqué who has missed the first two league games of the season due to suspension: “It is true that playing gives you match fitness, but he looks good in training. Training with the best in the world in the team and here with the best in Spain mean that you get the rhythm to be at 100% and respond to what the coach wants. Gerard (Piqué) and Sergio (Ramos) are the best two central defenders in the Europe and in the world,” he explained
Fans can stay up to date with the Women’s A team on Facebook and Twitter. With FCBFemeni, Barça bolsters social media presence with more than 40 profiles
FC Barcelona has unveiled two new profiles on Facebook and Twitter with the aim of boosting the presence of the Club’s women’s football team on social media, further cementing FC Barcelona as a world leader in social networking. The new official channels (facebook.com/fcbfemeni) and (twitter.com/fcbfemeni) will provide an exclusive online space for fans who want to keep up to date with all the news from FC Barcelona’s Women’s A team, which opens league play this weekend. Followers are encouraged to use the hashtag #FCBFemeni on Twitter and Facebook to get the latest team news and share their passion for the FCB Women.
The FCBFemeni profiles are a spin off of FCBMasia, which will continue to offer all the latest news and multimedia content surrounding the Barça B team, the Youth Academy teams, and the rest of La Masia. Meanwhile, FCBFemeni will bring together everything from the Club’s women’s football section. Fans will be able get match results, see the standings and discover exclusive multimedia content.
Over 40 social media profiles
With the arrival of FCBFemeni, the club now has more than 40 social media channels across a plethora of social networks, a true record in the world of sport. FC Barcelona’s 10 profiles on Facebook, 17 on Twitter, 6 on LINE and 2 on Instagram, as well as channels on YouTube, Dailymotion, Come, Tencent Weibo, Sina Weibo, WECH, BBM, TuneIn, and the Club’s official mobile app bring Barça to every corner of the world and let fans share their passion through messaging or by sharing photos or videos.
Follow the players
In addition to following FCBFemeni, fans can also get the latest news by following the players individually on Twitter.
|IRENE DEL RIO||@delri10|
Juan Carlos Navarro and Justin Doellman are the stars of the new commercial produced by FC Barcelona basketball team sponsor Lassa Tyres. Xavi Pascual‘s team, and other Barça pro teams, will sport the Lassa Tyres logo for the next four seasons. Check out this behind-the-scenes video of the commercial’s production.
MESSI AND INIESTA PRESENT THE EUROPEAN TROPHIES TO THE CAMP NOU CROWD
Just before the first league game of the season against Málaga at Camp Nou, captain Andrés Iniesta presented the European Super Cup Trophy to the crowd whilst Leo Messi did the same with the UEFA Best Player in Europe award for 2014/15.
BARÇA LASSA HANDBALL CATALAN SUPER CUP CHAMPIONS
First title of the season for Xavi Pascual’s team thanks to a 35-21 win over Fraikin Granollers in the final.
FOLLOWING LEO MESSI AT THE UEFA GALA
Leo Messi was the focus of attention at the UEFA Gala in Monaco where he was named Best Player in Europe for 2014/15.
FIRST TEAM PHOTO SESSION
Catch up with the best and most entertaining moments from the Barça’s first team’s date with the photographer.
Pedro Rodríguez left Barça and headed off to the Premier League after seven seasons as a blaugrana. The striker bid an emotional farewell to the Club with a moving press conference included.
CAMP NOU GETS A NEW PITCH
Following the Spanish Super Cup final against Athletic Club, Camp Nou got a new playing surface ahead of the opening league fixutre of the season against Málaga.
EUROPEAN SUPER CUP CHAMPIONS
FC Barcelona overcame Sevilla in the European Super Cup final played in the Dinamo Arena in Tbilisi, Georgia. The final was an exciting one that was deicided in extra time and the joy at the final whistle for Luis Enrique’s side is palpable as they claimed their first title of the 2015/16 season.
KEITA RETURNS TO CAMP NOU
Seydou Keita came back to Camp Nou for the first time after a four year spell at the Club as a player. The occasion was the visit of AS Roma for the Joan Gamper Trophy match, an emotional evening for the man from Mali.
FIRST TEAM PRESENTATION AT THE GAMPER 2015/16
As is usual, Camp Nou was the venue for the presentation of the FC Barcelona squad on the day of the Gamper Trophy game. Before the game between Barça and Roma, the fans gave the players a rousing reception.
THE NEW SIGNINGS AT THE SUPPORTERS’ CLUB CONGRESS
At the start of August the new technical secretary for the first team Robert Fernandez, Aleix Vidal and Arda Turan, along with Sandro and Munir at an event during the Supporters’ Club assembly in Barcelona.
Barça honoured as champions
At the meeting, a book was distributed that details the statistics from the 2014/15 Champions League, with winners FC Barcelona appearing on the cover. Luis Enrique, as the winning coach, wrote the prologue.
This Wednesday in Nyon is the day for the fifteenth UEFA Elite Club Coaches Forum, and Luis Enrique is there along with some of the continent’s other top coaches. These include the managers of many of the teams in this season’s Champions League, including Rafa Benítez (Real Madrid), Massimiliano Allegri (Juventus) and Laurent Blanc (Paris Saint-Germain), as well as such illustrious names as Jurgen Klopp, Carlo Ancelotti and Alex Ferguson.
UEFA has called the meeting to discuss the changes that have been made to the regulations for the new season and some others that have been proposed for the future. Former international referee Pierluigi Collina, who is currently serving on the UEFA Referees Committee, is at the forum to explain some of the implications.
Luis Enrique arrived in Switzerland at around 10.30am CET and was transferred directly to the UEFA headquarters in Nyon. Before the meeting started at around 2.00pm CET, he was able to chat more informally to his fellow coaches over lunch.