After the pre-season in Europe last year, this year it was time for a trip to the States. The team travelled to New York on the 20th of July and received a warm welcome from the American fans.
Barcelona began their pre-season against a Juventus side who also played their first game of the season. Juventus who began the game without key players like Dybala, Pjanic and Alex Sandro seemed stunned by the high pressure and quick passing of the Barcelona players who didn’t seem to have done anything but play ball during their summer break.
And it didn’t take long for the Blaugrana to break the deadlock when Neymar received a pass from Messi in the 15th minute and then played a simple one-two with Paco, Neymar then held off Lichtsteiner as he controlled the ball once again and finished the move off brilliantly by putting the ball in the top corner.
But the Brazilian wasn’t done there as he seemed hungry to prove his worth after having been linked with a record-breaking move to PSG. He received another ball from the Argentinian magician and then took on FIVE players before smashing the ball past Gigi Buffon.
Ernesto Valverde who must have been pleased with what he saw during his first half of football in charge of Barcelona decided to field an entirely new eleven for the second half. That didn’t seem to change the momentum of the game as Barca played another solid half of football. But even though they played well they didn’t manage to score and instead they could see Giorgio Chiellini, who among other stars had been subbed on for the second half, rise up for a header and reduce the Catalans’ lead to one goal and that was also how the game ended.
Personally I was particularly impressed by youngsters Samper, Alena and Denis Suarez aswell as the more experienced Iniesta and Mascherano. Neymar was given the MVP award which was very deserved after his sparkling performance.
The pre-season was then continued with a game against Manchester United. The Red Devils lined up with a strong eleven after their penalty shootout victory over Real Madrid a few days ago.
However there were less talking points in this game compared to the one against Juventus as the first and only goal was scored by Neymar in the 31st minute after Valencia fell over in the box which allowed the Brazilian to controll the ball and calmly put the ball in De Gea’s bottom left. De Gea who stood for a few exceptional saves prevented the Catalans to score more than one.
For the second half Valverde decided to once again field an entirely new eleven, this time with the exception of Cillessen who protected the goal for the full 90 minutes. Samper was subbed on in the 85th minute and didn’t really have the time to show what he’s got.
From this game I’d say that Cillessen and Umtiti had particularly good performances while Turan stood for an absolutely awful performance, I actually struggle when trying to remember him make one successful pass.
In other news Bartomeu came out and said that it’s Neymar’s own decision whether he goes to PSG or not after he said not too long ago that Neymar 100% will stay at Barcelona. I mean times change quickly so that might explain his change in words, but if times change quickly I hope our president can do similarly, be exchanged quickly!