The boys are back in town.
The Catalan giants shone bright in front of an excited Camp Nou. In the annual Joan Gamper Cup friendly match, the Mexican League champions, Club Leon, fell to Barcelona by a score of 6-0. Previous friendlies have given Barca fans very little to cheer about. In their final friendly before the commencement of La Liga, an anemic attack that was led by Barca B players evolved into a beautiful display of sharp passing and neat touches thanks to the return of Barcelona’s World Cup heroes.
Lionel Messi and Neymar Jr. both pulled on the red and blue stripes of Barcelona for the first time since rejoining the club. It did not take long for the club’s biggest stars to make their presence felt. The fantastic duo scored the opening three goals of the match and provided the spark that FC Barcelona had lacked all preseason. La Pulga and the dynamic Brazilian star showed great chemistry. Their combination play left the Mexican side’s defense tangled up and left in heaps on the pitch.
It wasn’t just the old faces that excited the Catalan fans. New additions to Luis Enrique’s side were especially impressive. Ivan Rakitic, the Croatian midfielder, was absolutely brilliant in the midfield. The former Sevilla man worked box to box as he let fly a myriad of majestic long passes. Enrique has found himself a gem in Rakitic who has shown that he fits perfectly into the side. The other new boy, Jeremy Mathieu, was given the start alongside Javier Mascherano in the defense and provided excellent defensive cover. His large stature on the pitch combined with his speed and tackling abilities has been what was missing from Barcelona defenses of the past.
Cules who have followed La Masia teams the past few years were not surprised when Munir El Haddadi scored a brace. Munir, the 18-year-old Spanish international, was decisive in the final third, finishing both of his chances on goal. The youngster scored some spectacular goals for Barca B last season and today showed that his skills in the second tier of Spanish soccer could translate to the next level. Enrique has told the press that he plans to use Barca B players like Munir during the 2014/2105 La Liga campaign.
The fans, who came in droves to the Camp Nou, were undoubtedly most excited to see the controversial striker known as Luis Suarez. The fantastic goal scorer has been drowned in controversy since his biting incident with Giorgio Chiellini. FIFA handed the prolific goal scorer a four month ban from all soccer related activities. However, the new ruling in his case allowed him to appear in friendly matches until his ban has run its course. Suarez received thunderous applause as he trotted onto the pitch in the 75th minute. Although his touches on the ball few, fans were excited to see their big signing in the Barca colors.
The Gamper Cup surely left Barcelona fans buzzing with excitement after a long and arduous preseason. Heroes returned, new signings stood out, youngsters impressed and Luis Suarez made his Barcelona debut. All in all a great day for the Spanish club.