Luis Enrique & Berizzo: From field to bench

Luis Enrique and Eduardo Berizzo are two of the youngest managers in La Liga
The FC Barcelona and Celta Vigo managers are both in charge of teams they once played for

For four seasons they were both Liga players, but only faced each other once, and one other time in the UEFA Cup

On Saturday, the Camp Nou brings together two members of the younger generation of coaches, Luis Enrique and Eduardo Berizzo, who are in charge of FC Barcelona and Celta Vigo, respectively. It’s not that long since either of them hung up their boots, and now they are back at clubs where they made their names as players.

Two head-to-heads

In their days at Barça and Celta, Luis Enrique and Berizzo spent four years competing against each other in La Liga. The Argentinian, after shining in the ranks of River Plate, was brought to Galicia for the 2000/01 season. And that was the only year that he and Luis Enrique played in the same match. It happened twice, first in the quarter final second leg of the UEFA Cup, after Luis Enrique had sat out the 2-1 win at the Camp Nou. At Balaídos, they were both on the pitch, and although Celta won 3-2, Barça progressed by virtue of the away goals rule.

Shortly after, Celta returned to the Camp Nou for a Liga fixture that ended 1-1. Berizzo played all 90 minutes, while Luis Enrique was substituted after 82. This was one of the finest Celta teams ever, that year achieving what would be the fourth of a run of six straight top ten finishes. But although they would play Barça several times again, it so happens that Luis Enrique and Berizzo would never be on the pitch at the same time again.

Managing well

After retiring as players, Luis Enrique and Eduardo Berizzo both embarked on managerial careers. The former gained his first experience at Barça B, then AS Roma, and finally Celta, before coming back to the Camp Nou at the start of the current season. And the man who replaced him in Vigo was none other than Berizzo, who before that had coached Estudiantes in his native Argentina before leading O’Higgins to the Chilean championship.

Fourteen years after playing against each other in Barça and Celta shirts, the two managers are now set to face each other again, with the same teams, but in a very different role.

FC Barcelona – Celta de Vigo: TICKETS por fcbarcelona

Catalan Super Cup highlights

Piqué headed home Barça's first half opener / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB
Recap of Wednesday night’s action in Girona, where FC Barcelona beat RCD Espanyol to win the Catalan title on penalties

Barça won 4-2 on penalties in the Catalan Super Cup match with Espanyol. Here’s a recap of the best of the action from this evening’s game in Girona.

In three minutes, you can admire Luis Suárez’s cunning loft onto Piqué’s head to put Barça in control, and see how Arbilla got Espanyol back level with a well-taken free kick. It ended up going to penalties, with Ivan Rakitic being the man who converted the decisive kick to win the trophy for Barcelona!

FC Barcelona win Catalan Super Cup (1-1, 4-2 on pens)

El Barça, campió de la Supercopa de Catalunya. FOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB.
FC Barcelona have beaten Espanyol 4-2 on penalties to win the first ever Catalan Super Cup

The game ended 1-1 after 90 minutes. Gerard Piqué headed Barça into the lead, but an Arbilla free kick got Espanyol back level

FC Barcelona won the first ever edition of the Catalan Super Cup at the Estadi Montilivi in Girona this evening after the game with RCD Espanyol ended 1-1 after 90 minutes. Luis Enrique’s side dominated from start to finish but were unable to add to a Gerard Piqué header after 15 minutes. Espanyol pulled back through Arbilla shortly after the break, and with no further scoring the game went to penalties. The shootout went Barça’s way, as it also had against the same side in the last two finals of the Copa Catalunya.

Suárez magic

Luis Enrique had promised to take the game seriously and he did, starting with nine first team players, including Pedro wearing the captain’s armband, Jordi Masip getting his first start since the preseason and Luis Suarez leading the attack. And it was the Uruguayan who got the first chance of the night when Sergi Roberto laid him up with a header on 8 minutes. Two minutes later and it was Suarez who was doing the laying up, and in brilliant style. Inside the six-yard box and when it looked like the best option was to shoot, he deftly lofted the ball over the head of Espanyol keeper Pau to pick out Gerard Piqué, and the centre back nodded home at the far post.

Barça were in absolute domination of the ball, although real chances to extend on their lead were seriously lacking. All the same, it took 41 minutes for Masip to get the chance to show his worth, and he certainly showed that worth by defying Víctor Álvarez in a one-on-one.

Espanyol bite back

Both sides made wholesale changes after the break, and a considerably livelier Espanyol managed to get back on level terms after just five minutes. Arbilla executed such a perfect free-kick that there was next to nothing that Masip could have done about it. The Barça keeper was again called upon to prevent Jairo from heading home a corner after 68 minutes, and produced the best save of the evening when Abraham volleyed inside the area in the final minutes.

Barça had their fair share of chances in the second half too. The best fell to Munir, who couldn’t quite get enough on a terrific through ball from Xavi, and to Halilovic, who ended a fine solo run with a shot that skimmed narrowly wide of the Espanyol post.

Shootout kings

But there would be no further scoring, and after 90 minutes, the game went straight into a penalty shootout. There were worried looks on the Barça faces when their second kick, taken by Sandro, was saved. But Espanyol missed their next two, leaving it all down to Ivan Rakitic to convert the decisive penalty to ensure that the brand new Catalan Super Cup trophy will be going on display in the FCB Museum.

First team poses for official photograph

Today was the day to take the official Barça 2014/15 photograph. PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB.
There was plenty of fun and laughter during Wednesday morning’s photo shoot at the Camp Nou

This Wednesday morning it was time for the first team players to gather on the Camp Nou pitch for the official 2014/15 photo session. The day started with the players donning the official Replay uniforms, and after that the first team kit. President Josep Maria Bartomeu was also there for the photo shoot, and there was a jovial atmosphere all round as the players tried their hardest to look their best for the cameras.

The players also posed for pictures for Audi, FC Barcelona’s Partner Premium, with an Audi TT Coupé appearing next to them on the field.

This was the first set of official pictures with Luis Enrique as manager, as well as all of the new inclusions made to the squad during the close season.

FC Barcelona v RCD Espanyol: Derby night

Luis Suárez has been named in the squad that faces Espanyol. PHOTO: GERMÁN PARGA-FCB.
9.30 PM CET: FC Barcelona and RCD Espanyol meet in the first ever edition of the Catalan Super Cup

FC Barcelona and RCD Espanyol meet this evening at 9.30 PM CET in the Estadi Montilivi (Girona) in the first ever edition of the Catalan Super Cup. The meeting between the two biggest clubs in Catalonia comes after neither side managed to collect three points at the weekend. Barça were beaten 3-1 in the Clasico with Real Madrid, while Espanyol played out a dull 0-0 draw at home to Deportivo.

The tournament has been created as a complement to the Copa Catalunya and features Catalonia’s two top flight clubs, while lower division teams will continue to battle for the former trophy (along with the Barça and Espanyol reserve teams). Using the old format, FC Barcelona won the title eight times compared to Espanyol’s six.

20 named in squad

Luis Enrique made it clear in his Tuesday press conference that he’s taking his team to Girona “to try to win the game and the trophy.” He’s included thirteen first team players in his squad, along with seven from Barça B. The full twenty reads as follows: Ter Stegen, Masip, Montoya, Piqué, Rakitic, Xavi, Pedro, Luis Suárez, Rafinha, Bartra, Jordi Alba, Sergi Roberto, Adriano (who has been declared fully fit), Samper, Sandro, Munir , Adama, Grimaldo, Halilovic and Edgar Ié.

Each side can make up to nine substitutions, but can only make changes three times during the game.

Espanyol missing Sergio García

The ‘budgies’ will be travelling without their star striker Sergio García, who is out with a hamstring injury. Espanyol celebrated their 114th anniversary on Tuesday and are tenth in La Liga after conceding just two goals in their last five games.

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