Goals from Puyol, Messi (2), Pedro and Villa gave Barça an emphatic win in Tito Vilanova’s opening league game tonight

Puyol opened the scoring with a header after just three minutes

The Basques drew level six minutes later through Chory Castro

Barça hit back with two goals from Leo Messi to make it 3-1 within the first 15 minutes

Pedro and the returning Villa rounded off the scoring with goals at the end of each half

Tito Vilanova made a great start to his time in charge of the team after Pep Guardiola’s departure with an emphatic 5-1 defeat of Real Sociedad with Puyol, Messi (2), Pedro and Villa – back from injury- scoring the goals. It was a dream start to the season for Barça who made their intentions clear from the off – now bring on the Gamper and Madrid in the Super Cup!

Electric start

After just three minutes of the new season kicking off at the Nou Camp, Barça were one up when Puyol headed home a Xavi corner. Real then put in their best period of the game and almost immediately Illarremendi nearly equalised before he set up Chory Castro who made no mistake – two goals within 9 minutes.

Messi brace

There was no time to reflect on that equaliser though – as two minutes later Leo Messi found a space amongst the Real defenders to open his league account – which he then doubled, putting away a Tello cross to make it 3-1 after just 15 minutes. Both Tello and Pedro were creating danger down the flanks and causing all sorts of problems for the Real defence and just before the break, the two combined just to make it four as the Spanish international put away another cross from the youngster from deep. It really couldn’t have got any better from the Barça attack in the first 45 minutes.

Villa back in style

With Piqué on for Puyol at the start of the second half, Real came close to a second, but Messi was constantly threatening and looking likely to score. Iniesta came on for Cesc and David Villa received a tremendous ovation as he warmed up on the sidelines.

With fifteen minutes left, Tito sent Villa on and in a fairy tale ending he combined wonderfully with Alba to fire home for Barça’s fifth and confirm the promising sensations at the Camp Nou tonight.

Five fatal minutes doom the FC Barcelona Women's team against FFC Frankfurt (8-1)

Women's team are defeated in Germany  / PHOTO: www.osthessen-sport.de
In a charity match in Germany, Xavi Llorens’ players lost to the runner up of the European Cup and the seven-time German League champion, FFC Frankfurt

Sonia Bermúdez scored the only goal for the Azulgranas


FFC Frankfurt: Schumann (Angerer); Kulig ( Herbert), Weber, Huth ( Behringer), Garefrekes, Bajramaj (Wich), Peter, Schmidt (Krieger), Bartusiak, Bretigny, Smisek.

FC Barcelona: Ràfols; Escribano, Melanie, Unzué, Miriam, Sònia Bermúdez, Vaitiare Robles, Putellas, Gemma Gili, Torrecilla, Olga Garcia, Laura Gómez, Leila Ouahabi, Corredera, Férez, Sullastres, Gutierrez.

Goals: 1-0 Sandrine Bretigne, min 19; 2-0 Sandrine Bretigne, min 22; 2-1 Sonia Bermúdez, min 52; 3-1 Kerstin Garefrekes, min 66, 4-1 Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic, min 68; 5-1 Bianca Schmdit, min 69; 6-1 Simone Laudehr, min 70; 7-1 Jessica Wich, min 74; 8-1 Kerstin Garefrekes, min 89.

Excessive punishment for Xavi Llorens’ players, who lost 8-1 in a charity match against the European Cup runner-up, FFC Frankfurt. FC Barcelona’s Women’s A team took to the soggy pitch in front of 1,200 spectators this morning and were able to put up a fight for the opening 30 minutes but the experienced Germans pinned Barça back with two early goals. Bretigne notched a brace for her side thanks to assists from Schmidt and Peter.

Frankfurt reacts to Sonia’s goal

At the start of the second half, Sonia Bermúdez pulled a goal back for Barça’s Women’s team, but FFC Frankfurt smashed all hopes of a comeback with four goals in five minutes.

It all happened from the 66th minute to the 70th, after Xavi Llorens subbed in most of his bench, Garafrekes, Ana-María, Schmidt and Simone Laudehr put the game beyond reach of the visiting side.

There was more bad news to come for the visiting side, however. With 6-1 on the scoreboard, the home side scored two more goals. Wich and Garefrekes made it 8-1.

Week 1: Spotlight on Real Sociedad

Cales Puyol in last year's match against Real Sociedad/ Photo - Miguel Ruiz - FCB
Real Sociedad, based in the Basque city of Donosti, or San Sebastian, finished 12th in the league last season and enjoyed two good results against Barça, drawing 2-2 in Anoeta and losing just 2-1 in Barcelona

Squad strengthened

Boss  Philippe Montanier has strengthened his squad this summer with the addition José Ángel and the Uruguayan midfielder ‘Chory’ Castro, as well as signing the Mexican Carlos Vela from Arsenal after his successful loan period which included 12 goals for the Basques last season.

Attacking quality

These signings, combined with the experience of Bravo, Prieto and Mikel González and the promise of youngsters like Griezmann, Iñigo Martínez or Rubén Pardo have created an optimism amongst the fans as they go into their third season back in the top flight. In attack, Real have a host of good ball playing options – Prieto, Griezmann, Agirretxe, Ifrán, Chory Castro and Vela. They may notice the loss of the veteran Aranbua, but Montanier has brought through a host of young players with the exciting Iñigo Martínez  aiming to supply solidity at full back. Behind the defence – possibly Real’s weakest line – is the experienced Claudio Bravo who has spent seven seasons at the club and made the keeper’s gloves his own.

Montanier: “Barça have so much talent”

Montanier was naturally cautious ahead of the game, but claimed: “we are impatient to start the campaign after seven weeks working hard in pre-season. This will be one of the hardest matches of the whole season, but we are perfectly prepared”. The Frenchman showed last season that his team can worry Barça and he explained: “Barcelona will have possession because they have so much talent all over the pitch, but anything is possible over 90 minutes – difficult, but not impossible – we have prepared the game with the intention of coming away with something positive. The key to that is being efficient in attack and defence. If you aren’t, then it is difficult to get a result anywhere, but particularly against Barça who are so strong at home”.

“The best team in the world”

Defender Ansotegi echoed his boss, claiming: “Barça are better than us, but they can always have an off day”, whilst new signing Jose Angel reckons : “it’s a good time to play Barça, because they may be not quite up to their best. We’ll do our best and look for a positive result – they are the best team n the world, but they aren’t unbeatable and Real have top quality players who can cause them problems”.

Tito Vilanova's Barça will make its official Liga debut this evening at 21.00 (C+)

Tito Vilanova’s Barça will face Real Sociedad this evening (21.00, C+) in the Club’s Liga debut. The manager’s challenge is clear: maintain the level of success of recent years

Cuenca, Abidal, Muniesa and Thiago do not have the medical green light to play, while the FC Barcelona’s newest player, Alex Song, won’t be presented until Monday

Football is back 86 days after last season’s Copa del Rey Final. Tito Vilanova’s FC Barcelona will make its debut this evening (21.00, C+) in the Liga and it will also be the team’s first official match of the season. The match is against Real Sociedad, a team that denied Barça the three points at the beginning of last season when both side drew two-all at Anoeta. It will be, therefore, a tricky start for Vilanova, whose project has generated quite a bit of excitement among the Barça faithful. Vilanova’s challenge is clear: maintain the level of success of recent years.

The run-up to the season

The Azulgrana pre-season, just as Vilanova said on Saturday, invites optimism. The team played five friendlies this summer, won three of them, against Hamburg (1-2), Raja Casablanca (0-8) and Dinamo Bucharest, and drew twice, against PSG (2-2) and Manchester United (0-0). Now that the pre-season is over, it’s time for the first important matches of the year.

Alex Song

For the first match of the season, Vilanova will be without a couple of his players. Cuenca, Abidal, Muniesa and Thiago do not have the medical green light to play, while the team’s newest signing, Alex Song, will undergo his medical on Monday before he signs his contract. Therefore, the manager will have 21 footballers at his disposal, including the two Barça B players Tello and Sergi Roberto. The match against Real could also see Jordi Alba make his official debut for the Club.

Dangerous Real Sociedad

FC Barcelona’s first La Liga game of the year will be against one of last season’s most dangerous teams, Real Sociedad. The Basque side finished 12th last year, and was led by the young Carlos Vela and Antoine Griezmann. The two players stayed on with Real, and the club boast a couple of new faces, like José Ángel (on loan from Roma) and Chori Castro (from Mallorca). Just like last year, Phillippe Montanier will attempt to put a damper on FC Barcelona’s opening act in La Liga.

FC Barcelona and Arsenal FC have agreed to terms for the Cameroon international Alex Song

Alex Song / PHOTO: Arsenal
FC Barcelona has agreed a deal with Arsenal FC for the transfer of Alex Song to the Camp Nou. The fee is 19 million euros

The Cameroon international midfielder will sign for the next five seasons with a release clause of 80 million euros

On Monday he’ll have a medical and then join the rest of the squad for the official team presentation at the Gamper

FC Barcelona and Arsenal FC have reached an agreement for the transfer of Alex Song for 19 million euros.  The player will sign a contract for the next five seasons with a release clause of 80 million.

The schedule for his presentation is as follows:

Monday, 20th August

 • 09.30: Photo session in front of the Club offices

•  10.00: Medical at the Hospital de Barcelona                                                

•   Following that, a medical at the Joan Gamper Sports City

• 17.00: Signing of contract at the Club offices

• Immediately after that, a photo session in front of the offices with Club president Sandro Rosell

• 21.10: In the Camp Nou, presentation with the rest of the first team squad at the Joan Gamper Trophy


Tuesday, 21st August

• 12.00: Presentation press conference in the Paris Room.