Rafinha rejoins team-mates for the first of Thursday’s two training sessions
After the second group of players reported back to work after their summer break, Luis Enrique was able to work on Thursday morning with 23 players on the Tito Vilanova field at the Ciutat Esportiva. The players that featured in the Copa America (Dani Alves, Neymar Jr, Bravo, Mascherano and Messi), plus Ter Stegen who was involved in the European U21 Championship, are the only members of the first team that are not back yet.
And it’s a special day for Sergio Busquets, who is 27 today, and the players all made a point of congratulating their colleague before getting down to work. Rafinha, who did separate exercises on Wednesday, was back with the rest of his team-mates this morning, while the first team players were also joined by Barça B’s Gumbau, Samper and José Suárez.
The team will meet for a second session later on in the day at 6.30pm CET as they get ready to fly out to the United States for the first three friendlies ahead of the 2015/16 season.
Here’s the schedule for what remains of the first week of the preseason (all times CET):
6.30pm: Training at the Ciutat Esportiva
9.30am: Training at the Ciutat Esportiva
6.30pm: Training at the Ciutat Esportiva
The two new signings for the 2015/16 season together for the first time at the Ciutat Esportiva
The two members of the Barça first team squad for the 2015/16 season are fully down to work. Aleix Vidal arrived back from holiday on Wednesday and after a morning of medical and fitness tests, he joined his new team-mates for the evening training session at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper. It was there that he crossed paths for the first time for the other new signing, Arda Turan.
The Turk, who arrives after four seasons at Atlético Madrid, has been training with Luis Enrique since Monday. Meanwhile, Vidal, signed on June 7 from Sevilla, had extra two days of vacation because he was on international duty for Spain at the end of last season, along with five of his new Barça colleagues (Bartra, Piqué, Jordi Alba, Busquets and Pedro) as well as Ivan Rakitic, who played a game for Croatia.
All the attention
Aleix Vidal and Arda Turan were the players most in the spotlight for Wednesday evening’s training session, the first 15 minutes of which were open to the media. The pair looked fully settled into the routine of things as the squad went through the usual warm-up exercises, and once the session was over, posed for one of the photos of the day. Barça 2015/16 is taking shape.
Bartra, Piqué, Sergio, Alba, Pedro, Aleix Vidal and Rakitic all involved in Wednesday’s second session, but Rafinha away doing specific exercises
All of Bartra, Piqué, Sergio, Alba, Pedro, Aleix Vidal and Rakitic were back at training on Wednesday afternoon. The seven players have reported back for work slightly later than those that started on Monday because they had international matches at the end of last season.
They spent the morning taking medical and fitness tests and in the afternoon it was time for them to get their boots back on and report to the Tito Vilanova field at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper. This was therefore the first time ever that Aleix Vidal has trained with the FC Barcelona first team.
In addition to the new faces, the session also involved 13 first team and 3 reserve team players that have been training since Monday. The only one of those who was absent this afternoon was Rafinha, who did specific work in the gym.
Now that the second group of players are back, the only ones that are still missing are those that took part in the Copa America in Chile, Dani Alves, Neymar Jr, Javier Mascherano, Leo Messi and Claudio Bravo, and goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen, who played for Germany at the European U21 Championship.
First 15 minutes of FC Barcelona’s preseason training session from Tito Vilanova pitch
Follow the first 15 minutes of FC Barcelona’s preseason training session from Tito Vilanova pitch.
Barça face the UEFA and Spanish Super Cups, as well as the first three games in La Liga
Two friendles as well
In addition, there will be two friendly matches. Barça face Fiorentina at the Artemio Franchi stadium on 2 August and then, three days later, make their 2015/16 Camp Nou debut for the Joan Gamper Trophy versus Roma.
With the confirmation of the dates of the Spanish Super Cup and the La Liga schedule, Luis Enrique and his squad now know they will play six official matches during the month of August in three competitions. Beginning on 11 August with the UEFA Super Cup in Tbilisi, Georgia through the final weekend of the month, FC Barcelona will have a stretch of 19 days during which they can win two titles and bag the first 9 points in La Liga.
First stop, Tbilisi
As the winner of the 2014/15 UEFA Champions League, Barça will face Sevilla — the winner of last season’s UEFA Europa League. Luis Enrique’s team will try to add their fourth title of 2015 and to achieve what would be the fifth European Super Cup in Club history.
Spanish Super Cup
With little time for rest, Barça, as the 2014/15 La Liga champions, will get their second chance at a title this season in the Spanish Super Cup against Athletic Club Bilbao, the finalists of the last season’s Spanish Cup. The Spanish Super Cup is disputed over two legs, this year coming in just four days, on 14 and 17 August. The first leg is at San Mamés and the second at Camp Nou.
Three in La Liga
The final week of August will bring the first three league games of the 2015/16 season. The weekend of 22–23 August will have Barça facing Athletic Club once again, this time in their league debut at San Mamés. Match day two in La Liga comes on the weekend of 29–30 August when Málaga visit Camp Nou. In between those two matches, Barça play in advance their game scheduled for match day 10 at Getafe, which was moved up to accommodate Barça’s trip to the FIFA Club World Cup, to be held in Japan from 10–20 December.