The FC Barcelona already begins to prepare the next season. Once the League is over, the Blaugrana team will play this Wednesday, May 25, a friendly match against a team of stars from the Australian competition, the A-Leagues All Stars, just three days before the final that will determine the winner of the championship domestic.
The match will start at 12:05 p.m. (Spanish time) at the Accor Stadium in Sydney, Australia, and will be seen live on TV3, Barça TV and LaLiga Sports TV. You can also follow minute by minute on the La Vanguardia website.
The season has not been exactly peaceful for FC Barcelona. With a replacement on the bench included, the Blaugrana team finished runner-up in the league in a year in which they came to sail ninth. “We have saved a season that could have been disastrous. From now on, let's work”, detailed Xavi Hernández after the last day, in which the Catalans were defeated by Villarreal at the Camp Nou (0-2). And it is that the last section has been especially hard, with fatigue, mental and physical, very present.
A total of 20 players have been called up by Xavi Hernández for the trip to Australia, including the reserve team players Alejandro Balde, Álvaro Sanz, Arnau Tenas, Mika Mármol, Jandro Orellana and Antonio Aranda.
In the absence section, Ferran Torres stands out, who was unable to fly because he had not completed the vaccination schedule against covid on time, according to the club, while Neto and Lenglet were left out "for family reasons." In addition, Riqui Puig, Òscar Mingueza and Martin Braithwaite were called up by their respective national teams (the first two, for Catalonia; the third, with Denmark). Finally, Piqué, Dest, Nico, Pedri, Sergi Roberto and Eric Garcia also did not travel as they were out due to injury.
For its part, the list of summoned for the Australian team ascends to 30 men, chosen among the fans, the coach Dwight Yorke and the commissioner of the A-Leagues, Greg O'Rourke. Among the names, two footballers with vast experience in the Premier League stand out: Jack Rodwell, former center midfielder for Everton, Manchester City and Sunderland, among other clubs, and defender Adrian Mariappa (Watford, Reading and Crystal Palace). However, up to ten players could finally be ruled out, as they will play the match that will define the league champion this Saturday, May 28.
“We want to show the world what a tremendous amount of young talent we have in the A-Leagues,” Commissioner O'Rourke said, adding, “It's important that, in addition to our most decorated and experienced stars, we put the spotlight on our next generation."
Australian Professional Leagues chief executive Danny Townsend did not see the closeness between the friendly and the league final as a negative factor, but as an opportunity after three full seasons affected by covid. "One of the best teams in the world faces the best of the A-League a few days before the grand final, offering a football party for the fans," were his words.
This will be the first time that FC Barcelona travels to Australia in any of its sports disciplines. "The fact of being able to play this match will give us the opportunity to bring the club and its values closer to our fans", said Juli Guiu, vice president of the FC Barcelona marketing area. "It will also give us the opportunity for new audiences to get to know FC Barcelona and everything it represents, which have made it a benchmark entity on and off the pitch", he added.