Why are Barcelona and Manchester metropolis taking half in a nice at Camp Nou three weeks into the season?

Pep Guardiola returns to Camp Nou on Wednesday as his Premier League champions Manchester metropolis sort out LaLiga giants Barcelona in a nice match regardless of each golf equipment having kicked off their 2022-23 seasons weeks in the past.

metropolis are three matches into the title defence they started on Aug. 7, having misplaced to Liverpool at Wembley inside the neighborhood defend eight days beforehand on July 30, whereas Barca will play their third recreation of the season on Sunday in direction of exact Valladolid (stream stay at 1:30 p.m. ET on ESPN+ inside the U.S.). And earlier than that, each golf equipment travelled to the usa for his or her preseason excursions, racking up six video games between them throughout the Atlantic final month.

however they’ve nonetheless found time of their schedules to play in Wednesday’s match, which is for a worthy set off that is shut to Guardiola’s coronary heart as effectively as to all these involved with Barca.

pretty a bit has modified since metropolis final performed at Barcelona, the place Guardiola gained two Champions Leagues amongst 14 trophies all by way of his superb 4 years in cost from 2008-2012. On that event, in 2016, Lionel Messi struck a hat trick and Neymar added a late fourth after metropolis goalkeeper Claudio Bravo was despatched off early inside the second half in a Champions League group-stage recreation.

The golf equipment’ trajectories have gone in reverse instructions since then.

metropolis have gotten greater and greater beneath former Barca coach Guardiola, worthwhile the Premier League in 4 of the previous 5 seasons, although European success nonetheless eludes them.

Barca, in the meantime, have misplaced Messi and Neymar, racked up greater than €1 billion in debt and fallen away from Europe’s prime tier of golf equipment, worthwhile simply one Copa del Rey in the course of the previous three seasons. there might even be hope, although, after a summer season of extra spending, that they are in a place to reassert themselves as one in every of many continent’s best sides.

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Why are Barcelona and Man metropolis taking half in this match?

This nice was initially scheduled to happen final yr, however it was postponed consequently of coronavirus pandemic. The attendance would have been capped at 30,000, per native authorities restrictions on the time, and the golf equipment needed the sport to be performed in a full stadium — Camp Nou holds virtually a hundred,000.

that is as a consequence of the money raised from the sport will go in direction of evaluation into amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) inside the identify of Juan Carlos Unzue, who was recognized with the situation at first of 2020.

Barca and metropolis had appeared for a date in preseason, however summer season excursions overseas took precedence and it proved inconceivable to discover a day that labored for every teams. subsequently, they reached the marginally unusual willpower to maintain the match this Wednesday, although every facet have already started their home seasons.

who’s Juan Carlos Unzue?

Unzue is a former goalkeeper turned coach who spent most of his profession at Sevilla. He additionally has sturdy hyperlinks with Barcelona, the place he was the membership’s backup goalkeeper between 1988 and 1990, although it is as a coach that he is most famed at Camp Nou. He turned the goalkeeping coach for Frank Rijkaard’s Barca upon retirement and maintained that place beneath Guardiola.

He later tried his luck as supervisor at Numancia and Racing Santander earlier than altering into Luis Enrique’s assistant at Celta Vigo in 2013. He adopted Luis Enrique to Barca a yr later, the place they went on to win the Treble in 2015.

Following spells answerable for Celta and Girona, he was recognized with ALS in 2020, which is the most typical style of motor neurone illness.

Unzue, not often seen with no smile and now in a wheelchair, has been elevating money to fund ALS evaluation and Barca needed to play a job in that fundraising. metropolis, coached by Unzue’s buddy Guardiola, have been an apparent opponent and in addition a glamorous one when it includes producing curiosity.

Why are Barcelona the one membership to repeatedly play friendlies in the course of the season?

Barca have developed a behavior of taking half in friendlies at awkward instances, although it is usually to revenue their very personal coffers reasonably than to carry money for charity.

They ended final season with a go to to Australia to play an A-League All-Stars workforce in Sydney. That fixture was reportedly worth €5 million to the Catalan membership.

In December 2021, they travelled to Saudi Arabia to face Napoli inside the Diego Maradona Cup, after the loss of life of the Argentine forward the earlier yr. Two golf equipment the place he spent extra time than Barca, Argentinos Juniors and Boca Juniors, did not get an invite. It was one other money spinner for the Catalan membership.

In 2018, simply earlier than the tip of the season, Barca additionally organised a go to to South Africa to play Mamelodi Sundowns. Many nonetheless blame that fixture for costing Ernesto Valverde’s facet an unbeaten season. simply three days earlier, they misplaced their penultimate recreation of the season, which was their solely defeat in that advertising and marketing campaign, 5-4 to Levante. the approaching journey and contract stipulations about sure gamers having to play in South Africa was said to have been a distraction.

Barca additionally host the Joan Gamper Trophy yearly at Camp Nou, although that fixture comes the week earlier than the start of the mannequin new advertising and marketing campaign. Pumas UNAM, Juventus, Elche, Arsenal, Boca Juniors and Chapecoense are latest visitors.


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Pep Guardiola feels Erling Haaland has a very important deal of room to get even greater in his time at Manchester metropolis.

Will this influence the teams’ begins to the season?

Barca have a bloated squad so coach Xavi Hernandez might view this recreation favourably. It represents an alternative to current extra minutes to new signings Franck Kessie and Raphinha, who have been each substitutes inside the weekend win at exact Sociedad, and Jules Kounde, who’s simply not but registered to play in LaLiga consequently of spending cap imposed by the league.

Xavi might additionally take the likelihood to current some taking half in time to Gerard Pique, Sergi Roberto, Miralem Pjanic and completely different gamers who’ve not featured repeatedly inside the two LaLiga video games performed so far.

the exact actuality it is performed at Camp Nou might be a optimistic, as a consequence of it means no midweek travelling forward of exact Valladolid‘s go to on Sunday.

Guardiola might not have such a optimistic view on proceedings. metropolis had an inexperienced bench as they have been held three-three by Newcastle United on Sunday, although they have been nonetheless in a place to go away out gamers of the ilk of Riyad Mahrez and summer season signing Kalvin Phillips.

Like Xavi, then, Guardiola is liable to revenue from this fixture to get a greater take a look at Phillips, Julian Alvarez and new signing Sergio Gomez, a Barcelona academy product.

talking on the presentation of the sport again in June, Guardiola said he would discipline a sturdy facet and metropolis arrived in Girona, simply north of Barcelona, with all of their star gamers on Sunday.

a very important deal of focus will fall on metropolis midfielder Bernardo Silva. Barca have made no secret of their want to signal the participant — president Joan Laporta even made a joke of it at that presentation in June — however he shall be carrying metropolis blue on Wednesday. regardless of the Portugal worldwide telling ESPN’s Rob Dawson earlier this month that his future is not sure, metropolis say he is not liable to go away inside the summertime change window and Barca’s monetary place suggests they might not even be in a place to confirm metropolis’s stance.