Zlatan Ibrahimovic made his Barcelona debut in the Joan Gamper Trophy, coming on as a second-half substitute in Barca's 1-0 defeat to Manchester City back in 2009, and now, four years later, Barcelona's record-breaking signing Neymar prepares to make his first start for the Blaugrana in the very same competition, this time against his former club, Santos. Hopefully, the end result will be a little more favourable for the hosts in a match that will also be remembered as the debut of new coach Gerardo Martino. While Martino is not "new" to the role, he has passed up the opportunity to coach the team against both Valerenga and Lechia Gdansk. Will his presence and impact on the team be worth the wait?
Martino has certainly said the right things in each of press conferences, and if he's true to his word, the club should be in good shape for the foreseeable future. However, Rome wasn't built in a day; we have to give Martino time to work his magic.
And the same applies to Neymar; just a few months ago, Neymar was playing for Santos in the Sao Paulo state tournament, and now he's at Barcelona, ready to take on the giants of World Football. We're all confident in his abilities to make the step up; but again, we shouldn't expect instant magic from the Brazilian -- even if Lionel Messi scored 38 goals in a season at the same age.
With that in mind, should we be expecting a Barcelona win tonight? Or will Santos win to ensure that the Joan Gamper Trophy stays out of Catalunya for a second successive season (for the first time since 1993/94)? Predict the score of tonight's match by commenting with your prediction below. Best of luck!