Yes, it's the off-season. Actually, the off-season began weeks ago, but sadly we are not even close the halfway point of the part of the year that has football fans scratching their heads while searching the TV channels for something interesting to watch.
Among the players this is the period when they can enjoy their some well deserved time off. Some players will have to end their holiday earlier in order join their national teams, while some get to rest longer.Players that will have the busiest off-season are those from South America as they have the Copa América to play for (July 1 to July 24) and players selected to the U-21 European Championships.
Ten players have been selected to those competitions. Lionel Messi, Gabriel Milito and Javier Mascherano will help Argentina in the Copa América, while Daniel Alves and Adriano Correia will play for Brazil in the same competition. The five players that will represent Barcelona in Denmark with Spain's U-21 team are Bojan Krkić, Jeffren, Thiago, Martin Montoya and Rubén Miño
FC Barcelona have already mapped out their off-season schedule and we are still 41 days away from the first preseason game. But first players have to report back to the Catalan capital and that will happen on 18 July 2011. From that point on Blaugrana will have a few days less than one month to prepare for their first official game of the new season.
There will be six friendly games in that time period, the first one coming on July 23, just five days after players return from their holidays. The game will be played in Split, Croatia against Hajduk Split as part of the club's centenary celebrations.
Three days later Barcelona will travel to Munich where they will join Sport Club International, Bayern München and AC Milan in the fight for the Audi Cup. In the first game on July 26 Barcelona will play International. If Barça win they will face the winner of the Bayern-Milan match in the Final. In case of a loss against Internatinal, Barça will face off with the loser of the other match in the game for 3rd place. Win or lose the first game the second one will be played on July 27.
Barcelona will then go on an USA tour where they will face Manchester United (July 30), Chivas de Guadalajara (August 3) and Club América (August 6). Culés know the first team very well as Barcelona beat them twice in the Champions League Final in the last three seasons. The last two aren't that familiar to European football fans, but both are well known Mexican Primera División sides. The three games will be played in NFL stadiums in Landover, Maryland, Miami, Florida and Arlington, Texas.
Before Barça begin their 2011-12 La Liga campaign on 21 August, they will play their first two official games of the new season. On August 14 they will play Real Madrid at the Bernabeu in the first leg of the Supercopa de España and just three days later the return leg will be played at the Camp Nou, to determine who will hoist the first piece of silverware of the season.
Five days after the new season is set to begin, on 26 August, Barcelona will play FC Porto in the UEFA Super Cup.
So there you have it. Plan your holidays accordingly.
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