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Assessing Barcelona’s Pre-Season

A look at Barcelona's warm up to the new season and how it compares to their rivals.

David Ramos

Barcelona started their pre-season with a trip to Huelva, a small city in the South of Spain, 568 miles away from the Camp Nou. This trip was largely made up of B-teamers and non-World Cup playing staff who came away with a 1-0 win. The team returned to Barcelona and continued training before soon being joined by the internationals who did not progress past the group stages of the tournament in Brazil.

This near full strength squad, minus the likes of Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano, will shortly travel to the North of England for a couple of days training at St George's Park, the facility used by the English National Team. Their time here will consist of two truing sessions per day with one press conference but no matches. This adds a further 808 miles to their travel.

From England they will travel to Nice, a 751 mile trip to the south of France were they will face Ligue 1 side OGC Nice. This will be Luís Enrique's second game in charge and his first outside of Spain. The team will then return home, taking 302 mile flight back to the Catalan capital.

After this game, the final four remaining internationals, Dani Alves, Neymar, Mascherano and Messi will be expected back at training. Neymar will continue to work on his rehabilitation but the other three will be expected to be fit for the game against Rafa Benítez's Napoli.

The game will take place in Switzerland's second most populous city, Geneva, and in the Stade de Genève which is Servette FC's home ground. This trip will add 384 miles to the pre-season journey meaning Barcelona will have racked up a total of 3,381 miles by early August.

Then comes the furthest fixture of Barca's pre-season, a game against HJK Hèlsinki in their home stadium, 1,233 miles away from Geneva. Barcelona will then travel back to the Camp Nou for their last pre-season game, the Joan Gamper Trophy against Club León.

This adds 1,617 miles to the trip and means Barcelona finish pre-season having clocked up 6,231 miles in total.

Now we will turn our eyes to Barcelona's biggest rival, Real Madrid. Los Blancos started their pre-season in rather different style to Barcelona, swapping the South of Spain for the West of the USA. The reigning European Champions trained at University of California, Los Angeles in a similar pattern to Barça with just the B-teamers and non-World Cup players there. Slowly the likes of Iker Casillas and Luka Modric joined. With the college coming at a total of 5,831 miles away from the Santiago Bernabéu, Real have almost dwarfed Barcelona's distance before a ball has been kicked.

That ball, will first be kicked at the California Memorial Stadium where they will face Inter Milan. This game is Madrid's opener of the International Champions Cup, which pits them against the likes of Manchester United and Roma. The first game comes 339 miles away from their college base.

Their next flight will be to Dallas and the Cotton Bowl stadium where they will face the Italian side Roma. This stadium is 1,501 miles away from their previous game and will be a stop-off point for their trip to the University of Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor. Here they will play their potentially final game against Manchester United. After this 2,043 mile trip they may make the 1,158 mile trip South to Miami should they reach the final of the competition.

After the competition of this tournament, Real Madrid could potentially have covered 10,872 miles after just five games. They will then travel back to Madrid before playing their first game in Europe. The game will be hosted in Warsaw and will see Madrid play Fiorentina. Madrid's final game comes at the Bernabéu against River Plate. This puts the grand total at 16,706 miles, over 2.5 times further then the ground covered by the Catalans.

Finally we will look at Madrid's cross-town rivals, Atlético. The reigning league Champions started their pre-season with a memorial game to Jesús Gil II, ex-President of the club. The game was played in El Burgo de Osma, 89 miles north of Madrid.

Atleti then followed a similar pattern to their neighbours and flew out to America and likewise they arrived in the West of the country, in Calafornia. A total of 5,800 miles separates Madrid and their destination where they will face the San José Earthquakes.

They will then be crossing the border to Mexico and arriving at the Estadio Azteca. This 1,854 mile trip will see them play Club América on the 31st of July. The team's next game will come back In Europe, this time at the İzmir Atatürk Stadium in Turkey. Diego Simeone's men will be playing Galatasaray, who finished second in their league last season.

Four days later, they will travel to the Volkswagen Arena to play German side Wolfsburg. Situated 1,247 miles away from the Turkish ground. Atleti's final pre-season game comes away to Cádiz CF in the South West of Spain. This final 604 round trip takes Atletico's total milage up to 18,054 miles, 1,348 more then Real and 11,823 more then Barça.


This table shows just how big the gap is between Barça's mileage covered and it's rivals. While this conservative approach may not bring in some of the financial benefits as a tour of America does, it should help Barcelona's players avoiding running out of steam towards the latter ends of the season.

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