Luis Enrique has started to recover the players that have spent the last week away on international duty for their countries, meaning he can really start working for the Clásico on Saturday against Real Madrid. On Wednesday, he was able to welcome back Spanish stars Gerard Piqué, Jordi Alba, Andrés Iniesta, Sergio Busquets and Marc Bartra, as well as Belgium’s Thomas Vermaelen, whose game in Brussels on Tuesday ended up being cancelled.
Luis Suárez made his Barça debut in the Clásico last season, and now he’s looking forward to a second chance to wear the colours at the Santiago Bernabéu: "It’s very special to play there" he told his Wednesday press conference. "It’s such an important occasion. When you appear in a Clásico it feels that you’re living a dream that every footballer aspires to."
This Saturday's meeting, the first of the season, probably will see Messi miss out through injury. So advantage Real, right? Not exactly. Amazingly, Barcelona possess the league's two top goal scorers even without their wonderful Argentine No. 10. Even more significant, both Neymar and Luis Suarez have been playing the best football of their Barcelona careers.
Neymar’s father and agent will seek legal and tax assurances for his son before the Brazil captain commits his long-term future to Barcelona. The defending Spanish and European champions are in talks with Neymar over an extension to his contract, which has less than three years left to run.
Tata Martino’s Albiceleste had yet to pick up three points in the CONMEBOL section after one defeat and two draws in their opening three games. Mascherano’s midfield partner Lucas Biglia scored the game’s only goal on 20 minutes after neat approach play from Ezequiel Lavezzi on the wing. Colombia piled on the pressure in the second half in search of a leveller but were unable to find the finishing touch to earn a point.
The United States ambassador to Spain and Andorra, James Costos, joined by the consul general of the United States in Barcelona, Marcos Mandojana, paid a visit to the Camp Nou on Tuesday. The two diplomats were welcomed by the Club president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, along with the first vice-president Jordi Cardoner; international and institutional vice-president Carles Vilarrubí; and the marketing and communication vice-president Manel Arroyo.
Even with eleven outstanding international players, FC Barcelona's first team continued training for this weekend's El Clásico, set for Saturday at the Santiago Bernabéu. All available players from the first team trained on Tuesday morning out on Tito Vilanova Field at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper. It was a joint session with players from Barça B and the Under-19 team.
Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo is not having his best season with Los Blancos. Apart from the constant speculation about his future, his form is bad as well. The Clasico against FC Barcelona could be the best place to put his ghosts to bed. However, the precedents don't suit him.
Patrick Kluivert is ready to begin a coaching career in club football and hopes to one day emulate Luis Enrique as head coach at Barcelona. Kluivert played alongside Luis Enrique during his six seasons at Camp Nou and says returning there to follow in his former team-mate's footsteps is his long-term goal.