Luis Enrique held the final training session before the game on Tuesday morning, with all of the available first team players in attendance on the Tito Vilanova field at the Ciutat Esportiva. And although he usually prefers not to reveal his squad decisions until the morning of the game, this time he opted to make the announcement a day early. And the big news is that both Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal, now that the FIFA ban in including new players has terminated, have both been picked for the first time and are in line to make their long-awaited debuts at the Camp Nou.
Today was a day to remember for plenty of young FC Barcelona fans as the players and staff did the rounds of the local hospitals, delivering gifts to children that will be spending January 6 away from their families. In Catalonia, Epiphany is the traditional day for giving presents, when the Three Kings arrive from the Orient on their camels. But as part of a project organised by the FC Barcelona Foundation, the players also do their bit to put smiles on the faces of their supporters, traditionally on the afternoon after the open doors training session at the Miniestadi, which attracted over 10,000 people to the ground.
FC Barcelona has once again been honoured by the IFFHS (International Federation of Football History & Statistics), with both Leo Messi and Luis Enrique picking up awards following another remarkable year in which the club won five out of a possible six major trophies.
FC Barcelona has received the support of the fans at the start of 2016 in their traditional open door training session before the arrival of the Three Kings on 6 January, an important date in Catalonia when children receive their seasonal presents. Luis Enrique’s squad carried out a session in preparation for a week in which they have a Copa del Rey game against Espanyol and a league game against Granada. They were not alone as more than 10,000 fans turned up at the Miniestadi to follow the first team’s work out.
What's the point of being the world's best footballer if you can't use your talents to humiliate your friends? Barcelona's Lionel Messi took some time in training to consider how best to trick his Argentina teammate Javier Mascherano and decided to go for the old-fashioned nutmeg.
Touted as the Korean Lionel Messi, Barcelona’s Lee Seung-Woo joined the club’s youth ranks back in 2011 and looks set to finally pen an official contract with the club this week. Standing at 170cm tall with tremendous speed and a great appetitie for goals, the 17-year-old has been compared to both the Argentine and Neymar, with Koreans believeing he may be world football’s next rising star.
"I had a contract at Barcelona, and they wanted me to continue, but I felt like I had lost prominence and I wanted to get it back at another club. I went because of that," he told beIN Sport. "I have always said playing with [Lionel] Messi was fantastic. I just decided to leave because I lost my spot. I always tried to be a realist about where I was, where I could reach, but I lost game time and I wasn't playing because of technical decisions. The easy way would have to stay at Barcelona and win titles but I wanted to be on the pitch. I looked for an exit."
Luis Enrique will wait until the summer to get Nolito from Celta Vigo to Barcelona if a January transfer proves impossible. Mundo Deportivo confirms Enrique’s desire to sign Nolito hasn’t gone away but the forward remains too expensive for Barca in January, Celta not budging from demanding the €18m specified in his contract.
Former Portugal, Porto and Chelsea playmaker Deco named six players from old club Barcelona in his team of 2015.