Last year saw a concerted approach on keeping pre-season miles to a minimum. Barcelona played their entire pre-season in Europe with visits to Ireland, Britain and Sweden. This was designed to keep the players fresher come March and April as the team enters the crucial period of the season. This campaign it is drastically different with Barça instead heading west to the US to compete in the International Champions Cup.
Sunday 23rd July (12:00 AM CET, 6PM Local Time): Juventus - Barcelona, MetLife Stadium. East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Barcelona’s first pre-season fixture sees them travelling 3,833 Miles from Spain to East America and there they will face the team that eliminated them from last season’s Champions League, Juventus. Coupled with the extra mileage, the squad will have to acclimatise to the six hour time difference and the jet lag problems that come with it.
Being the first game of the pre-season, it is unlikely to be a full strength team for either side and is instead about getting minutes and appealing to another demographic that does not get the chance to see the team during the regular campaign.
Thursday 27th July (1.30AM CET, 4:30PM Local Time): Manchester United - Barcelona, FedExField. Landover, Maryland.
After the Juventus tie, Barcelona will then travel 198 miles south to Maryland and FedEx Field where they will face Manchester United. The English side have become a recent regular in Barcelona’s pre-season schedule but this will be the first time they have faced the Red Devils since José Mourinho has been in charge. No doubt the Portuguese manager will be keen to get one over the club that shunned him all those years ago but more importantly he will be thinking about the fitness of his players.
Bearing in mind the Premier League starts earlier than La Liga expect the United players to be closer to match fitness having already completed some pre-season games.
Sunday 30th July (1:30AM CET, 4:30PM Local Time): Real Madrid - Barcelona, Hard Rock Stadium. Miami Gardens, Florida.
The final stop of Barça’s US tour will be a 917 mile trip to Florida where they will take part in El Clásico. This will be the first Clásico out of Europe and will no doubt bring hype and attention from US fans who have been unable to make it to Spain but still crave a Clásico experience.
Despite it being pre-season, it should still be a spectacle as neither side wants to lose to the other even if it is only a “friendly”. No doubt the organisers will also have specified that each team’s superstars must make an appearance.
Monday 7th August (8.30pm CET): Barcelona - Chapecoense, Camp Nou, Barcelona
After the Clásico, Barcelona will head home where they will compete in the Joan Gamper Trophy against Chapecoense. The first competitive game of the season is a chance to present the players to the fans and acts as the opening act for the season ahead.
The tour sees Barcelona flying a total of 9,633 miles and it will only be in March and April when will we see the toll it has taken on the player’s fitness.