Manchester United and FC Barcelona meet again this evening in a repeat of the Champions League finals of both 2009 and 2011. This time the venue is in Gothenburg in a preseason friendly as things start getting even more demanding for Barça. After the recent trip to Paris Saint-Germain (2-2), all they have left are this friendly and another on Saturday in Bucharest before it all starts in earnest with the opening league fixture on August 19.
Alba, Fontàs and Villa in squad
In order to get the players ready for the start of the official calendar, the coaching staff have decided to put together a ‘mini-tour’ consisting of games in Sweden and Romania. 24 players are going on the trip, including Jordi Alba on his first away trip with the club, and also Fontàs and Villa, both of whom have been declared fit, although the latter has yet to be given clearance to play. Reserve players Tello, Sergi Roberto, Ilie and Rafinha also travel, but Thiago, Abidal, Cuenca, Muniesa and Dos Santos do not.
The seven players that formed part of Spain’s European Championship winning squad are expected to play even more minutes tonight after only featuring in a small part of last Saturday’s game at the Parc des Princes.
Third friendly with Red Devils in ten years
As well as the recent Champions League finals, United and Barça have played two friendlies in the last decade. Despite losing the former, the Premiership outfit has won both latter, 2-1 and 3-1, both of which were played in the United States.
Manchester United are also just ten days away from starting their league campaign. Led by the untiring Sir Alex Ferguson, their two main signings for the forthcoming season are Kagawa (Borussia Dortmund) and Powell (Crewe Alexandria).