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Rakuten prepared a reception to receive FC Barcelona upon their arrival in Tokyo. Hiroshi Mikitani, President and CEO of Rakuten, served as the master of ceremonies. The event, held at the Ana Intercontinental Hotel, was attended by all the squad called up by Ernesto Valverde, president Josep Maria Bartomeu, the members of the Board of Directors; Jordi Cardoner, Jordi Moix, Dídac Lee, Josep Ramon Vidal-Abarca, Pau Vilanova, Emili Rousaud and Marta Plana as well as CEO of the club, Òscar Grau, and Jaume Masferrer, director of the Area of the Presidency and Board of the Club.
In addition, Frank Lampard, the coach of Chelsea, was also present, along with Bruce Buck, Chairman of the english club, and former Blues players Petr Cech and Ashley Cole. After a speech of gratitude from president Bartomeu, the coach went on stage, where he spoke about the objectives of the season. The three captains who have traveled to Japan, Sergio Busquets, Gerard Piqué and Sergi Roberto also spoke. They commented that there are two special games to be played; one against Pedro, a former Barça player and now at Chelsea, as well as the fixture against Vissel Kobe where they'll be in opposition to Andrés Iniesta, David Villa and Sergi Samper.
After the reception, the Blaugrana expedition returned to their hotel to rest after a trip of more than 13 hours. On Monday, 22 players will perform their first training in Japan and will attend the various institutional events planned, such as the FutbolNet Festival, among others.
Statements from Josep Maria Bartomeu, FC Barcelona president
"Mikitani and the whole Rakuten family have made a huge effort so that this competition can be played in Japan. This time it's not just the first team coming to Japan, but our rugby team too. It's a very beloved sport in Japan."
"Japanese fans will be able to enjoy the debut of the three signings: Griezmann, De Jong and Neto."
Statements from Hiroshi Mikitani, president and CEO of Rakuten
"I am very proud and excited for the week that begins today. Japan will be very aware of both FC Barcelona games here."
Statements from Ernesto Valverde, coach of FC Barcelona
"We are lucky to be able to start our preseason in Japan where we have many fans. We will try to make them happy. The Rakuten Cup is a great opportunity to get close to the Japanese fans and also to put us to the test."
Statements from Sergio Busquets, FC Barcelona player
"We are very happy to be here and to be able to be close to our fans in Japan."
Statements from Gerard Piqué, FC Barcelona player
"It's a pleasure to be here. I have come to Japan and Tokyo many times, and I hope to teach something from the city to my team-mates."
Statements from Sergi Roberto, FC Barcelona player
"We are very happy to see Pedro. Chelsea is the current champion of the Europa League and a great team. It will be a great game."
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