2022 is upon us and the year brings a number of big challenges for Xavi Hernández and his team. Here are five red letter days to jot down in your diary.
The first trophy of the year will be coming up quick. On January 12, Barça are in action against Real Madrid in the semi-final of the Spanish Super Cup. If they win, they’ll play either Atlético Madrid or Athletic Club in the final on Sunday 16. All games in the competition are being played in Saudi Arabia.
Barça have their trip to the Santiago Bernabéu on the weekend of March 20 (exact time and date TBC). It’s two years since Barça last played in Real Madrid’s main stadium, as the last season’s game was held at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano.
Barça will be looking to retain the cup title won last year with a 4-0 defeat of Athletic Club in the final. The venue this year is La Cartuja in Seville, and the date is April 23. There’s a long road to navigate on the way, starting next Wednesday with a visit to Linares.
About a month later, Barça will be hoping to be back in the Andalusian capital for another final. On May 18, the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuan is the venue for the final of the Europa League, a trophy Barça have never won in its new guise (this is the first time they have played in it). The road commences on February 17 at 6.45pm CET with the first leg of the game with Napoli, to be decided the Thursday after at 9.00pm CET at the Diego Armando Maradona.
This year also brings the World Cup, which is being held for the first time ever in the Middle East, in Qatar, and also for the first time is being switched from its usual summer date to the winter. It begins in November 21 and ends on December 18, which means the club schedule will be modified to accommodate the competition, which is sure to feature, as usual, a number of Barça players representing their countries.