In front of 2,500 spectators invited by the organisation and sponsors, FC Barcelona trained for the first time on the pitch at the FedEx Field in Washington, home of the NFL’s Redskins, where they will be facing Chelsea at 8.00pm local time on Tuesday.
The last session in the United States did not involve Rafinha, who stayed at the hotel for treatment on his back trouble. Before warming up, the players congratulated Pedro on turning 28 (although his birthday is actually on July 28 and by local time it was still July 27).
The session started with the whole team doing the warm-up drills together, followed by a positional exercise and some shooting practice.
This is not Barça’s first visit to the US capital. They were also here in 2011, also just after winning the Champions League, to play Manchester United. They lost 2-1, Thiago Alcántara scoring the only FCB goal of the game.
[[DES_1]]The supporters that attended the session brought a carnival atmosphere to the occasion, with one banner reading “The champions of Europe are here” and the fans getting louder and louder with their chanting as the session progressed. Whenever pone of them scored a goal there was plenty of commotion, with one supporter making his presence especially felt, brandishing an Argentina flag and yelling out in Catalan for the chance to get a photo with his heroes.
When Piqué found the net during one of the exercises, the crowd responded with such calls as "Visca el Barça, Piqué". This was just a training session, but the local fans were treating it like a real match.
And the day ended with Luis Suárez going in goal to face a penalty – taken by none other than Marc André ter Stegen! Following a truly amazing atmosphere in the stadium today, the players have been given the ideal boost ahead of their game on the same field against the Premier League champions.