On Monday, after 35 days holiday, the Barça first team will return to work. After celebrating the treble success of last season with a parade around the city in an open topped bus, the blaugrana squad began their holidays on 8 June. Some have been in action with their national sides around the globe in international competition, whilst others have shared their free moments on social media.
The oldest international football tournament in the world was the main on the field attraction over the holidays. Claudio Bravo with Chile, Leo Messi and Javier Mascherano with Argentina played in every game of the tournament as the two nations met in the final. Chile claimed their first ever victory in the competition thanks to an heroic performance from the blaugrana keeper and national captain in the penalty shoot out.
Furthermore, Neymar and Dani Alves also appeared in the Copa América representing a Brazil side who were beaten at the quarter-final stage by Paraguay.
Gerard Piqué, Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba, Aleix Vidal, Bartra and Pedro had to wait a few more days before beginning their holidays. On 12 June Spain beat Costa Rica in a friendly encounter that saw both Marc Bartra and Aleix Vidal included in the starting line up and Piqué and Busquets play the entire second half. Two days later Alba, Piqué, Busquets and Pedro were in action again in Spain’s 1-0 over Belarus in qualification for the 2016 European Championships.
Croatia and Ivan Rakitic also were busy, having two games also. The Barça midfielder appeared in just one, playing all 90 minutes in the 1-1 draw with Italy.
The Barça keeper Marc-André ter Stegen travelled to the Czech Republic to meet up with the German U21 squad as they prepared for the European Championships. Two draws, one against the hosts and the other against Serbia, and a win over Denmark saw them through the group stage. However, the semi-finals saw his tournament come to an end when Germany were soundly beaten 5-0 by Portugal.
On 7 June, just a day after the Champions League victory over Juventus, Barça announced the signing of Aleix Vidal. The new arrival will enjoy another couple of days of holiday before teaming up with the squad. Who will be there on Monday is the Club’s latest signing Arda Turan. The Turkish midfielder will link up with a squad that will be missing Xavi, Montoya and Deulofeu with regards to last season.