Former Barça manager Louis Van Gaal is about to start his second season in charge of Manchester United, who Barça meet on 25 July in the second match of their American Tour. After finishing fourth in the Premier League last season to go into the Champions League, the side from Old Trafford have strengthened their squad by signing the promising Dutchman Memphis Depay as they seek to dethrone the current champions of England, José Mourinho’s Chelsea.
Manchester United’s history cannot be understood without focusing on the 90s, when under Scotsman Sir Alex Ferguson, was at Old Trafford from 1986 to 2013, the Red Devils dominated English football with five leagues, four FA Cups and one League Cup. They also won one Cup Winners’ Cup, one Intercontinental Cup and one European Super Cup, and the most important title of all, the Champions League of 1999, when they beat Bayern Munich in a memorable final at the Camp Nou, when two goals in injury time turned the whole match around in most unexpectedly dramatic fashion.
On 28 May 2011, at Wembley, Guardiola led Barça to their fourth European title by beating United 3-1 in the final thanks to goals from Pedro, Messi and Villa. This was a repeat of the final two years earlier, in Rome, where Barça had also got the better of United, winning 2-0 with goals from Eto’o and Messi, the year the Catalan giants won the first of their two trebles. The two clubs also met in preseason friendlies in 2011 and 2012, United winning the first 2-1 and the latter ending 0-0.
He may sometimes lack consistency, but Wayne Rooney is still captain and an essential part of the United squad, and much of the side’s attacking potential depends on the England international. Depay arrives as one of the most talked-about players in European football and is set to become the latest hero at Old Trafford after shining for PSV in Holland.