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Barça have traveled to Japan to start the preseason, and the first game will be against Chelsea on Tuesday (12.30pm CEST). The match is part of the Rakuten Cup 2019, a competition in which Vissel Kobe will also be participating and who will be the second rival for the Blaugrana.
It will be the second time that Barça and Chelsea have faced each other in a friendly match. The last precedent dates from 2015 during the US tour, and in a match that was part of the International Champions Cup. That game ended in a draw (2-2) with the English side subsequently winning the penalty shootout. In Europe, in official competition, the two teams have met on 15 occasions.
First game of pre-season
This will be Barça's first game of pre-season before playing against Vissel Kobe and ex-squad members Andrés Iniesta, David Villa and Sergi Samper (Saturday 27, 11.00am CEST). It is worth remembering that the 54th edition of the Joan Gamper Trophy against Arsenal will be played on Sunday, August 4 (8.00pm CEST) and finally, a double header against Napoli in the United States: Wednesday 7 at the Hard Rock Stadium and Saturday 10 at the Michigan Stadium .
A new Chelsea
With respect to the last match between both teams, Chelsea have thoroughly renewed their team, starting with the coaching staff. Frank Lampard, a former player and legend of the English team, has taken over the reins for next season after having coached Derby County last year. The blues have also reinforced this summer with the young American player Christian Pulisic.
A meeting with former player Pedro Rodríguez
Pedro Rodríguez will be up against the team he played for between 2004-2015. The Canarian made his debut for Barça's first team in the 2008/09 season and left the Blaugrana after playing 321 games, scoring 99 goals and providing 62 assists. He won three Champions Leagues, five league titles, three Copas del Rey, six Spanish Super Cups, three European Super Cups and two Club World Cups. He also has the honour of being the first player to score at least one goal in all six competitions in which he played, doing so in 2009. Leo Messi equalled his record in 2011.
Opportunities for the new signings and Barça B players
Neto, De Jong and Griezmann are the three additions so far this summer, and they'll have the chance to play their first matches as Barça players. Ernesto Valverde will also be able to give minutes to the nine players from Barça B who have travelled to Japan for these two games.
Those chosen by Valverde
Valverde has called up 26 players for the tour of Japan: Ter Stegen, Neto, Semedo, Piqué, I. Rakitic, Sergio, Todibo, O. Dembélé, Rafinha, Malcom, Lenglet, Griezmann, Jordi Alba, Aleñá, S. Roberto, De Jong, Umtiti, Iñaki Peña, Guillem, Araujo, O. Busquets, Monchu, Collado, Riqui Puig, Hiroki Abe and C. Pérez.
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