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FC Barcelona will visit El Sadar this weekend for the first time since the 2016/17 season, as they take on Osasuna on Matchday 3 of the LaLiga season. The Blaugrana have enjoyed plenty of success at the historic stadium, with a record of 17 wins, 13 draws and 13 defeats from 43 games in Pamplona, scoring 61 goals and conceding 52.
Their most recent trip there saw Barça claiming the three points on Matchday 15 of the 2016/17 campaign, thanks to a 0-3 win through a Luis Suárez goal and a Messi brace. Messi is the club's most prolific player against Osasuna, and has scored 21 times against them (7 at El Sadar). Second in the ranking is Samuel Eto'o, with 8.
Suárez scored on Barça's most recent visit to Pamplona
A good start to the season
Jagoba Arrasate's Osasuna have begun the LaLiga season well, beating Leganés 0-1 and drawing with Eibar. They remain undefeated after two games, and with 4 points they are the highest placed of the three newly promoted sides. They have also yet to concede a goal.
Precedents for Ernesto Valverde
This will be the first time that Ernesto Valverde has coached Barcelona in a game against Osasuna. However, he has faced them on 18 occasions (8 with Athletic Club, 4 with Espanyol and Valencia and twice with Villarreal), winning 11 times, drawing 5 times and tasting defeat twice. He has never lost at El Sadar as a coach.
The game will be a special one for three players with a Barça past: Rubén Martínez, Fran Mérida and Marc Cardona. The goalkeeper was part of the first team in 2003/04 and 2004/05, and has played against FC Barcelona 8 times with Rayo Vallecano, Almeria, Levante and Deportivo La Coruña -albeit suffering defeat on each occasion.
Mérida was part of the club's youth setup, from which Cardona is also a graduate. The latter made his first team debut in 2016 and starred for Barça B in the Segunda División. After a spell on loan at Eibar last season, he joined Osasuna this summer.
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