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Smiles abounded in the traditional New Year open door training session at the Miniestadi on Friday. The FC Barcelona first team carried out a training session in which, for once, they were not the focus of attention.
The real stars of the day were the 11,052 fans who turned up to see the session in person. The expectation hung in the air as the Barça anthem rang out just before the players emerged onto the field at the Miniestadi. The volume went up a further notch when the squad made an appearance with captain Leo Messi the main focus of the fans’ attention.
All the available first team players took part in the session with the exception of Sergio Busquets who was absent due to illness. There was a strong Barça B presence with Riqui Puig, Miranda and Iñaki Peña all involved also.
After an initial warm up session, the players carried out exercises in various parts of the pitch to allow everyone a decent view of their heroes. With Cilleseen, Ter Stegen and Iñaki Peña on goalkeeping duties, the outfield players completed the usual ‘rondos’, a possession routine and then finally a training match which lifted everyone out of their seats.
A magical day at the Mini
The day’s events carried on after the end of the session with the players taking time to get their photographs taken with the disabled fans around the edge of the pitch at the Miniestadi. Next the Barça squad launched footballs into the crowd, presents for those lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time.
Local lad Sergi Roberto knows just how important this day is for the young Barça fans. “It’s always a special day. To see the contented look on the faces of the youngsters makes us all happy. We want them to enjoy themselves and to be happy,” said the blaugrana midfielder.
For Arthur Melo it was a new experience. “It’s a real privilege for me, an incredible day. I have never seen anything like it in a training session, so many people. That is what makes Barça great. It’s a really nice experience,” commented the Brazilian after the workout.
Following the training session, the players’ work bringing joy to the faces of young fans continued as they visited various hospitals in and around the city of Barcelona. As ever, Friday is one of those days that will not be forgotten, neither by the players nor by the next generation of Barça fans.
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