Piqué in Madrid / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

It was an early day for Barça’s first team as they set off for El Prat Airport at 9:45. The plane that took Josep Guardiola’s men to Madrid was airborne by 10:42 and landed in the Spanish capital an hour later.

Upon arrival, Guardiola’s men went straight to the team hotel where they will stay until the scheduled departure time for the Vicente Calderón. Kickoff against Atlético Madrid is at 21:30.

After the match, FC Barcelona will fly back to Barcelona at one in the morning, the plane will land an hour later in the Catalan capital. 12 players will not travel back with the team to Barcelona because they have been named to their respective national sides. In total, 8 have been called to the Spanish national team, Valdés, Piqué, Puyol, Busquets, Thiago, Xavi, Iniesta, and Cesc; two to the U-21 Spanish side, Tello and Cuenca; and two to the Brazilian national side, Dani Alves and Adriano. Brazil will play a friendly against Bosnia-Herzegovina on Tuesday.

The Barça expedition

Besides the 19 players named to the team and the coaching staff, Vice-President Jordi Cardoner, directors Antoni Freixa, Pilar Guinovart and Javier Bordas, and FC Barcelona football director Andoni Zubizarreta travelled with the team to Madrid.

Directors luncheon

As tradition demands, the directors of FC Barcelona and Atlético Madrid will gather for a luncheon at midday. On this occasion, the luncheon, which will start at 15:00, will take place at the Asador Frontón restaurant.