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Messi / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB

Tito Vilanova’s men play their second pre-season friendly tonight, against the Moroccan team  Raja Club Athlètic Casablanca. The game kicks off at 23:59.

Injury and international absentees

Barça will be without the injured David Villa, Isaac Cuenca, Carles Puyol, Thiago Alcàntara and Marc Muniesa, who will be out for six months. The seven Euro 2012 champions  -Piqué, Xavi, Iniesta, Busquests, Cesc, Pedro and Valdés – are not due back from their holidays until Monday.

One star who will be available is Leo Messi, who has recovered from the problems which kept him out of the first pre-season friendly against Hamburg.

Champions League success

Raja Club Athlètic Casablanca are considered the strongest team in Morocco, having won more African Champions titles than any other team in the country. The club have won a total of 19 titles –ten league titles, three CAF Champions Leagues and six Moroccan Cups.

Raja are also the only Moroccan team to play in the World Club Cup.

The team has been strengthened this season with the arrival of players such as Imail Koucham, Adil Karouchi and Chtibi Chamseddine, who have been signed to strengthen the defence and help the team to again dominate the continent.

Vilanova and Fakhir

Tito Vilanova will face the Raja coach Mohamed Fakhir for the first time – Tito is of course only taking charge for the second time, whilst Fakir is also beginning a new spell, having rejoined after a year away from the club.


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