Rafa Márquez holds aloft a trophy won with Club León

Rafa Márquez is now starring for Club León. PHOTO: Club León

The Joan Gamper Trophy match will be played on Monday August 18 against Club León de Guanajuato (Mexico), the side where former FCB man Rafa Márquez has played since 2012. This is the first time that the Mexican Closing 2014 and Opening 2013 champions have contested FC Barcelona’s annual trophy.

In 2014, Club León won the Mexican Closing Championship by beating Cruz Azul in the quarter finals, Toluca in the semi-finals and Pachuca in the final, 4-3 on aggregate. They also won the 2013 Opening Championship by beating Club América 5-1 on aggregate in the final, having beaten Morelia and Santos Laguna in the previous playoff rounds.

Club León, from the state of Guanajuato, was founded in 1944 and have won 7 leagues and 5 cups. They are currently managed by Uruguayan Gustavo Matosas, and the squad includes Mauro Boselli, who in 2009 scored against Barça in the Clubs World Cup Final when playing for Estudiantes of Argentina.

This is the third preseason match to have been announced so far, after it was previously revealed that Barça will play Nice (August 2) and HJK Helsinki (August 9).

Tributes for Puyol and Valdés

FC Barcelona vice-president and spokesman Manel Arroyo also announced that the Joan Gamper Trophy will double as a testimonial for former captains Carles Puyol and Víctor Valdés. Two of the biggest stars of the greatest Barça team ever, who both left the club at the end of last season, will be given thoroughly deserved recognition. Both players missed the last games of the recently ended campaign through injury, and will thus get the chance to say their farewells to the Camp Nou.

The Gamper will also, as has become traditional, coincide with the Supporters Clubs Congress. Vice-president Jordi Cardoner confirmed that the celebrations will run for two days.

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