Pedro, Iniesta and Bartra are among the travelling party. PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB.

Barça’s first day in England was long and intense. After every session so far this season has been at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper, Monday marked a pleasant break from their usual routine.

The squad left Barcelona at 10.30 AM CET, and arrived in Birmingham to be met by a drop in temperature from 26º to 18º. On the way, Pedro was celebrating his 27th birthday, and there were no end of jokes from the likes of Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba.

Claudio Bravo was the other attraction. The Chilean was with his new team-mates for the first time, and before the first training session, was able to join Ter Stegen and Masip for the first photo of the three new first team goalkeepers together.

But Alex Song was missing. No sooner had the team arrived in England than the Cameroonian had to return to Barcelona to address personal affairs. So Luis Enrique had 25 players with him for the opening session: 17 from the first team and 8 from the reserves.

The facilities at St George’s Park are nothing short of outstanding. There are twelve different pitches, but Barça are using the main one, which is exactly the same type and size as the one at Wembley. And it’s in absolutely immaculate condition.

The second day in England will be just as busy. There will be morning and evening sessions, with the former open to the media for the first quarter of an hour. Note that members of the public are not allowed in to watch any of the sessions.

Shortly after noon, Ivan Rakitic will be giving his first press conference since the day of his official presentation.

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