The seven new players posed together in Birmingham / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

The trip to Birmingham is over and the next stop is France for a friendly with OGC Nice. The time in England has been useful on many different levels, but one of the most important benefits is that it has given the new players a great chance to start bonding with each other and the rest of the squad.

Other than Luis Suárez, who is suspended and awaiting the result of the club’s appeal on his behalf, all of the other new arrivals have had some time to get used to working with Luis Enrique. The training sessions have been the main focus of the week, but sometimes just playing pool or table tennis has been just as important for getting Ter Stegen, Bravo, Rakitic, Mathieu, Rafinha, Deulofeu and Masip to develop relationships with the other players. In the preseason, what happens off the pitch is often just as important as what happens on it.

Marc-André ter Stegen

The German goalkeeper was the first to be officially presented as a Barça player. He started work on July 14 and has described the experience so far as ‘perfect’. He already made his debut in the second half against Huelva, although he didn’t have much to do in that game. Against Nice we might get the chance to get a better idea of what he can do. He will be competing for a place with Masip and Bravo, who he says “are good people, we have fun together in training”.

Claudio Bravo

The Chilean, whose side got knocked out in the second round of the Brazil 2014 World Cup, arrived at his new club on the same day as the flight to the UK. The trip to St George’s Park has given Bravo the chance to get to know his two fellow goalkeepers and the rest of the team, where we have already seen signs of his natural leadership skills.

Ivan Rakitic

The midfielder started work on the same day as the Spanish internationals and Song, whose teams were also eliminated in the World Cup group stage. As he’s played in La Liga already and speaks excellent Spanish, he has found it very easy to settle in. Rakitic was also brought up speaking Swiss German and spent several years in the Bundesliga, so his presence has been especially useful for helping Ter Stegen with the language barrier.

Jérémy Mathieu

The French defender only trained once in Barcelona before the trip to England but as he already lived in Spain for five years and knows the language, he’s found it fairly easy to blend into the group. The presence of Jordi Alba has also helped, for the two already know each other after playing together at Valencia, and on the day of the medical tests, it was clear that they already have a close friendship.


This might the first year for the Brazilian-Spaniard in the first team, but despite spending last season at Celta Vigo, he already knows the club inside-out. With his outgoing character he has had no trouble fitting in. As each video shows, he is already one of the jokers in the pack and is clearly going to be an important factor in terms of team spirit.

Gerard Deulofeu

Like Rafinha, Gerard Deulofeu already knows what it’s like to be at Barça, although this is his first year as a fully-fledged member of the first team. As he told us in his videoblog, the week has given him a wonderful opportunity to learn from his new colleagues, and the six days at St George’s Park have done wonders as far as getting into shape for the new season is concerned.

Jordi Masip

All three of the goalkeepers at the Camp Nou are new this season, and Jordi Masip is looking forward to healthy competition with Ter Stegen and Bravo to be the first choice in nets. He has already been at the club for nine years and has previous experience of playing for Luis Enrique, and those are factors that he’ll be hoping to use to his advantage.

Las siete novedades del 'stage' en St... por fcbarcelona
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