The team under Tito Vilanova started off on July 24th in Germany with a 2-1 win away over SV Hamburg in the first of their five summer friendlies that will not require the team to travel to Asia or North America (very disappointing for some of us cules in the USA). This friendly was arranged to honor Hamburg’s 125th anniversary.
It did not take long for the Blaurgrana to score after Dani Alves bagged the first goal of the match in the fifth minute. Hamburg’s Arslan brought his team level soon afterwards but the young B player, Deulofeu, scored what amounted to be the game winning goal minutes later. Both teams headed to their respective locker rooms with the score being 2-1 in Barça’s favor
The second half saw Tito make nine changes which meant that all 21 of the players that made the trip to Germany got to play for their club. Neither side though would manage to score any additional goals and the game ended in a 2-1 victory for Barça. However, the Blaugrana suffered some bad news when young defender Marc Muniesa suffered an injury to his right knee. Tests later revealed that the defender tore his anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and is expected to take six months to recover from the injury.
Barça were then back in action, this time in Morocco, when they were the guests of Raja Casablanca at the Grand Stade in Tangier. Messi this time would feature for the club and starred after scoring a first half hat-trick for Barça in their 8-0 friendly win over Raja Casablanca. Alexis Sanchez opened the scoring early on, before Messi doubled his side’s advantage. The duo scored the next two goals to give their side a 4-0 ahead and Messi grabbed his third right before the halftime whistle.
The second half continued to be one-sided and saw Barça score three additional goals with Dani Alves converting from the spot right before the hour mark after Alexis Sanchez was brought down inside the box. Barça youngsters Sergi Roberto and Gerard Deulofeu then score the final two goals in the last three minutes of the match. Thus, Dani Alves and Deulofeu scored in back to back friendlies.
Vilanova and the team After back to back friendlies win over Hamburg and Raja Casablanca,traveled to France as guests of Carlo Ancelotti’s Paris Saint-Germain for the Paris Trophy. With Puyol making his return from injury. Sergi Roberto, Busquets, also making their summer debut, and Afellay forming the midfield that supported the front three of Rafinha, Alexis and Messi.
PSG’s starting lineup featured former Barça players Ibrahimovic and Maxwell, and former Napoli player, Ezequiel Lavezzi. Former player Motta did not feature. Prior to the state of the game, Eric Abidal was on the pitch for the ceremonial kick off. The French defender, recovering from his life saving medical procedure, made the trip with his teammates for this friendly. It didn’t take Barça long to make a mark in the game. Barça B player Rafinha gave his side the lead, thanks to an Alexis Sanchez, for his goal of the summer and his first ever senior team goal.
Barça now heads to Sweden to face rivals Manchester United for another friendly and dare say another victory?