The Joan Gamper Trophy now has a date and opponent. On August 16, Barcelona will face Boca Juniors, the second time they have played in the traditional season opener at the Camp Nou.
The Argentinian club was here last in the summer of 2003, the day Frank Rijkaard made his debut
as manager. Now, five years later, Josep Guardiola meets the Argentine outfit in his opening match
at the Camp Nou, in what promises a terrific footballing feast.
After Champions League
But Barša will have already played an official match by that time, for the Tuesday or Wednesday before they will have played the away leg of their Champions League qualifier against a rival yet to be determined.
A familiar foe
Boca Juniors include several players the Camp Nou knows only too well, including former player Juan Romßn Riquelme, who returned to Buenos Aires in 2007/08 from Vila-real. His strike partner also spent time in the Spanish league, MartÝn Palermo, as did Palacio, Ibarra and goalkeeper Battaglia.
Apart from 2003, when Barša won on penalties, Boca Juniors have played three other Joan Gampers. They were in 1967/68, 1977/78 and 1984/85 and on none of those occasions did they lift the trophy. August 16th gives them a fourth opportunity. The club that has played the most Gamper Trophies is PSV Eindhoven (6).
Last Gamper in mourning
The last Gamper was a match in mourning following the deaths of Antonio Puerta and Nicolau Casaus, so it was not the usual happy festival, although Barša won the match in astounding fashion, 5-0 against Inter Milan in front of a capacity crowd.