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30.07.2007 16:51

Third time in China

David Puig

When FC Barcelona depart for Beijing to begin the first leg of their tour of the Far East on Thursday, it will not be the first time that the Blaugrana have visited China.

Football fans in Shanghai and Macao have been privileged to watch Barça play in pre-season before the 2004-05 and 2005-06 campaigns respecitvely.

Beijing and Hong Kong will be the two Chinese cities hosting FC Barcelona on this occasion as the team play two of their three games in the country during the tour, which ends on August 11. In the middle of those two games, Frank Rijkaard's squad will travel to Yokohama in Japan on August 6 and 7 to take on the Marinos in the Nissan Stadium.

Shanghai surprise

FC Barcelona visited Shanghai on the last leg of their pre-season tour ahead of the 2004-05 season. On August 8, 2004 the team played a friendly encounter against International Shaghai. It was the first time that the Catalan club had visited China and they were well received in Shanghai.

Barça won the match 0-3 in a game that saw the referee award seven yellow cards and send off Oleguer and Li Yan. Luís García scored twice and Henrik Larsson added another as the home team were over-run.

An exhibition in Macao

A year later and Barça repeated the experience as they returned to China, but this time went to Macao, the former Portuguese colony that has been converted into a focus for leisure activities.

On August 3, 2005, Rijkaard's side faced the then Chinese league champions, Shenzen Jianlibao and put on a show for the 20,000 spectators packed into the National Stadium. The Blaugrana eased to a 9-0 victory with Lionel Messi and Samuel Eto'o both scoring two each, while Andrés Iniesta, Larsson, Ludovic Giuly, Deco and Gio Van Bronkhorst all adding to the tally.

Two games in China

This summer Barça will play two games in China. The first is against Beijing Guoan in the Fengtai Stadium. The host club were founded in 1992 and have a Chinese Cups and two Super Cups to their name.

After playing the second game of the trip in Japan, the Blaugrana will travel back to China to play in the Hong Kong Stadium against the Mission Hills Invitation XI, team made up of Kitchee FC and Jappy Valley FC. After that final game, the squad will return to Barcelona.
Third time in China
Peking 2008
FC Barcelona will have the chance to see the build-up for next summer's Olympic Games in person. The Chinese city will host the event next summer, while Hong Kong will also stage some events. The squad will stay in the swich Beas River Country Club during their stay there.

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