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03.08.2007 10:43

Media frenzy in Beijing

David Saura

After receiving a warm welcome at the airport, FC Barcelona witnessed the excitement that their arrival in China has created during the first press conference, where around 250 journalists were present.

The pre-match presentation is the norm on every tour and the trip to Beijing has been no different. Barça take on Beijing Guoan on Sunday and although the hosts are one of the Chinese capital’s biggest clubs, the press conference was organised around the arrival of Frank Rijkaard's squad, who landed on Friday morning.

Along with the Barça coach, Víctor Valdés, Éric Abidal and Gianluca Zambrotta were present to speak to the media in what proved to be a long presentation, due to the amount of translations that were required throughout. The 250 journalists, that included photographers, filled the main room of the Beijing Westin Hotel, where the team is staying.

No questions for Abidal or Zambrotta

WEB_RUEDA_DE_PRENSA_05.jpgOver 20 television cameras also filmed the conference as Rijkaard and Valdés spoke, but neither Abidal or Zambrotta were asked a single question by the press pack. Sitting behind the huge table were 11 people, including the captain of Beijing Guoan, Tao Wei, and the team coach, Lee Zhangzhu, and they fielded numerous questions about the game too. Zhangzhu said that "it is a challenge to play against Barça" and the main aim of the game was for his "players to learn" from their opponents.

Valdés defends the tour

WEB_RUEDA_DE_PRENSA_06.jpgIn response to a question from a Chinese journalist, Valdés seized the opportunity to defend the importance of the tour to the Far East. "These tours are important," he said. "We are spreading the name of the club across the world and we will have all the facilities we need to work hard and to continue preparing for the season."

Little focus was given to the coverage of the rest of the tour, as the questions were many and varied and covered a whole range of topics. The media wanted to know such things as how much Barça knew about the Chinese league or who Rijkaard believes should be the coach of the Chinese national team, as the role is currently up for grabs.
Media frenzy in Beijing
Audi is the official sponsor
The first game of the tour against Beijing Guoan will take place in the stadium that is set to hold the Olympic Games next summer and will be sponsored by Audi. It was for that reason that during the opening press conference, the players and coach of FC Barcelona each wrote a letter on several different balls to spell out the word of the main sponsor.

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