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31.07.2009 05:45

A packed schedule

David Saura

After the treble winning season, Barça now start a season in which they will be competing for three additional titles, and plans will also be affected by the African Nations Cup and the World Cup.

In the 2008/09 season, and because they reached two finals, Barça played the biggest number of matches they could have possibly played, 69 in total, including friendlies. Yet, incredibly, they overcame that to win a famous treble. And as a result, they have even more football ahead of them this season, as they will also be playing for the Spanish and European Super Cups and the World Clubs Cup. Not forgetting that Keita and Touré have the African Nations Cup this season, and many of the players will be involved in the World Cup in South Africa.

Condensed season due to World Cup

As usual in a World Cup season, the 2009/10 campaign will be shorter but more intense in order for everybody to have time to prepare for the World Cup in the summer.

Two games a week

2009-07-29_INIESTA_01_COPIA.jpgFitness coach Paco Seirul•lo explained that this has been an issue on everybody’s minds. “I’ve spoken to some of the internationals who’ll be going to the World Cup, like Xavi, and they’ve noticed that barely a week will go by without having to play games both at the weekend and midweek, apart from Christmas, although even then we’ll have just come back from the World Cliubs Cup.” This season “everything will be done a little more quickly” he added.

First trip after the tour

Such a packed itinerary means that once the squad returns from their trip to North America, they will be off again almost immediately after. On August 10, there are international matches for several players and Guardiola will hardly have anybody to work with as he prepares for the Spanish Super Cup match at San Mamés on August 16.

Similar pattern

2009-07-30_SEIRULO_04.jpgBut Paco Seirul•lo is going to plan things along similar lines to last season. “We are using the training sessions here to get ready for the first important matches of the year. The team has to be strong from the outset, when the first official titles are at stake and in the first round in Europe, and also for the final months, when the big competitions are decided.” But right now, the immediate task is to be ready in time for the Spanish Super Cup.
A packed schedule
Márquez, from San Francisco to Mexico City
Once the tour is over, Rafa Márquez has an important World Cup qualifier for Mexico against the USA on August 12. There is huge expectation ahead of that match, with the Azteca already sold out. Pep Guardiola has given the player permission not to travel to Europe simply to have to fly back across the Atlantic shortly after, and so the centre back will travel instead to his own country and won’t rejoin the squad until they set off for Bilbao.

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