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10.08.2009 13:11

A successful tour all round

Anna Segura

FC Barcelona's trip to the United States proved to be a success both on the pitch and off it as the club won many new fans across the Pond.

It is no secret that football in America is seen as being behind the more traditional sports such as American Football, basketball and baseball, but during their 12-day visit to the west coast of the country Barça have lifted the awareness of the local people and attracted thousands to see them train and play.

Full stadiums

2009-08-05_CAMPO_01.jpgAttendances at all three of the team's matches were incredible and it all started in Los Angeles when 93,317 people turned up to the Rose Bowl to watch Pep Guardiola's team take on Los Angeles Galaxy. It a record crowd and a figure that has not been seen since the World Cup Finals were held in the United States in 1994 .

In the second match in Seattle it was difficult to see an empty seat in the Qwest Field Stadium as 66,848 fans attended the encounter against the Sounders .

The third and final match against Chivas de Guadalajara saw 62,572 watch in a packed Candlestick Park in San Francisco.

Average attendance

With a total of 221,557 spectators watching the three games, FC Barcelona attracted an average of 73,852 people to their trio of games in America.

Homegrown goals

WEB_12.jpgAnother triumph of the trip was the performance of the players as they stepped up a level in their pre-season preparations. Guardiola was able to use such youngsters as Muniesa, Fontàs, Jeffren and Jonathans dos Santos and give them a chance to taste life at the highest level. Jeffren proved to be a huge hit as he finished as top scorer on the tour, along with Pedro and Lionel Messi, as all three scored two goals each. Bojan Krkic also scored to make sure that all the goals came from homegrown stars.

Ibrahimovic joins up

2009-08-03_IBRAHIMOVIC_05.jpgThe tour also allowed the media and fans to see Zlatan Ibrahimovic for the first time, albeit only in training sessions as the Swede flew to the United States after an operation on his hand. The former Inter striker did work alongside his new team-mates on occasion , as well as exercising alone while Andrés Iniesta also continued on his road to recovery with coach Emili Ricart following his every move.

Rafael Márquez's injury was the only negative note from the trip as he picked up a knock and missed the games against the Sounders and Chivas.

Helping the causes

2009-07-31_LAPORTA_01.jpgAway from the field, FC Barcelona were able to tie up deals with companies and organisations to help support their causes. One such instance was the agreement with the MLS to help with the Malaria No More . Guardiola and the players helped out as they attended various functions also, with one such even seeing them go to the Montalban Theatre in Los Angeles .

Seattle visits

2009-08-04_Messi_Seattle_www.fcbarcelona.cat_x14x.jpgAs well as training and attending social commitments, the Barça players had some fun as they visited sights of interest. One of the most popular trips was to Microsoft headquarters in Seattle where they visited the House of the Future. In the same city, Lionel Messi went to the top of the Space Needle and had his photo taken.
A successful tour all round

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Ferrer and Boix
Barça's marketing vice-president, Jaume Ferrer, and the economic vice-president, Joan Boix, both viewed the tour as a success. "It gave the club the chance to establish contacts with businesses to help position Barça globally," Ferrer explained. "The tour would bring in between €5million and €6million to the club," Boix added.

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