Once again I apologise for getting this up so late - I wasn't able to get hold of the game until yesterday. Hopefully this trend won't continue, but I'm going to be quite busy with uni in the next month, so if you guys would like to chip in with match reports and picspams and such, I'd be very grateful.
But anyway, onto the second game in Scotland.( Collapse )
In about nine hours Barca will play Fiorentina in the Artemio Franchi
for a charity game, watched by a crowd of 40,000.
[Curiously, when Barca played Fiorentina in the semi-finals of the Cup Winners Cup in 1996/97, winning 2 - 0 in Florence, one of the goals was scored by Pep Guardiola.]
This game is being regarded as the biggest test for Barca before the CL qualifiers, and rightly so, given the talent possessed by the Viola, who are a fine team these days under Cesare Prandelli. Unfortunately, they are missing an important player in the form of Riccardo Montolivo because he's with the Italian Olympic football team, but I'm sure the likes of Pablo Osvaldo, Adrian Mutu, Alberto Gilardino, and talented new boys Stevan Jovetic and Felipe Melo [who you may remember being awesome for Almeria last season] will give the defence a hard time anyway.
As for Barca, everybody's now fit, but there's a doubt over Samuel Eto'o, who clashed heads with Victor Sanchez in training and was prescribed 48 hours of rest as a result. He may play if he's well enough - we'll see. Look for Sylvinho, Abidal, Xavi, Iniesta and Puyol to get their first run-out of the pre-season in this game.
Now for the difficult bit. Leo Messi has travelled to Florence, but having received FIFA's ruling on the Olympics issue
, he is now probably set to fly out to Shanghai after the game
in compliance with the decision. The latest from Laporta is that Barca will not stop Leo from joining the Argentina squad [thank God] but will appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to try and get him back. So more on this later.
For now, enjoy the game. It should be a good one.