With the start of the regular season just a week away, Barcelona wraps up its preseason slate against a Malaysia XI on Saturday.
While Barcelona shouldn't be challenged in this contest—look no further than the team's 7-1 dismantling of Thailand on Wednesday—it will be a final chance to see how the team is shaping up before meeting Levante to start the La Liga campaign on Sunday, August 18.
Let's break down this match.
When: Saturday, August 10 at 8:40 a.m. ET
Where: Stadiun Nasional, Bukit Jalil, Malaysia
Watch: beIN Sport Espanol
Streaming: beIN Sport Play
What They're Saying
Barcelona have received excellent news on the Cesc Fabregas front, with the star midfielder declaring in no uncertain terms that he would remain with the Catalans.
From Dermot Corrigan of ESPN:
"My dream is to play here, I have never considered leaving," [Fabregas] told Mundo Deportivo. "I am at the best club."
Fabregas said stories which suggested he had already spoken with United, and even agreed personal terms, had been pure fabrications, and that he had been reassured by the regular public statements of support from Barca figures including Tito Vilanova, Andoni Zubizarreta, Tata Martino and Josep Maria Bartomeu.
"Things were invented," he said. "I do not understand how after Tito, Zubi, Tata and Bartomeu all said they counted on me. I have not spoken with any other club for two summers now."
It was also untrue that he or his representatives had tried to use the interest from England to try to get a pay-rise out of Barcelona, he said.
"I have messages from Bartomeu and from the president [Sandro Rosell]," Fabregas. "I have spoken face-to-face with them and have not had any problem. And neither is it true that I have asked for a new contract."
What to Watch For
Speaking of Fabregas, he's been so good this preseason it isn't too crazy to speculate that he may start the season as a first-choice central midfielder over Xavi. That's right, Xavi. Fabregas has looked like a man on a mission this summer, and may be ready to ascend to the coveted holding role Xavi has long played for Barcelona.
Neymar was a bit subdued on the left against Thailand, presumably still returning to fitness after being diagnosed with anemia, though he did score a goal. Any chance to see how he is fitting into a new system at Barca is worth a watch.
Another position of interest for Barcelona comes on the other side of the pitch, as Alexis Sanchez and Pedro each look to make their case for the right wing position. While there will be plenty of matches for each player on the schedule, it will be interesting to see who locks down the first-team spot.
Beyond that, this preseason match is a chance to see how young players like Cristian Tello, Marc Bartra, Martin Montoya and Sergi Roberto perform, and whether they'll be able to earn a more regular spot on the first team.
Which team wins?
For the Malaysia XI, the goal will be similar to that which Thailand set out to accomplish—score a goal. Unlike Thailand, they won't get the job done. Barcelona wins, 8-0.