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Why Barcelona Were Wrong to Reject Long-Distance Preseason Tours

FC Barcelona's players exercise during a training session at the Sports Center FC Barcelona Joan Gamper in San Joan Despi, Spain, Friday, July 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
Manu Fernandez/Associated Press
Tre' AtkinsonFeatured ColumnistAugust 4, 2014

The new season is approaching fast and teams are working hard to prepare for the grueling months ahead. Every club have their own opinion on how to prepare for the next campaign, but some decisions can also a bit questionable.

For instance, while the likes of Real Madrid and Manchester United are touring the United States and playing against strong opposition, FC Barcelona has refused to venture too far off. So far the Catalans have played against Recreativo and Nice, with Napoli being their biggest competition of the summer.

No doubt Luis Enrique and company believe their decision to stay closer to home was justified, but was it really the best choice? Let’s take a look at why this may have been a mistake by Barcelona.

To begin with, Barcelona has yet to face true competition to prepare for the new season.

ANN ARBOR, MI - AUGUST 2:  Shinji Kagawa #26 of Manchester United passes the ball against Asier Illarramendi #24 of Real Madrid which Gareth Bale then shot for  a goal during the second half of the Guinness International Champions Cup at Michigan Stadium
Duane Burleson/Getty Images

Though they defeated Recreativo and drew against Nice, the Catalans have yet to really put themselves to the test and get ready for the much tougher competition they will face when the new season kicks off.

Surely the players are used to tougher competition and the argument can be made that they will be in the right mindset when their season kicks off against Elche in a few weeks, but that is a difficult thing to replicate. Facing weaker opponents may do a good job of building fitness, but it hardly prepares players to face top talent.

While La Blaugrana are staying close to home and facing weaker opposition, other big teams are traveling and pitting themselves against other well-recognized teams. Again, it may just be preseason, but these other clubs are preparing much more for the season to come.

The argument will likely be made that Barcelona has added several new faces and the option to stay closer to home will let the new faces assimilate better. However, the other big clubs have seen new players come in as well and are giving them just as much of a chance to mesh with their teammates.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - JULY 18:  Head coach Luis Enrique of FC Barcelona looks on during a FC Barcelona training session on July 18, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images

In fact, some may even believe that having a team travel a country together and stay in hotels can do more to build team unity than anything else.

To put it simply, the preseason exists solely to get a team ready for the campaign that is ahead. While other clubs are playing in big matches and testing themselves, Barcelona are taking a much easier route that could hurt them when the season officially starts.

Sure, staying close to home can be great to help players relax and get fitness, but is that really worth trading the opportunity to grow with such a big season right on the horizon? All eyes will be on Luis Enrique this year, but his side may not be as ready as they could have been when late August rolls around.

Of course, arguments can be made for both sides, yet having the option to test yourself against bigger talent doesn’t seem like something that should be turned down by a club looking to win major titles.

 

What do you think? Is Barcelona right to reject the offer to play against bigger clubs in other countries? Will the Catalans be prepared for the new season when it officially kicks off?

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