Ahead of their much anticipated pre-season clash with Manchester United, Barcelona were looking to knock the ball around in a more serene part of the US. The Spanish league champions decided to set up shop on the National Mall (situated just outside the White House).
General park dwellers were astonished at the fact that one of the greatest football teams in the world had stopped right next to them; understandably, fans flocked to the Barcelona players and staff.
They were met with players willing to sign autographs and have a chat. With the players relaxed, Barcelona looked to be in good shape.
However, shortly after they began signing autographs and talking with fans, it was all cut short. A U.S. Park Police Officer approached the group and asked “Who is the leader of this group?”, a short discussion established that Barcelona were indeed not allowed to train on the National Mall.
As a result, the group had to be dispersed. Barcelona returned to their buses to look for an alternate park to enjoy a relaxed session...much to the despair of their fans.
In an interview with Spanish media following the incident, midfield master Xavi said “Security said you could not have a group of more than 10 or 15 there,” going on to say “We wanted to loosen up a little, stretch. . . . Given that the White House was near so it was normal security, nothing more.”
Barcelona will face Manchester United in the final of the World Football Challenge.