5 things we learned from Barcelona's pre-season tour
After three weeks of warm-up matches to get the players in shape ahead of next season, Barcelona have concluded their pre-season campaign and can look forward to their LaLiga title defence.
It was a tour that took them through three countries across three continents, with five matches played in total.
Apart from serving as a means of getting players conditioned and fit after their Summer breaks, pre-season also offers an opportunity to catch a glimpse of the tactical methods coaches might implement in the season proper.
In this piece, we shall be highlighting five observations from Barcelona's pre-season campaign.
#1 Ousmane Dembele could play a key role this season
Throughout Barcelona's pre-season campaign, it is hard to make a case for any forward having performed better than Ousmane Dembele.
The French international appeared in all five of Barcelona's fixtures, starting three and coming off the bench in two, and made an impression in almost every one of them.
In total, Dembele had one goal and assist each, but it was his overall attacking contribution that would have endeared him the most to Valverde.
The former Dortmund man showed a willingness to take on the responsibility and run at defenders, with his pace and directness helping the Blaugrana on occasions when they were pedestrian, while also tracking back to help out with the defensive duties.
This was the form that made Barcelona make him their record signing at the time of his purchase, and Valverde would have been very impressed with his overall display in the attack.
Just a few weeks ago, Dembele was not sure of being a Barcelona player this season and having underwhelmed so far in his injury-plagued Nou Camp stay, on the evidence of his form during pre-season, the 22-year-old could be ready to blossom into an important member of the squad this season if he stays injury-free...