Barcelona start training for new season
Barcelona, July 18 (IANS) La Liga and Copa del Rey defending champions Barcelona will be gearing up on Tuesday for the 2016-17 football season, their third under the command of chief coach Luis Enrique, who is still searching for a new forward, while the future of other footballers was yet to be determined.
The Catalan club has already sealed three deals in preparation for the new season, including French players Samuel Umtiti and Lucas Digne, as well as Spaniard Denis Suarez, while sporting director Roberto Fernandez is currently in Brazil to conclude the search for a new forward, reports Efe.
Barcelona start a new season in a period studded with lawsuits and issues that have nothing to do with soccer, including the ruling to imprison Argentine star Lionel Messi for 21 months.
Brazilian forward Neymar is also under the spotlight amid accusations of tax evasion.
Furthermore, negotiations are still ongoing with Qatar Airways regarding the new sponsorship contract, which is expected to be finalized over the next few hours.
On Tuesday, Barcelona's training will be attended by players who have not participated in a single sporting event since the end of the previous season, including Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez who did not play in any matches of the Copa America Centenario.
Denis Suarez, Jordi Masip, Adriano, Sergi Roberto, Jeremy Matheiu, Munir El Haddadi, Aleix Vidal, Douglas and Cristian Tello were all called up for the required medical examination before the beginning of the season.
The rest of the group are expected to join in over the coming week, although Barcelona are giving extra rest to Messi, Javier Mascherano and Claudio Bravo following their participation in the final Copa America Centenario.
On the other hand, all players who participated in Euro 2016 in France will start returning to the Catalan battalion at the beginning of August, except for Frenchmen Umtiti and Digne, who will join on August 9.
Neymar and Rafinha will be the last to arrive in Barcelona following the end of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics, where they will be fulfilling their national duty.
Coach Luis Enrique will have to find a solution for the goalkeeping issue, as Claudio Bravo and Marc-Andre ter Stegen have refused the policy of dividing roles and participating in certain championships.
Barcelona are scheduled to start training on Tuesday and will continue to work out until next Monday, before flying to Scotland to set their pre-season camp.