Bengaluru to embark on pre-season trip to Spain
Bengaluru FC will begin their preparations for the 2018-19 season of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) with a fortnight-long pre-season camp, starting from July 30th in Spain. The trip will include ties against the reserve teams of La Liga giants FC Barcelona and Villarreal CF.
The finalists of the 2017-18 Hero ISL will kick-start their preparation with clashes against 2015 AFC Champions League runners-up Shabab Al Ahli Dubai FC and Spanish Segunda B side, Atlético Saguntino. The Blues will be stationed at Soccer’s Masía La Grava in Valencia.
Bengaluru will then travel to face FC Barcelona’s reserve team at the 15,000-plus seater Mini Estadi, after locking horns with the reserve team of Villarreal.
In a press release from the club, recently-appointed head coach Carles Cuadrat expressed his delight over the quality of opposition that his team will be facing as part of their pre-season programme. “We are really looking forward to what promises to be a very valuable pre-season tour in Spain. What’s key is the quality of opposition that we will be coming up against. Barcelona B and Villarreal B are massive clubs who work very well with their youth. It’s where players like Xavi, Iniesta and Santi Cazorla have come through. Equally tough will be our game against Shabab Al Ahli who were runners-up to Guangzhou Evergrande in the 2015 AFC Champions League final.”
The Spaniard was thrilled to be returning to a place he has fond memories of during a six-year period. “I am also very excited that we will be playing a game at the Mini Estadi (Barcelona B) because I was part of (a) programme to inaugurate the stadium in 1982 and it was my home turf for the next six years… It’s nice to be able to return in a different capacity.”
The team will return to Bengaluru on August 15 ahead of their AFC clashes against Altyn Asyr FK before further preparations for the upcoming Hero ISL season.