Real Madrid a week ago, and Barcelona started the engines this Monday. Like most coaches of leading European clubs, Ronald Koeman is in the first training session before the 2021/22 season. he had only a few first-team players, as most of them are still on vacation after their national team obligations and participation in the European Championship or the Copa America.
Only Gerard Pique, Sergi Roberto, Neto, Riqui Puig, Serginho Dest, Miralem Pjanić, and Samuel Umtiti responded to the call of coaches from better-known names. Along with the first team, there were also players from the youth team, Alex Collado, Inaki Pena, and Yusuf Demir.
Ilaix Moriba and Alejandro Balde were also expected to be there, especially the first one, who already has 14 appearances for the senior team from last season, however, as they have not yet renewed their contracts for the last year, the club decided to train with the B team until sign an extension of cooperation.
Barcelona is in an even more difficult situation with the first star Lionel Messi, whose contract expired on July 1. Theoretically, the Argentine could never appear at the Nou Camp again, but that is unlikely to happen. The verbal agreement was reportedly reached, and after a rest and celebration after winning the title of South American champion, the arrival of the famous gauchos is expected.
Sergio Aguero and Eric Garcia from Manchester City, Memphis Depay from Lyon arrived at the club as free agents this summer, and 22-year-old right-back Emerson was returned from Betis for 9,000,000 euros. Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, Philippe Coutinho, and Ansu Fati are still out due to injuries from last season, while before the Euro, the French national team player Ousmane Dembele was injured, whose contract is also uncertain because it expires in the summer of 2022.
The same is with Sergi Roberto, but it is unlikely that the two of them will be threatened as the mentioned younger players, Moriba and Balde.
President sent a warning
Waiting for the team to gather in the strongest team, club president Joan Laporta visited the team in the first training session and sent a clear message that he expects better results and bigger commitment from the players than in the previous one.
Although it started badly, Barcelona was able to catch the connection on several occasions, even to overtake the leading Atletico, but they did not use the gifts of the Madrid rival, and in the end, Atletico was the first to pass through the finish line.
Therefore, the President's warning. "I want a team with a winning mentality," Laporta emphasized twice in his address to the players after writing "Mundo Deportivo" He made sure that everyone in the locker room understood him well.
"What I'm telling you is that I want a winning mentality, because you know that Barcelona always goes for the win, and as professionals, team spirit and fair play are also important to us." The Catalan newspaper also writes that when leaving the Laporta locker room, he sent another message while saying goodbye to Ronald Koeman, but this time in a more relaxed tone. "Listen to this man, he's here to command."