This week, Barcelona FC is set to take on the A-League All-Stars in a game that’ll certainly be worth a watch. Even if the timing of the game is perplexing and many of the best players on either side will be unavailable.
For one, it’ll be played 48 hours after Barcelona’s (unsuccessful) domestic season concludes, leaving players with little time to recover. It also clashes with a scheduled international between Catalonia and Jamaica, three days before the A-League Grand Final, ruling out even more players.
However, we don’t want to be too cynical. Barcelona is coming to Australia and – broadly speaking – that’s pretty cool even if Lionel Messi is no longer with them. They’re a huge club with a global supporter base to rival any other team in the world. If you doubt this, look at how many fans they get to their open training session the night before the game.
The match will be played at Stadium Australia (now called Accor Stadium) and begin at 8:05 PM this Wednesday. Australians can watch it on Channel 10 or stream it for free on 10 Play.
Barcelona vs A-League All-Stars: Team News
Barcelona manager Xavi will have to be careful with his squad and is likely to play a host of younger players. Captain Gerard Pique, Pedri, and American Sergiño Dest are all injured, while mystery surrounds Frenkie de Jong as Manchester United chase his signature. At the time of writing, there has been confirmation of who will or won’t fly to Australia for the match.
Catalonian players Riqui Puig and Oscar Mingueza will miss the showdown due to a game against Jamaica which been scheduled on the very same day. Despite all of this, Barcelona has depth in its squad that an A-League club could only dream of. So whoever they put on the park will be able to play the beautiful game to a degree rarely seen Down Under.
Dwight Yorke, who was a striker for Manchester United and Sydney FC, will coach the A-League All-Stars team. Although the 50-year-old will have the final say on the makeup of the starting XI, fans were given the chance to vote for which players they wanted in the squad.
Last Thursday, 65 players were whittled down to 13 and over the coming days, more players will be announced. It has been eight years since the best of the A-League combined. On that occasion, they played Juventus and won 3-2.
These are the players who have already been selected:
- Jamie Young – Western United (GK)
- Rhyan Grant – Sydney FC (Defender)
- Curtis Good – Melbourne City (Defender)
- Leo Lacroix – Western United (Defender)
- Jason Davidson – Melbourne Victory (Defender)
- Adama Traore – Western Sydney Wanderers (Defender)
- Ben Garuccio – Western United (Defender)
- Daniel Penha – Newcastle Jets (Midfield)
- Anthony Caceres – Sydney FC (Midfield)
- Milos Ninkovic – Sydney FC (Midfield)
- Jamie Maclaren – Melbourne City (Forward)
- Beka Mikeltadze – Newcastle Jets (Forward)
- Craig Goodwin – Adelaide United (Forward)
Look, we’re not saying a friendly exhibition match will get your juices flowing from a competitive perspective. However, these matches are often free-flowing, less focused on defence and see more balls in the back of the net as a result. Without a doubt, it’ll be worth a watch.