Barcelona face Napoli in the United States for the second time in three days on Saturday for their final match of pre-season.
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The sides are set to face off at the 107,601-seater Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor to complete their preparations for the 2019-20 campaign.
Barca prevailed 2-1 at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium on Wednesday, with Ivan Rakitic’s late winner following Sergio Busquets’ opener and Samuel Umtiti’s own goal.
Barca manager Ernesto Valverde said ahead of the club’s two-game tour of the United States that while the trip was “important for the club, economically and socially,” it was “complicated” for his team because of the amount of travel involved.
The start of the new La Liga campaign is August 16, and Barca have already toured Japan during pre-season.
The Blaugrana’s season-opener is no gimme, as they have to travel to face Athletic Bilbao. Barca were held to a 0-0 draw at the San Mames Stadium last season.
They are also likely to be without Lionel Messi, who did not travel to the U.S. because of a calf injury:
Despite Valverde’s concerns, though, Napoli are fine opponents for his side to take on as they prepare to start the defence of their title.
Lorenzo Insigne, Dries Mertens, Jose Callejon and Piotr Zielinski all started in Miami, and Napoli were the dominant side in the first half despite Barca taking the lead through Busquets.
The Italian side opened up Barca’s defence on numerous occasions, and the Catalan giants were indebted to new goalkeeper Neto for making a number of fine saves:
Even without Messi, Barca have a fine attack. Luis Suarez, Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele all played on Wednesday, and Rakitic produced a brilliant finish to secure victory in the 79th minute.
Valverde will have concerns about his defence, though, which looked vulnerable on occasion last season as well.
The manager will be looking for a much-improved performance from his back line in Michigan as Barcelona complete their preparations for the new season.