The 2019/20 season for Barça begins with the tour of Japan. Ernesto Valverde’s side will face Chelsea in the Rakuten Cup on July 23 at the Saitama Stadium – the first of two games in Japan.
== MATCH INFO ==
Club Friendlies 2019
Team : Barca vs Chelsea
Date : Tuesday, July 22
Start Time : 6:30 Am Et
The match can be watched live via Barça TV and Rakuten Sports this July 23 at 12.30pm (CEST). It can also be followed in the Match Centre on the club website and on the various official club social networks. Below, you can take a look at what the kick-off time will be in your area, as well as the TV channels that are scheduled to show the game.
Barcelona vs. Chelsea: Rakuten Cup 2019 Live Stream, TV Schedule and Predictions
Barcelona play their first pre-season fixture on Tuesday against Premier League side Chelsea in the Rakuten Cup at the Saitama Stadium in Japan.
The La Liga champions have included new signings Antoine Griezmann, Frenkie de Jong and Neto in their 26-man squad for friendlies against Chelsea and Vissel Kobe and the trio should make their debuts in the tournament.
Chelsea have already had three pre-season outings. They drew 1-1 with Bohemians and beat St Patrick’s Athletic 4-0 in their two games in Ireland and then lost 1-0 to Kawakasi Frontale in Japan.
Barcelona are without key players such as Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Arthur, Arturo Vidal and Philippe Coutinho for the tour of Japan due to their commitments at the 2019 Copa America.
However, the Camp Nou side have still named a strong squad for the trip:
Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu has said the new signings will make their first appearances in Japan, per the club’s official website.
Griezmann will be expected to feature with Messi and Suarez absent. There will be some pressure on the Frenchman to make a good start to his Barcelona career after snubbing a move to the club last summer.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup winner was a prolific goalscorer at former club Atletico Madrid but will also be expected to weigh in with assists at Barca:
Barcelona will also expect plenty from De Jong in midfield. The 22-year-old played a starring role in Ajax’s double-winning season last time out and also helped the club into the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League.
Manager Ernesto Valverde told Barca TV (h/t Sport) he is expecting the Netherlands international to bring the team some “fresh energy in midfield, which can only be good for us.”
Valverde has also included nine Barcelona B players in his squad, including highly rated midfielder Riqui Puig, and he could use the game to hand some of his starlets some valuable first-team minutes.
Meanwhile, Chelsea are continuing to adjust to life under new head coach Frank Lampard and are also without some key players.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Antonio Rudiger are all recovering from injury, while N’Golo Kante has returned home from the tour due to a knee issue: