March 31, 2023
FC Barcelona Versus Napoli Champions League Preview

The time has come. And now, they begin again the quest to land Ol’ Big Ears for the first time since 2015.

About Barcelona

Barcelona ( BAR-sə-LOH-nə, Catalan: [bəɾsəˈlonə], Spanish: [baɾθeˈlona]) is a city on the coast of northeastern Spain. It is the capital and largest city of the autonomous community of Catalonia, as well as the second-most populous municipality of Spain.

With a population of 1.6 million within city limits, its urban area extends to numerous neighbouring municipalities within the Province of Barcelona and is home to around 4.8 million people, making it the sixth-most populous urban area in the European Union after Paris, the Ruhr area, Madrid, and Milan.

It is one of the largest metropolises on the Mediterranean Sea, located on the coast between the mouths of the rivers Llobregat and Besòs, and bounded to the west by the Serra de Collserola mountain range, the tallest peak of which is 512 metres (1,680 feet) high.

Founded as a Roman city, in the Middle Ages Barcelona became the capital of the County of Barcelona. After merging with the Kingdom of Aragon, Barcelona continued to be an important city in the Crown of Aragon as an economic and administrative centre of this Crown and the capital of the Principality of Catalonia. Barcelona has a rich cultural heritage and is today an important cultural centre and a major tourist destination.

Particularly renowned are the architectural works of Antoni Gaudí and Lluís Domènech i Montaner, which have been designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The headquarters of the Union for the Mediterranean are located in Barcelona.

The city is known for hosting the 1992 Summer Olympics as well as world-class conferences and expositions and also many international sport tournaments.

Barcelona is one of the world’s leading tourist, economic, trade fair and cultural centres, and its influence in commerce, education, entertainment, sports, media, fashion, science, and the arts all contribute to its status as one of the major global cities.

It is a major cultural and economic centre in southwestern Europe, 24th in the world (before Zürich, after Frankfurt) and a financial centre. In 2008 it was the fourth most economically powerful city by GDP in the European Union and 35th in the world with GDP amounting to €177 billion. In 2012 Barcelona had a GDP of $170 billion; and it was leading Spain in employment rate in that moment.

In 2009 the city was ranked Europe’s third and one of the world’s most successful as a city brand. In the same year the city was ranked Europe’s fourth best city for business and fastest improving European city, with growth improved by 17% per year, and the city has been experiencing strong and renewed growth for the past three years.

Barcelona is also the home of one of the world’s most famous clubs, FC Barcelona. Since 2011 Barcelona has been a leading smart city in Europe. Barcelona is a transport hub, with the Port of Barcelona being one of Europe’s principal seaports and busiest European passenger port, an international airport, Barcelona–El Prat Airport, which handles over 50 million passengers per year, an extensive motorway network, and a high-speed rail line with a link to France and the rest of Europe.

FC Barcelona Versus Napoli Champions League Preview …

About Versus
Versus, often abbreviated v., v, vs., vs, or vrs. is a Latin word meaning ‘against’. It may refer to:

Buoyed by returning to the top of La Liga at the weekend, achieved through thumping Eibar 5-0 at the Camp Nou while bitter rivals Real Madrid fluffed their lines at Levante, FC Barcelona now begin a tough week of gruelling road tests that could define the 2019/2020 season.

Prior to Real Madrid in El Clasico come Napoli, at the fortress that is the Stadio San Paolo – the house that Diego Maradona built and a ground they have never played at before in this competition.

FC Barcelona Versus Napoli Champions League Preview …

Leaving Barça in 1984, the Argentine World Cup winner is a deity to this day in Naples and there will be undeniably strong symbolism on show when captain Lionel Messi – his natural successor – takes to the pitch around 21.00 CET/15.00 ET.

Speaking of the need to get a good result here and “finish the job” at the Camp Nou in three weeks’ time, goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen will man the sticks protected by full backs Junior Firpo and Nelson Semedo – certs given injuries to Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets – plus central defence pair Clement Lenglet and Gerard Pique.

In a return to a 4-3-3 back from the 4-4-2 that ran out last time, a midfield trident of pivot Sergio Busquets with Frenkie de Jong and Arthur in front of him is expected. Now fully fit following his return from a pubis niggle, the Brazilian is believed to be recovering the “best version” of himself and has already doubled his goal tally from the start of the campaign.

Up top, a rested Ansu Fati will form the front line with Antoine Griezmann and Messi, who is hitting form at just the right time with four goals against Eibar following the longest drought of his career.

UPDATE: At 19.49 CET, an hour and 10 minutes before kick-off, the starting XI was released as detailed above save for the surprise inclusions of Ivan Rakitic over Arthur in the centre of the park and Samuel Umtiti in favour of Lenglet at the back. Arturo Vidal also got the nod, with many pundits imagining a 4-3-1-2 in light of Fati being dropped.

Speaking to the press prior to today’s clash, Pique said the Stadio San Paolo “is a historical pitch” and “something different”. “And about the game,” he continued, “Napoli is a team that has greatly improved in recent years and it will surely be very complicated. They have beaten Juve and Liverpool. We will be very alert.”

Asked whether a victory is vital in order to go into El Clasico in high spirits, Pique answered: “Each match marks the next one and [the] result will influence Sunday’s game [against Real Madrid]. Two weeks ago we went to Betis six points adrift of Madrid. We won, and the situation has changed completely. Winning tomorrow will help us face Sunday’s game with more confidence and peace of mind and help us grow as a team,” it was concluded.

Making his debut in the competition, Setien insisted that “all teams tend to do their best [against us]”.

“It will be a complicated game for both of them, [but] I’m expecting the best Napoli. We have already seen what they are capable of doing, overcoming big rivals. Now they will give us an extraordinary version [of themselves],” the 61-year-old added.

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