Barca check in at SGP

Four-times European champions FC Barcelona have become the latest team to check in and use St. George’s Park’s world-class facilities.

Luis Enrique’s side arrived on Monday afternoon and will stay at the National Football Centre until Saturday, when they travel to southern France for their friendly match against Nice.

Barcelona’s visit coincides with the arrival of the England Women’s squad, who play Sweden in Hartlepool on Sunday.

World Cup-winners Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets, Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Pedro were all in the 26-man squad that flew into Birmingham on Monday, and were given a tour of St George’s Park, with its full-size Wembley replica indoor pitch, hydrotherapy centre and numerous outdoor training pitches.

“It’s good to see us establishing ourselves as something of an epicentre for football”

David Sheepshanks 

Chairman, St. George’s Park

Lionel Messi, Javier Mascherano, Neymar and the suspended Luis Suarez did not travel, but new signings Mark-Andre Ter Stegen, Claudio Bravo, Jeremy Mathieu and Ivan Rakitic all made the trip.

David Sheepshanks, chairman of St. George’s Park, said: “It’s fantastic that one of the world’s greatest clubs have chosen our facilities to prepare for the upcoming season.

“The facilities speak for themselves and it’s good to see us establishing ourselves as something of an epicentre for football. 

“As well as facilitating elite level teams like Barcelona, there is much coaching activity happening throughout the week with The FA’s A Licence candidates on site as well as our England Women’s team being coached here.

Barcelona players disembark for their week-long stay at St. George

Barcelona players disembark for their week-long stay at St. George’s Park

“In the past year, over 14,000 coaching students have passed through our doors so it’s a really busy time for all involved at St. George’s Park.”

He added: “Other top clubs are also training here this summer including the likes of Mainz, Porto and Galatasaray; all benefiting from the same exceptional facilities and special training environment that our 24 England teams enjoy.” 

Barcelona first-team training squad for St. George’s Park: Ter Stegen, Masip, Bravo, Adriano, Pique, Alba, Mathieu, Bartra, Song, Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta, Rafinha, Sergi Roberto, Rakitic, Afellay, Pedro and Deulofeu.

Barca B: Patric, Edgar Ie, Grimaldo, Samper, Halilovic, Munir, Sandro and Adama.