Barcelona are a club steeped in history and continue to sit at the top of the perch thanks to the club’s clear identity with the likes of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez leading the line.
But while Barcelona’s tiki-taka football steal the headlines, the work done behind the scenes certainly can’t be underestimated and highlight exactly why they continue to be every player’s dream club.
In the second of a new and exclusive four-part documentary series, Beko – Barcelona’s exclusive training partner – have lifted the lid on life behind the scenes with the Catalan giants and how they prepare for the biggest matches in football.
Antoine Griezmann, Neto and Frenkie de Jong report for their first day with Barcelona
The Barcelona squad undertake a gym session before training during their pre-season schedule
After training in the intense heat, the Barcelona players take on board colourful smoothies
In unprecedented, never-before-seen footage released on Youtube on Thursday morning, cameras were set up to follow the players at their Ciutat Esportiva training base ahead of the 2019-20 campaign.
The likes of Antoine Griezmann and Frenkie de Jong, signed from Atletico Madrid and Ajax respectively, were seen adapting to their new surroundings on their first day with Barcelona.
However, their short summer breaks were quickly forgotten about as they were required to undergo gym sessions from the off before training to get them back into shape as fast as possible ahead of the new season.
But much to their relief, they were thrown straight onto the pitch on the first day of pre-season. Josep Antoni Pozanco, Barcelona’s physical trainer, admitted: ‘Pre-season at Barca is a little different to other clubs. Here, we work with the ball from the very first day and nothing motivates the players more than having their ball at the feet.’
And the Nou Camp outfit firmly stick by their roots from the off, taking part in the famous Rondo drill – which was first introduced to the club by Barcelona legend and former manager Johan Cruyff.
Groundbreaking GPS also plays a pivotal role for Barcelona to help the players improve
Barcelona claim GPS helps them to adapt to each player’s training to meet their individual needs
Arturo Vidal shares a laugh in the changing rooms during pre-season with the Spanish giants
With the Rondo an everyday exercise at Barca, it comes as no surprise why many clubs in world football try to emulate them. ‘With these drills we keep them on side!’, Pozanco goes on to admit. Respect is earned with the ball.
Following an hour-and-a-half in the intense Spanish heat, nutrition becomes key. And the insightful footage describes how they rehydrate by getting a smoothie on board, choosing their drink ‘by colour rather than flavour’
Nutritionist Tona Lizarraga admitted: ‘With smoothies, similarly to children, the players tend to choose by colour rather than the flavour but we give them all kinds of combinations of ingredients, vitamins and antioxidants which produce wonderfully tasty results and the players really enjoy them.’
‘Green is always a favourite choice, with celery, spinach, green apple, pear and lemon. It sounds a bit unpleasant but it’s delicious’, site manager Marta Miguel added.
Off the pitch, the club’s planning is very meticulous and their groundbreaking GPS technology comes to the fore to show the players just how they need to improve prior to their bid for even more silverware.
‘We have two fitness coaches who spend hours looking at GPS data to report to me. I then share this with the medical staff to keep them informed and help to prevent injuries’, Pozanco added.
The players take part in exercises to help form and tighten the bonds ahead of the new season
The video highlighted just how strong the spirit is within the Barcelona changing room
Barcelona defenders Jordi Alba and Gerard Pique share a joke during a unique exercise
‘Ultimately, if you don’t adapt to technology, you get left behind, for sure’.
GPS trainer Edu Pons added: ‘And there’s more and more. It’s information that 8 or 10 years ago, you did by intuition but this technology really shows you how the player is performing, and it helps us to adapt to each player’s training to meet their individual needs.’
After recuperating – with the right nutrition and taking their GPS details on board – they are back at it once again for the second session of the day, which helps the players tackle the workload of the demanding number of matches in the fast-approaching season.
With Barcelona having a clear footballing philosophy, it comes as no surprise that they put the player and the ball at the absolute centre.
Every moment of pure skill from Messi, Suarez, Dembele and Co is the result of huge effort behind the scenes and the brand new footage highlights exactly why they continue to be one of the most dominant forces in football.
Lionel Messi and his team-mates endure a gruelling pre-season to get them into shape