Barcelona picked up their first win of the pre-season thanks to a 3-0 victory over Real Madrid in a wild 'clasico' at AT&T Stadium in Arlington on Saturday.
The game never felt like a friendly. It had plenty of intensity, great chances, three brilliant goals, and a big win for Barca. Xavi Hernandez’s men played very well in a few stretches and had to suffer plenty in others, but still found a way to beat their biggest rivals.
The convincing win was wrapped up late on, but it was Ousmane Dembele that put Barcelona on their way to a morale-boosting success inside 15 minutes.
The France international collected the ball wide on the right and, from a tight angle, crashed a curling effort into the bottom corner with the outside of his boot.
Fermin Lopez — the promising 20-year-old midfielder — struck Barcelona’s second of the game with another impressive effort, before Ferran Torres rounded off the scoring in stoppage time.
Barca will be hoping to see Dembele star throughout the 2023-24 campaign, but he is generating intense transfer talk at present as he is linked with a big-money move back to his homeland at Ligue 1 title holders Paris Saint-Germain.
Down 0-1, Madrid took more initiative and could have equalised almost instantly when Ronald Araujo gave away a penalty by handling the ball in the area.
Madrid star Vinicius Junior hit the crossbar from the spot. The game then became very physical and borderline violent at times, with hard tackles and challenges from both sides and very little quality on the ball. Madrid had a couple of chances, with Vinicius hitting the bar again and Jude Bellingham heading a ball against the post.
Rodrygo also forced a big save out of Marc-André ter Stegen, and somehow Barça survived the end of the half without conceding. Despite the positive result, Xavi expressed his desire to enhance the first-team squad as he emphasised the importance of bringing in new players to fill the gaps in the team. He indicated that Barcelona could make additional signings to strengthen the squad further. Speaking to reporters, Xavi said, “The market closes on August 31.
A lot can happen. Hopefully, we can strengthen more. We are missing some players. The management knows it. Despite the result and the euphoria, we need something more.” The Barcelona manager is aware of the challenges the club face in the transfer market due to financial constraints.
Despite this, he remains determined to find suitable additions to the squad. While the team cannot afford all of their primary targets due to Financial Fair Play restrictions, Xavi remains optimistic that more players will be acquired. He also emphasised the significance of nurturing talent from the club’s La Masia academy.