Bengaluru: Bengaluru FC have a star-studded pre-season in place as they are scheduled to meet the reserve sides of Spanish giants FC Barcelona and Villarreal ahead of next month’s two-legged AFC Cup Inter-Zone semi-finals against Turkmenistan’s Altyn Asyr FC.
The squad will depart for the fortnight-long pre-season camp in Spain on July 30, the club announced on Friday.
The reigning Super Cup champions will play a series of friendly games in Spain, which include clashes against 2015 AFC Champions League runners-up Shabab Al Ahli Dubai FC and Spanish Segunda B (third division) side Atletico Saguntino.
Bengaluru will be training at Soccer’s Masía La Grava facility in Valencia. This will be the second phase of the pre-season for Bengaluru after completing a 10-day camp at the club’s residential facility in Bellary.
“We are really looking forward to what promises to be a very valuable pre-season tour in Spain. What’s key is the quality of opposition that we will be coming up against. Barcelona B and Villarreal B are massive clubs who work very well with their youth,” Bengaluru coach Carles Cuadrat said.
“It’s where players like Xavi, Iniesta and Santi Cazorla have come through. Equally tough will be our game against Shabab Al Ahli who were runners-up to Guangzhou Evergrande in the 2015 AFC Champions League final,” he added.
“I am also very excited that we will be playing a game at the Mini Estadi (Barcelona B) because I was part of programme to inaugurate the stadium in 1982 and it was my home turf for the next six years. I have a lot of fond memories from my time there and it’s nice to be able to return in a different capacity.”
The squad will return to Bengaluru on August 15 ahead of their first leg clash against Altyn Asyr on August 22 at the Kanteerava Stadium followed by the return leg on August 29 in Turkmenistan.