Carlo Ancelotti: ‘Barcelona is one of the best, with or without Messi’
Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti spoke at a virtual press conference ahead of the opening LaLiga match against Alavés.
Barcelona vs Real Sociedad: Line-ups
Messi-less Barca Could Suffer
The dust has now settled on Lionel Messi’s departure, and Barcelona simply cannot dwell on the Argentine’s exit, as the Catalan giants prepare for their opening match of the new season, which is a tough assignment against a talented and extremely capable Real Sociedad outfit.
The club’s financial problems have been well-documented, but they have still managed to sign Memphis Depay, Sergio Aguero and Eric Garcia on free transfers this summer, and Koeman has an incredibly talented squad, one which is capable of at least challenging for the biggest trophies this term.
In terms of pre-season, Koeman’s side have played five times, recording four wins, including a strong 3-0 victory over Italian giants Juventus in the Joan Gamper Trophy last weekend, and a repeat of that performance would make it a very difficult assignment for Real Sociedad.
The visitors have also played five friendlies over the summer, recording wins over Alaves, Monaco and Eibar, in addition to suffering defeats to AZ and Osasuna, losing 3-1 to the latter on August 6. Real Sociedad finished fifth in La Liga last term, which was their highest placing since 2012-13; they were 15 points behind fourth-place Sevilla, but an impressive record of 17 wins, 11 draws and 10 defeats brought them 62 points, one point clear of sixth-place Real Betis.
Imanol Alguacil’s side have had a quiet transfer window, with only Diego Rico and Mathew Ryan arriving to boost the squad, but they have thus far kept hold of their star players, and the squad should be good enough to at least replicate what they achieved last term.
Real Sociedad are very dangerous opponents for Barcelona on the opening weekend, and do not be too surprised to see an away win. That said, there is still plenty of quality in the home side’s ranks, so expect the two teams to play out a draw at Camp Nou.