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Barca presidency race heating up


Barcelona fall to Manchester United in Leo Messi's absence

Wayne Rooney, Jesse Lingard and Adnan Januzaj all notched goals as Manchester United defeated Barcelona 3-1.

Barcelona were deservedly defeated by Manchester United 3-1 in their second match of the International Champions Cup. Rafinha scored a late goal for the Blaugrana, who enjoyed 61 percent of possession, created 18 goal-scoring chances and attempted 13 shots, six of them on target and three to the post.

There was little more than the players' pride at stake when the two major European clubs met on Saturday. However, Luis Enrique took the game seriously and decided to field a strong starting XI consisting...

 By Andy Mitten

Manchester United renew Barcelona rivalry with another U.S. meeting

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney sits down exclusively with ESPN FC to discuss his emotions following their 2009 and 2011 Champions League defeats to Barcelona, who have become one of the benchmarks in football over the past decade.

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Think of games between Manchester United and Barcelona games and the Champions League finals of 2009 and 2011 jump to mind. The two games still provoke frustration among United fans, players and coaches, because a very good team didn't do themselves justice on either occasion.

"We knew how to play against Barcelona and we did that for the first 10 minutes, but you need to do it for 90 minutes," recalled United's then-goalkeeping coach Eric Steele of the 2009 final in Rome. "You...

 By Sid Lowe

Louis van Gaal vs. Barcelona conjures memories of his Camp Nou times

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney sits down with ESPN to discuss United's preseason tour, their latest signings and Louis van Gaal's honesty.
Manchester United head coach Louis van Gaal accidentally called Chris Smalling, Mike, in a post-game interview.
ESPN FC's Craig Burley believes there's no need for Louis van Gaal to be critical at this point in the year because players are just searching for fitness.

The following is adapted from chapter 16 of Fear And Loathing in La Liga, by Sid Lowe.

When Louis Van Gaal meets Gerard Pique this weekend, he could be forgiven for looking up at the Barcelona defender -- all six-feet-four-inches of him -- and thinking, "Pfff, I won't be trying that again in a hurry." If it wasn't for the fact that admitting he's wrong isn't really something Van Gaal does, he might even reflect that maybe, just maybe, he was wrong back in 2000. More likely, the pair of them will...

 By Simon Kuper

Johan Cruyff, father of modern soccer, fades on the sidelines

ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti discusses the most influential footballers, managers and administrators and their growing importance.
Johan Cruyff talks to the media after casting his ballot in Barcelona's recent presidential election.

On the face of it, Johan Cruyff lives a retiree's life. The 68-year-old grandfather is so detached from day-to-day work that intimates say he doesn't have email or a mobile phone. He migrates between his mansion in Barcelona and a second home in Amsterdam, where locals like to report sightings of "Johan" cycling around or eating fries.

He hasn't had a full-time job since Barcelona sacked him as coach in 1996. He doesn't want one, either. However, Cruyff does crave influence. Arguably the spiritual...

 By Lee Roden

Luis Enrique has Barca hungrier than ever as Rakitic shines in LA Galaxy win

Barcelona got their preseason off with a 2-1 win over the LA Galaxy.

Only a month and a half has passed since Barcelona sealed the treble with the victory over Juventus in the Champions League final but the push to try and defend all three trophies is already on the agenda, with the Blaugrana's first game of the 2015-16 preseason complete.

Luis Enrique fielded a relatively strong lineup against LA Galaxy at the Rose Bowl, the starting XI composed entirely of first-team players.

Here's what we learned from Barca's 2-1 win . . . 

The intensity hasn't dropped


Messi, Neymar absent as Barcelona begin their quest for a perfect season

Luis Enrique admits he's not happy about the extent of Barcelona's travelling as they begin their tour of the United States, although he insists it's good to visit new places.

Barcelona are back on American soil preparing for their upcoming International Champions Cup matches against Los Angeles Galaxy (Wednesday 22nd July in Los Angeles), Manchester United (Saturday 25th in San Francisco), Chelsea (Wednesday 29th in Washington, D.C.) and Fiorentina (Sunday 2nd August in Florence, Italy).

The tournament, although little more than a well-organised friendly competition with the clear purpose of raising brand awareness and adding much-needed funds to the Blaugrana accounts,...