FC Barcelona’s Under 13’s arrived in Dubai today ahead of their appearance in the Dubai Intercontinental Cup at Dubai Sports City this weekend.
The Spanish giants were at Dubai British School for a training session before the first matches in the tournament – hosted by Michel Salgado’s Spanish Soccer Schools – kick off tomorrow.
The 16-strong squad were welcomed to training by a number of players from the FCB Escola coaching programme which has a base at the Jumeirah Park facility. Excitement was high amongst the youngsters – with many hoping to learn something new from the elite session being conducted in front of them.
Travelling with the group to Dubai is Jordi Roura, assistant to Tito Villanova and latterly Gerardo Martino with Barcelona’s first team squad from 2012 until 2014. Roura is now Academy Director with the Catalan club.
Roura was part of the coaching team which guided Barcelona to the La Liga title and the semi-finals of the Champions League in the 2012-13 season under the stewardship of Villanova.
He now finds himself in a role which focusses on the development of young players aged between seven and 16 years old in the La Masia academy.
The speed of thought and movement was evident from the young Barcelona players from very early in the session, with a series of complex passing drills carried out with relative ease in front of gathered FCB Escola coaches hoping to collect invaluable knowledge from the Barcelona Academy coaches.
After the session finished, the Barcelona U13’s players and coaching staff took time to visit each of the four FCB Escola groups who were training at Dubai British School – Jumeirah Park alongside them.
The young Barcelona players observed parts of each of the four sessions and passed on tips and advice about how to make it in the Barcelona Academy and as an elite youth player before posing for photos with each squad.
The evening finished with Jordi Roura passing on his experiences and memories from his time coaching the likes of Messi, Xavi and Puyol at Camp Nou – players the FCB Escola youngsters would be more accustomed to watching on television.
The Dubai Intercontinental Cup kicks off at Dubai Sports City Football Academy tomorrow (Thursday) and runs until Saturday.