When: 7/22/2017, 6:00PM EDT
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
Tickets: Buy Here
Serie A champions Juventus kick off preparations for new season with a high-profile clash against Catalan giants Barcelona, who will be looking to exact revenge on Bianconeri for the Champions League semi-final elimination last season.
With both sides still quiet in the summer transfer market, we are expecting to see all of the usual suspects hit the turf at MetLife Stadium as fans look forward to watching one of the world’s biggest stars Lionel Messi in action.
Sixth consecutive Serie A title has reaffirmed Juventus’ domestic dominance but it is the European scene that brought disappointment to Max Allegri’s men last season.
Having directed all of their strengths and efforts to mount the elusive European challenge and go over the final hurdle after getting knocked out in the 2015 final at the hands of Barcelona, Juventus looked like they were on a right path all until the big final showpiece against Real Madrid in Cardiff. Unbeaten throughout the knockout stage and without a single goal conceded, Juventus ended up allowing four in an underwhelming 4-1 defeat at Millennium Stadium. Despite the Champions League disappointment, the 2016/17 season was an overall success for Bianconeri who are once again hoping to build up on the last term’s results. Having gone through a major makeover last summer when they ended up losing key man Paul Pogba to Manchester United, but also bringing in prolific striker Gonzalo Higuain, Juventus have thus far been rather quiet in the transfer market. Juan Cuadrado and Mehdi Benatia’s contracts have been bought from Chelsea and Bayern Munich, respectively, whereas Rodrigo Bentancur and Bayern Munich outcast Douglas Costa are the only new additions so far in the summer transfer window. Brazilian right-back Dani Alves left the club after a fallout with the club management, whereas the key defender Leonardo Bonucci is being linked with a swap deal with AC Milan, which would include two Rossoneri players for the highly-rated Italy international.
Max Allegri has confirmed the 29-man roster for the United States preseason so the fans across the pond can be delighted over the prospect of seeing the likes of Gonzalo Higuain, Gianluigi Buffon, Giorgio Chiellini and Paulo Dybala in International Champions Cup action.
A couple of fringe players such as Rolando Mandragora, Matheus Pereira or Moise Kean could be given the opportunity to shine in the United States and stake their claim on a place in the first team.
The Catalan giants are sitting at the crossroads after a season that has been dubbed as disappointing.
With only the Copa del Rey trophy to boast with, Barcelona were disappointed to end the 2016/17 season without the La Liga title and Champions League glory which will the two main targets for the new manager Ernesto Valverde. The 53-year-old tactician has been instructed to restore pride and glory to the Spanish side and do everything he can to promote a new Barcelona. Former Athletic Bilbao boss announced the International Champions Cup roster which includes just about every single first-team star, which means Leo Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez will all be traveling to the United States. Germany goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen and Portugal international Andre Gomes are the two most notable absentees, both of whom are given extra time off to rest after their Confederations Cup participation. As they kick of the preseason in the United States, Barcelona are continuing their efforts to boost squad ahead of new season. Marco Verratti and Hector Bellerin as the two main transfer targets have both been ruled out and issued a hands-of approach from their respective clubs, so the Catalans will have to look elsewhere to add more power to midfield and right-back. Former Tottenham playmaker Paulinho and Benfica defender Nelson Semedo are being touted as the two likely acquisitions.
Barcelona’s MSN trio will be travelling to United States but could be given a limited time in the first match against Juventus.
Former Fluminense centre-back Marlon, the £4.25 million summer signing is likely to be given a run against Bianconeri, whereas we also expect Gerard Deulofeu to be given a shot to present himself to potential buyers.
Months after their April showdown in the Champions League, Serie A and La Liga giants lock horns again. Barcelona are still bitter over the aggregate 3-0 defeat and will do their best to finally break the impenetrable wall in front of Buffon’s goal.
Goals are something we definitely expect to see in this match but do be vary of the Italians’ trademark defensive approach. All of you who want to see two of hte best European sides live in action can buy the tickets here.
Verdict: Under 2.5 goals
Best Odds: 11/10
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