Tuesday 30 May 2017

Abidal fired up as Barca host trophy party

Barcelona will begin the new year amid a party atmosphere as they prepare to celebrate their incredible six-trophy haul from 2009 at the Nou Camp prior to tonight's clash at home to Villarreal.

Barca scooped an historic treble of league, Copa del Rey and Champions League titles last season, their first under former captain Pep Guardiola.

And Barca subsequently added the Spanish and European Supercups to their list of titles won in '09, as well as the World Club Cup last month.

That unprecedented haul of six trophies is impossible to better and means Guardiola has won all of the competitions his team have competed in since his arrival as coach.

The new year begins with Barcelona top of the league this time around, with a two-point lead over fierce rivals Real Madrid.

The Catalans host Villarreal in their first match of the year tonight, and will show off their six trophies to the Nou Camp crowd before that clash.

Barca have invited players who left the club in the summer, most notably striker Samuel Eto'o, to participate in the celebrations.

Following their World Club Cup win in December, Guardiola said that his team would struggle to maintain their intensity, with a natural period of relaxation likely.

But full-back Eric Abidal claims Barca are fired up for the game."This match is the most important one because it is the first of 2010, it's at home, Villarreal are a good team and I'm sure they will be coming here looking for a good result," he said.

Abidal believes that a repeat of last season's treble is unlikely, but hopes Barcelona can win at least one title at the end of the current campaign.

"We still don't know what will happen, but it (winning the treble) is difficult to repeat -- we know it is complicated to win titles," he said.

"The league is our objective, and then there is the Champions League, which is always a goal as well."

Abidal was sent-off as Barca failed to beat Villarreal at the Nou Camp last season. Following his dismissal, Barca let a 3-1 lead slip on a night when a win would have seen the Catalans crowned league champions. The match ended 3-3 and Barca's celebrations were put on hold for another week.

Guardiola's side are virtually full-strength this time around, although Jeffren and Seydou Keita miss out through injury.

Barcelona v Villarreal,

Live, Sky Sports 2, 7.0

Irish Independent

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