The La Liga-Serie A Cup was founded just two months ago. This preseason competition sees one team from La Liga and one team from Serie A square off in two neutral site games within one week, and the inaugural cup will see Barcelona and Napoli meet over four days in the United States. The first meeting will take place on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. ET when the two clubs clash in Miami, and the second meeting will kick off at the Big House on Saturday.
Don’t miss this international friendly between Barcelona and Napoli from Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The match will kick off at 5 p.m. ET on Saturday, August 10. It will be broadcast on ESPN2.
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We have only seen Barcelona three times thus far in the preseason. The Blaugrana traveled to Japan to take part in the Rakuten Cup and then faced Arsenal in the annual Joan Gamper Trophy. In Japan, Barca fell 2-1 to Chelsea, but Carles Perez led the club to a 2-0 win over local club Vissel Kobe. Against Arsenal, the hosts overcame a 1-0 halftime deficit to win 2-1 thanks to a Luis Suarez goal in the 90th minute.
It’s been a solid preseason thus far for Napoli. Although the Neapolitan club lost their first match to Serie B Benevento 2-1, they responded with a 5-0 victory over non-league side Feralpisalo. That was followed by a 3-3 draw with Serie B side Cremonese, and then they had their best performance yet against Liverpool. Lorenzo Insigne, Arkadiusz Milik, and Amin Younes all scored in a 3-0 win over the Reds. On Sunday, they played their most recent preseason match, beating Marseille 1-0.
Unfortunately for the tens of thousands in attendance, Lionel Messi will not take part in either match of the inaugural cup. Messi picked up a calf injury against Arsenal, and the club wants to rest him prior to the start of the La Liga campaign.
Aside from Messi, all the familiar faces will take part for Barca. Gerard Pique, Ivan Rakitic, Luis Suarez, and Ousmane Dembele made the trip as well as new signings Antoine Griezmann and Frenkie de Jong.
Even without their star, Barca are loaded with talent. Suarez and Griezmann will be a formidable duo up top, and de Jong will showcase some of the skill we saw while he was at Ajax. Not having Messi could be a blessing in disguise for the young Dutchman as it gives him time to grow into his role.
The Neapolitans have been looking to upend Barcelona for the league title for the last five years, and this might be one of their best opportunities yet. Napoli shored up its defense by bringing in Konstantinos Manolas, and they have tried to ensure the goalkeeper position is set up too by completing transfers for three goalkeepers.
Dries Mertens, Lorenzo Insigne, and Milik are the three to watch up top. They combined to tally 43 goals in league play last season, and that keeps Napoli one of the most exciting teams in Italy.
Barcelona vs Napoli Prediction
I believe both matches between these clubs will be open, free-flowing games. Both teams want to entertain the audience while also playing all of their stars as these are the final tune-ups for both squads before the start of their league campaigns.
Barcelona have so much talent, it’s hard to not call for them to get the win. The combination of Griezmann and Suarez is going to be too difficult to overcome, and they will win the inaugural La Liga-Serie A Cup.
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