Barcelona held to draw by fifth tier side in opening pre-season friendly

Barcelona kicked off their pre-season campaign with an uneventful draw against Unió Esportiva Olot, a Catalan side from the fifth tier of Spanish football.

Blaugrana boss Xavi named a mixed starting XI, which included high-profile stars Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Marc-Andre Ter Stegen and Sergino Dest as well as a debut for new signing Franck Kessie in central midfield.

The quartet were joined by a host of young stars, including Nico, Alex Valle and Arnau Casas, while Miralim Pjanic was the only player over the age of 25 on the substitutes bench.

And the Blaugrana got off to the perfect start, with Ter-Stegen finding Aubameyang with a pinpoint pass before the former Arsenal man lifted the ball over the Olot shot-stopper with a cute finish to notch the opening goal of Xavi’s first preseason.

The lowly Spanish side struck back late in the first half, however, with Eloi Amagat converting from the spot despite the best efforts of Barcelona’s no.1.

Both sides made significant changes in the second half, and the main draw for many in Claret and Blue colours was the return of the injury plagued Ansu Fati, who inherited Lionel Messi’s no.10 shirt last season.

Better yet, the young talented Spaniard even donned the captain’s armband for the final portion of the game.

Barcelona travel to the USA after this game, with pre-season friendlies against Inter Miami and NY Red Bulls either side of clashes with European giants Juventus and Real Madrid.