Barcelona had a banner season in 2014 2015, winning the treble of the Spanish La Liga, the Copa del Rey, and the UEFA Champions League, and providing plenty of thrilling offensive maneuvers along the way. Needless to say, fans are eager to see Lionel Messi, Neymar, Luis Suarez, and the rest of the Barca squad reunite for the start of the 2015 2016 season, and the good news is they won't have to wait much longer. While the La Liga season won't start until Saturday, August 23rd, Barca supporters will only have to wait until Wednesday, August 5th to see their beloved soccer team on the pitch at Camp Nou once more. They will face AS Roma in the Joan Gamper Cup.
The Joan Gamper Cup
Each year, FC Barcelona invites another football club to Camp Nou for a highly anticipated friendly fixture known as the Joan Gamper Cup. The game is special for numerous reasons: for one thing, it's the only match of the year where all 98,772 seats at Camp Nou go on sale to the general public; for another, those seats go for much lower prices than they do for regular season fixtures, giving fans who might not normally be able to afford admission a chance to see their favorite players from the stands of Barca's home stadium.
For another thing, the Gamper Cup usually starts off the season with a high note for Barcelona. Of the 49 Gamper Cups that have been played so far, the home team has won 37 of them. The last two years have seen particularly huge triumphs for Barca, including an 8-0 win over Brazilian club Santos in 2013, and a 6-0 victory against Mexico's Club Leon in 2014.
A Loftier Challenge
Roma have never played in the Gamper Cup before, but will make a strong opponent for the milestone 50th incarnation of the event. They will be the first Italian Serie A squad invited to the match since Sampdoria bested Barca 1-0 in 2012.
Couple that statistic with Roma's impressive performance during the 2014 2015 season-they finished second in the Serie A, reached the quarterfinals of the Coppa Italia, and progressed to the round of 16 in the Europa League-and the Wolves look poised to become Barcelona's toughest Gamper Cup opponent in years.
Who Will Win?Â
Looking at last season's statistics, it's tough to bet against Barca here. Roma are a good team, but Barcelona are arguably the best football club in the game right now-from any country. In addition to winning the treble last year, Barcelona also broke records. Together, Messi, Neymar, and Suarez scored 122 goals in all competitions-more than any other trio in Spanish football history.
Messi himself netted an overall total of 58 goals for all 2014 2015 competitions. That's almost six times what Roma's leading scorer-Francesco Totti-did in overall goals. In other words, unless Roma can somehow keep Barca's unbeatable frontline from scoring, their chances at walking away with the Joan Gamper Cup seem unlikely.
With that said, Roma does have the historic edge over Barcelona in terms of previous head-to-head fixtures. These two teams have only played one another twice in recent memory, both times in the group stage of the 2001 2002 Champions League. They drew 1-1 in the first game, and Roma won 3-0 in the second.
Will Barcelona finally have a chance to make up for that loss? Or will Roma continue to have bragging rights over Barca? Only time will tell, but make sure to tune into the Gamper Cup on August 5th to see what happens. You can shop for the 2015 - 2016 incarnations of the Barca football kit or AS Roma soccer jersey, or follow Soccer Box on social media to keep up with the action. We are active on several social networks including Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.