I don't think I've ever seen a crazier final week of summer transfers, but now it's time to put all the drama behind us and focus on the task at hand: the season is finally kicking off!
Barca are set to begin their Liga title defense campaign away against Racing Santander, which is pretty cool. It's a great challenge because Barca have had a challenging time against on El Sardinero in the past, and there've also been some pretty great memories, like Messi scoring the club's 5000th goal in that stadium during the second leg of the Liga in 2009.
As mentioned on the official site, playing the opening match on the Sardinero is a recurring experience for Barca, with the likes of Eto’o, Deco, Giuly, Larsson, Henry and Yaya Toure all having made their league debuts for the club there. Tonight, Villa and Adriano will probably be added to that list.
With Hleb and Caceres facing loan-outs, Pep has left them out of the squad and takes eighteen men with him to Santander: Valdés, Pinto, Abidal, Alves, Milito, Piqué, Puyol, Maxwell, Adriano, Busquets, Keita, Xavi, Iniesta, Jeffren, Bojan, Messi, Pedro, Villa.
Here's looking forward to what will hopefully be a fabulous start to a fabulous season!