Neymar plays his first game at the Camp Nou. [Reuters]


Gerardo 'Tata' Martino takes charge as manager of Barcelona for the first time as they face Brazilian club Santos in the Joan Gamper trophy in the early hours of Saturday, 3 August.

The pre-season one-match trophy is named after the founder of the club and is intended to showcase Barcelona's squad to its fans ahead of the new season. The opponents, Santos, have been invited to play this game as part of the deal that brought Neymar to the Catalan club.


All eyes will be on Barcelona's new Brazilian signing, Neymar. The player dazzled at the Confederations Cup in June, helping Brazil to victory and was crowned player of the tournament. He made his debut in the 2-2 draw with Lechia Gdansk (30 July), in a 15-minute cameo.

The 21-year-old Brazilian said that it will be difficult to play against his old club.

"I'm so proud to be able to play for Barca. It will be odd playing against Santos, but Barca is my team now," Neymar told ESPN after his debut.

He also spoke of his excitement at the prospect of playing alongside Lionel Messi.

"I feel very comfortable with him," Neymar explained. "He's an idol of mine and I'm so happy to be able to be alongside him. He's a fantastic player and a great person and I just want to help him to continue making the Barca fans happy."

Both Neymar and Messi should feature in the game against Santos. In fact, apart from Cristian Tello who was injured in the game against Gdansk, Tata Martino has a full squad to choose from.


In anticipation of life without Neymar, Santos have promoted Neilton to the first team. The 19-year-old has scored four goals thus far in his first-team career and looks an exciting prospect. Whether he can fill the boots of Neymar remains to be seen but the signs are he could be a very important player for the club moving forward.

"I'm very pleased to be here. It's a dream come true," Neilton told Barcelona's official website. "I'll do what I know how to do in order to follow in Neymar's footsteps."

Santos midfielder Walter Montilo is also excited by the possibility of watching Neymar and Messi play together.

"Those of us who like football are excited and waiting to see both of them play together," Montilo said. "I don't think they will have any problems because when you have players who are great like Barcelona have, they become another piece of the team."

Where to Watch

Kick-off is at 1.00 am IST (Saturday, 3 August).

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