Barcelona could do without irresponsibly planned Saudi Arabia friendly

Barcelona couldn’t have organised a friendly abroad at a worse time.

Football fans are beginning to understand the need for commercial ventures, be it friendly fixtures in Miami or ill-timed sponsorship events.

But some are irresponsibly planned, and that applies to Barcelona’s upcoming friendly in Saudi Arabia.

We can address the morale questions of such promotions in such a country another time, but the sporting aspect of this event is astounding.

On Tuesday, December 14, Barcelona will play Boca Juniors in a friendly fixture in Saudi Arabia.

The game has been organised in memory of Diego Maradona, a year on from the legend’s death, but that appears to be a very minor motive in this particular fixture.

A true Maradona memorial would surely be taking place in Argentina. This fixture is two huge clubs attempting to engulf a hugely rewarding Saudi market.

Beyond the morale questions, and the Maradona front, there is no real issue with organising such a fixture, after all, it happens all the time these days.

But during the season? That’s questionable.

Barcelona will face Osasuna on December 12, they will then play in Saudi Arabia two – yes, two – days later, before returning to Spain to play against Elche on December 18, four days after that.

Now, what kind of team Barca will play in the friendly game remains to be seen, but after a near embarrassing Champions League exit against Bayern Munich, this couldn’t come at a worse time.

The Blaugrana need to put together a run of form, ideally starting against Osasuna this weekend, but they now have the added issue of having to jet 6,011 kilometres around the world between two La Liga fixtures.

It’s impossible to see how this is a good idea.

Barca are in the midst of one of their worst seasons for years, crashing out of the Champions League at the group stage for the first time in 21 years, and currently sitting seventh in La Liga.

This is not the time to be playing a commercial friendly in Saudi Arabia, and Xavi Hernandez will surely be thinking the same thing as he attempts to get his grip on this struggling Barca side.

Tags Boca Juniors Diego Maradona FC Barcelona Saudi Arabia Xavi Hernandez