FC Barcelona News: 24 August 2014; Neymar Left out of 18-Man Squad to Face Elche, Barça B Lose Season Opener

Bostjan Cernensek

La Liga 2014/15 gets under way | FC Barcelona
The preseason preparations are over for the twenty teams in the Spanish top division, and this weekend it really does start getting serious. The Liga BBVA is about to get under way. FC Barcelona, winner of a record six titles since the turn of the century, are naturally among the favourites to win back a title that was claimed by Diego Simeone’s Atlético Madrid last season.

Pedro returns but Neymar misses Elche match | FC Barcelona
Neymar Jr is out of the first league match against Elche. Despite progressing well from his ankle injury, he won’t be fit enough to take part in tonight’s match. He joins a long list of missing faces including Ter Stegen, Vermaelen and Adriano (injury) plus Piqué and Luis Suárez (suspended). Meanwhile, there’s no place for Song. The positive note is the return of Pedro.

Pedro Rodríguez returns to training | FC Barcelona
The Barça first team trained this morning at the Ciutat Esportiva in preparation for the imminent start of the 2014/15 league season. Luis Enrique conducted a session that involved 21 players from the first team, although Vermaelen did separate exercises and Adriano only joined his colleagues for some of the activities.

Luis Enrique: "Nobody can beat us in terms of hope and determination" | FC Barcelona
Luis Enrique has given his final press conference before the start of the 2014/15 league season, where he commented that "it has been a great week in terms of the team dynamic and we are going into the game in the same buoyant mood as we did before the Gamper. We know Elche will pose us problems because tactically and defensively they’re such a well-structured unit."

Barca set to toughen up under 'ultra-demanding' Luis Enrique - Goal.com
Zero tolerance. A new era begins at Camp Nou and there will be no pandering to egos, no favoritism, no complaints and no excuses. Luis Enrique is in charge now and Barcelona kicks off its season on Sunday under strict orders. It's time to toughen up.

FCBEscola opens in Sao Paulo | FC Barcelona
The FCBEscola project is continuing its international expansion and has just opened its second centre in Brazil. After the first academy was set up in Rio de Janeiro one year ago, the second has now opened its doors for the first time in Sao Paulo. Work began this week with the schooling of 400 boys and girls in the Barça style and philosophy.

FC Barcelona v Elche: Historic meetings | FC Barcelona
The two games between FC Barcelona and Elche played last season, a 4-0 win for Barça at the Camp Nou and the 0-0 draw that ensured First Division survival for Elche in the penultimate weekend, were the first meetings between the sides in a quarter of a century. But there was a time when the side from Alicante were a regular feature in the elite of Spanish football, and they beat the Catalans no fewer than eight times.

Osasuna - Barça B: Estreno con derrota (2-0) | FC Barcelona (*Note: article in Spanish)
El Barça B ha arrancado la Liga 2014/15 con derrota. Dos goles del delantero Nino, uno en cada mitad del partido, han condenado a un Barça B que nunca se ha encontrado del todo cómodo en El Sadar, un estadio de Primera hasta hace pocos meses. La derrota, que servirá de lección de cara al futuro, se ha producido sin Samper, Sandro y Munir, todos ellos trabajando bajo las órdenes de Luis Enrique en el primer equipo.

Ancelotti - Sami Khedira staying at Madrid - ESPN FC
Ancelotti had said the German had permission to leave after Real's defeat in the Super Cup, but in a news conference ahead of their game on Monday night revealed: "Khedira is happy here and he is staying. The matter is resolved and he stays at Real Madrid."

Angel di Maria closes on Manchester United transfer | Football News | Sky Sports
"At long last there is significant movement in the seemingly never ending, ‘Will he stay or will he go’ saga of Angel di Maria. It now looks certain that he will leave Real Madrid and become a Manchester United player. The final meetings will take place at the beginning of next week.

Seven-game suspension for Simeone? | Football Espana
Reports in Marca earlier this afternoon claimed that the Argentine tactician would sit out four games after he was sent to the stands during the Colchoneros’ 1-0 defeat to Real Madrid on Friday evening. But AS believe that League authorities could now make an example of the Coach, who was seen constantly berating officials, slapped the back of the linesman’s head and watched the game from behind the dugout.

Liverpool loanee Luis Alberto scored the decisive goal on his debut for Malaga v Athletic Bilbao | Sky Sports Football
Liverpool loanee Luis Alberto scored the decisive goal on his debut for Malaga as the Andalusian side got their season off to a winning start with a 1-0 success over Athletic Bilbao in a gripping game at La Rosaleda. Tensions boiled over in the closing stages and two Malaga players - Duda and Vitorino Antunes - were given straight red cards for serious foul play.

Goalkeeper scores brilliant last-minute goal – and it’s wrongly disallowed | Eurosport
There is very little Early Doors enjoys more than the sight of a goalkeeper legging it down the other end of the field prior to a last-minute set piece of some description in an attempt to offer additional height and firepower.Perhaps the one thing that's even better than that is when the goalkeeper then scores a header of such exquisite beauty you, the mere onlooker, could weep.

Stalemate in Sevilla | Football News | Sky Sports
The 10 men of Valencia scored a late equaliser to salvage a point from their Primera Division opener at Sevilla. In a match of few chances, Valencia trailed to Aleix Vidal's goal moments before half-time, and were down to 10 men after Rodrigo de Paul's debut lasted just 63 seconds before he saw red.

Espanyol hold Almeria to a 1-1 draw thanks to a late equaliser | Sky Sports Football
Sergio Garcia scored the latest of late equalisers to earn 10-man Espanyol a point from a 1-1 draw at Almeria. Francisco Rodriguez's Andalusians were the better side throughout but struggled to put countless chances away, with Fernando Soriano the only man able to get the ball past resilient visiting goalkeeper Francisco Casilla.

Babin seals it for Granada | Sky Sports
Granada came from a goal down to sink promoted Deportivo La Coruna 2-1 and get off to a winning start under new coach Joaquin Caparros. The visitors took the lead in the first half through Ivan Cavaleiro, aided by some suspect goalkeeping from Stole Dimitrievski, but Ruben Rochina levelled 10 minutes into the second half before Jean Sylvain Babin put the hosts in front.