Barcelona fan Arnold Schwarzenegger takes tour of Camp Nou

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[Photo Credit: fcbarcelona.com]

The Camp Nou had a famous visitor on Saturday.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Hollywood legend and onetime politician, was given a tour of the famous stadium and the club museum, and was later presented with his own Barcelona jersey.

“Barca has an amazing history, and the football they play is incredible,” the Terminator star said.

“There are so many talented players here at the Camp Nou, and seeing all the trophies and videos of these great victories is a real joy.”

Schwarzenegger has shown his Barcelona fanhood before, attending first-team training last year and taking several photos with players.

The former California governor was in Barcelona to attend the Arnold Classic Europe, the bodybuilding event that bears his name.

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Player ratings as Luis Suarez, Aleix Vidal and Jordi Alba standout for Barcelona in win over Girona

Andy West 24/09/2017
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Barcelona maintained their perfect start to La Liga with a sixth straight win as Luis Suarez and two own goals secured a 3-0 win at Girona on Saturday.

Here, we rate the players from both sides.

GIRONA

Iraizoz 6 – Made some good saves but ruined all his otherwise solid work with a bad mistake for Barca’s second goal, turning Vidal’s cross into his own goal.

Ramalho 5 – Some poor heavy touches and generally below the pace of the game.

Espinosa 6 – Tried to impose authority in the centre of defence and showed his long-range passing skills.

Juanpe 6 – Had his hands full with Suarez but, with one exception, did enough to keep the Uruguayan at bay.

Portu 6 – Showed his pace down the right wing and although he rarely got the better of Alba, Girona’s best two chances came from his crosses.

Maffeo 7 – Essentially had one job: following Messi wherever he went. Stuck to his task diligently and succeeded in limiting the Argentine’s influence.

Pons 6 – Made some nice passes and breaks in an attempt to break between Barca’s midfield and defence.

Garcia 6 – Served as the playmaker for Girona from his position in midfield but was too deep to pose any threat.

Aday 5 – Plenty of attacking purpose down the left but had a tough game defensively, scoring a clumsy own goal.

Luiz 6 – Girona’s most technically accomplished performer in his attacking midfield role, and forced a decent early save from ter Stegen, but faded.

Olunga 5 – Powerful in the air, often getting the better of Umtiti in that respect, but lacked finesse around the box and was replaced.

Girona's defender Juanpe Ramirez (C)

Girona’s defender Juanpe Ramirez (C)

SUBS

Kayode 5 – Came on for Olunga in attack but failed to impress.

Mojica 6 – Decent from the bench in place of Aday – maybe should have started.

Moreno – Too little time to make an impact.

Girona's Bernardo Espinosa (R)

Girona’s Bernardo Espinosa (R)

BARCELONA

Ter Stegen 6 – Made one good early stop from Luis but was otherwise largely uninvolved.

Roberto 7 – Mr Versatility returned to his right-back slot and delivered a typically enthusiastic performance, including a great assist for Suarez.

Mascherano 6 – A rare start for the veteran Argentine, who defended well but was occasionally poor in his distribution.

Umtiti 6 – Looked a little shaken by the aerial power of Olunga at the start but gradually recovered his poise.

Alba 8 – Won his personal battle with Portu and was always an attacking threat, including the shot which led to the own goal opener.

Paulinho 5 – Some powerful forward runs but minimal influence in the construction of play and the first man to be substituted.

Rakitic 7 – Performed in the deep role usually occupied by Sergio Busquets and carried out the task well, looking very comfortable.

Iniesta 6 – Some touches of class in a congested midfield, but couldn’t offer penetration in and around the penalty area.

Vidal 7 – Back in favour on the right of attack and did well, regularly stretching Girona’s defence with his direct running and conjuring a cheeky back heel for the second goal.

Messi 6 – Unusually quiet due to the limpet-like attentions of Maffeo, restricted to easily his most subdued game of the season.

Suarez 7 – Back in the goals after a poor run of form and was a sharp, determined threat throughout the game.

Barcelona's players celebrate

Barcelona’s players celebrate

SUBS

Busquets 6 – Came on from the bench and was his usual authoritative self.

Denis 6 – Some nice touches in a cameo appearance from the bench.

Gomes 5 – Little impact after coming on for Vidal near the end.

Luis Suarez

Luis Suarez

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Paulinho drives Barcelona forward but road to success remains long and winding

Andy West 20/09/2017
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The Brazilian has made a quick impact at the Spanish giants.

It’s fair to say that not every Barcelona fan was delighted when their club forked out €40 million (Dh176.3m) this summer to secure the signing of Paulinho.

A 29-year-old arriving from the Chinese Super League who previously flopped at Tottenham was not exactly what Blaugrana fans had in mind to rejuvenate their midfield, and Paulinho was subjected to more than his fair share of criticism when the deal was confirmed.

Just a few weeks later, however, the Brazilian international has already succeeded in changing quite a few minds and given a clear indication that he could well, after all, make a significant contribution.

After coming off the bench to score a crucial winner at Getafe last Saturday, Paulinho was handed his first start for Tuesday night’s visit of Eibar and, although the game was chiefly notable for Lionel Messi’s latest burst of genius, he didn’t let anyone down.

Firstly, Paulinho showed off his set piece prowess by netting for the second consecutive game with a thumping header direct from Denis Suarez’s corner.

And he really came to life in the second half, contributing amply to Barca’s destruction of the Basque visitors by assisting one of Messi’s goals and helping to create Denis Suarez’s strike with a cheeky nutmeg for Messi to run onto.

Indeed, even more than Paulinho’s goals, the most encouraging thing about his performance was the way he seems to be quickly developing an understanding with Messi, who appears to be enjoying the opportunity to benefit from the powerful runs of a muscular midfielder whose skill set is starkly different to any of his team-mates.

However, before we get carried away and hail Paulinho as Barca’s saviour, we should also acknowledge the other side of the coin – as did manager Ernesto Valverde after Tuesday’s game, when he admitted Paulinho had looked “lost” in a first half dominated in large part by Eibar.

The truth is that Paulinho only started to shine after the break, when Eibar started to tire both mentally and physically, and therefore allowed big spaces to appear for the Brazilian to surge into.

Not many of Barca’s games will be played out in such an open fashion. The majority will be far more tentative affairs, with space at a premium against opponents who defend the edge of their penalty area rather than allowing the game to be played in the whole pitch as Eibar did.

And in this aspect of the game, as Valverde noted, the jury is still out on Paulinho, who was conspicuous by his absence rather than a shining star during his side’s troubles during the first half.

It’s eternally hard to escape the impression that Paulinho is in many ways antithetical to a Barcelona midfielder.

Whereas the team’s recent greatness was built around the slender frames but flawless techniques of Xavi and Andres Iniesta, who turned the ability to maintain possession in confined areas into an art form, Paulinho is the exact opposite with his barnstorming runs and thumping headers.

Of course, that’s exactly why he has been signed – because he possesses attributes that nobody else in the squad has.

But in the same way the team will have to adapt to Paulinho, he will also have to adapt to the team. And although he’s made a very good start – better than anyone expected – much more difficult tests lie in wait.

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