Barcelona reportedly set to face scheduling chaos with 2018/19 Supercopa de Espana

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Barcelona after their Copa del Rey win against Sevilla.

Sevilla’s entry into the Europa League preliminaries and Barcelona’s packed list of lucrative summer friendlies means that organisers face a headache fitting in the traditionally season-opening Supercopa de Espana, according to Mundo Deportivo.

The two clubs will contest next term’s showpiece because Barca won the La Liga and Copa del Rey-double – smashing Sevilla 5-0 in last month’s final as they painfully earned their berth.

To accommodate these two sides, the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) look like they will have to give up either the event’s traditional time slot or its two-legged format.

Sevilla earned seventh spot and entry to the Europa’s second qualifying round with a 1-1 derby draw against Real Betis this weekend. This means they will have matches on July 26 and August 2, August 9 and 16, plus August 23 and 20 if they are to make the competition proper.

La Liga is scheduled to start on August 18 and 19, meaning the only plausible dates to play the Supercopa would be the weekends of August 4/5 and August 11/12. But Barca will fulfil the third-and-final fixture of their United States tour on August 4 against AC Milan in San Francisco.

As a result, the Federation must either make it a one-off clash on August 11/12, or move it to a suitable date outside August.

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Lionel Messi rested as Barcelona face Levante with two wins away from unbeaten season

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Lionel Messi has been left behind for Barcelona‘s trip to struggling Levante on Sunday despite the champions standing just two games away from completing an undefeated domestic season.

Barcelona, who wrapped up the title at the end of April, left Messi out of their 18-man trip to Levante who are fifth from bottom but assured of staying in the top flight next season.

Messi is in line to win the “pichichi” for top scorer this season having already grabbed 34 goals, nine clear of Cristiano Ronaldo in second.

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Ernesto Valverde eyeing unbeaten La Liga season as Barcelona visit Levante

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Ernesto Valverde thinks it will be “incredible” if Barcelona can create history by becoming the first team to finish a LaLiga season unbeaten.

Barca have cruised to the title in Spain, winning 27 and drawing nine of their 36 fixture so far.

Coach Valverde, in his first year at the Nou Camp, takes his players to Levante on Sunday before completing a remarkable campaign at home to Real Sociedad next weekend.

He feels the chance to set a new record has helped his players retain motivation after they secured the title two weeks ago.

“Now we have won LaLiga, we have to look for new incentives,” said Valverde at his pre-match press conference, according to Marca.

“After a long season, we can claim an unbeaten record. Let’s see if we can do it, that would be historic. Staying undefeated all season would be incredible.

“When your season is almost over, you always want to get to the end with everything won, with everything done.

“And when the final matches come with everything resolved, you miss a degree of urgency.

“We have a goal, which is none other than to keep us undefeated in this league campaign. I try to focus on that.”

Sunday’s opponents Levante have little left to play for having already avoided relegation thanks to a phenomenal recent run of form.

Paco Lopez’s 16th-placed side have won seven of their last nine games to move 14 points clear of the bottom three, with their only defeat in that time coming at second-placed Atletico Madrid.

Valverde believes they have previously underachieved.

“I had always thought they had enough quality to finish higher,” he said. “And in recent weeks they have accumulated an incredible amount of points.

“Now they are in that moment of calm and confidence.”

Paco Lopez

Levante coach Lopez hopes to continue the good results by recording a memorable win which would end Barca’s 43-match unbeaten run.

“Our intention is to make a good match and (one) that people come to enjoy. We are going to compete,” he told Levante’s official website.

“It would be historic to win against Barcelona, but it will not be easy. The idea is to compete, to do well and for the team to continue showing its identity.”

Lopez also dedicated the game to the club’s honorary president Paco Fenollosa following the death of his wife.

“I want to convey my condolences on behalf of myself and the staff to Paco Fenollosa who has lost his wife,” Lopez said.

“I want to send a strong hug to him and his family and dedicate the Barcelona game (to him).”

Provided by Press Association Sport

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