Words: ACFC Media
Thursday 19 January 2023
SALOU, Spain – Auckland City FC have wasted no time in switching on for the FIFA Club World Cup showdown with Al Ahly, hitting the training pitch almost as soon as they reached their training camp at FutbolSalou just outside of Barcelona today.
The final group of players and management touched down in the Spain early Wednesday afternoon and were soon lacing up their boots for the first of a week long training camp before City's mammoth playoff with African Champions League runners-up Al Ahly in Morocco on February 1
We’re in Barcelona!— Auckland City FC (@AucklandCity_FC) January 18, 2023
After a long journey the Auckland City FC squad are finally in Salou, Spain!
“It's been a long journey to get here, one I haven't done for many years and I'm very happy to be back in Catalonia and happy to be back on the grass with the team.
"It's a very exciting and special camp that we're going to have prior to the Club World Cup so I am extremely happy," Riera said.
Riera also confirmed the identity of three opponents Auckland City FC will face in Spain over the next ten days with games against Spanish fifth tier side Reus Reddis FC, Jeonbuk Motors - current Korean champions, and Barcelona B.
"The team we are playing tomorrow is Reus FC Reddis who play in the sixth tier of football. On 22 January we face Jeonbuk Motors, the current Korean champions, and on the 25th we'll face Barcelona B.
"The purpose is to test ourselves against opposition we believe are going to be similar to the ones we may encounter in Morocco.
"Over the years experience has shown us that it is very important to field test and embrace the football at this level," he said.
Temperatures fell to 10 degrees centigrade in a short but sharp evening session, not that fazed Riera or the players.
"Our mentality has been a professional one even though we're not professionals because that's not the reality in New Zealand.
"These guys have their jobs back at home to think about but here they don't need to think about working then after their job drive to the Croatian Club to train then go home and cook their dinner.
"The only thing they have to do now is think about is football and I am sure they'll notice their football will improve in a matter of 24 or 48 hours.
"The interesting thing about football is when you have the proper recovery and facilities at your disposal your football enhances and that's what we want to do and this is why the club has worked very hard behind the scenes to provide that for the players.
"I think the players deserve that opportunity and hopefully they can make the most of it," he said.
Training and Match Schedule
Thursday 19 January 2023
v. Reus Reddis FC
Friday 20 January 2023
Saturday 21 January 2023
Sunday 22 January 2023
v. Jeonbuk Motors
Monday 23 January 2023
Tuesday 24 January 2023
Wednesday 25 January 2023
v. Barcelona B
Thursday 26 January 2023
Depart for Morocco
v Western Springs, Sat 25 March 2023, Kiwitea Street, KO: 3pm NZST