Barcelona, the reigning La Liga champions, bid an emotional farewell to Camp Nou in their final match at the iconic stadium before its reconstruction, delivering a resounding 3-0 victory against Real Mallorca on Sunday.
The match also marked the last home appearances for captain Sergio Busquets and defender Jordi Alba, who were warmly acknowledged by the capacity crowd in Barcelona’s penultimate league fixture of the season. Follow your favourite La Liga team with attractive football betting odds from Nextbet.
Ansu Fati stole the show in the first half with a brace, while Gavi added another goal after the break, ensuring a stylish triumph for the Catalan giants.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen achieved his 26th clean sheet of the season, equalling the all-time record in the division, previously set by Deportivo La Coruna’s Francisco Liano during the 1993-94 campaign.
However, Barcelona received a setback when defender Alejandro Balde was forced off the pitch due to injury in the first half. The left-back suffered a lunging tackle from Mallorca’s Amath Ndiaye, resulting in Ndiaye’s dismissal. Balde will be sidelined for six to seven weeks, missing Barcelona’s final La Liga game and the Nations League final four with Spain.
Reflecting on the farewell match, Ter Stegen expressed his sentiments, stating, “It’s a sad day when you play so many games here, Camp Nou is your home… It hurts to say goodbye to teammates who have been so important in my career like Busquets and Alba have. I wish them and their families the best.”
Camp Nou, inaugurated in September 1957, has held a special place in the football world and has become an iconic stadium. In the upcoming season, Barcelona will play their home games at the Olympic Stadium on Montjuic, a hill in the city, with hopes of returning to the rebuilt Camp Nou by November 2024, provided the construction proceeds as planned.
Barcelona seized the lead when Gavi set up Fati for an easy finish, and the young forward struck again after a brilliant assist from Robert Lewandowski. In the second half, Jules Kounde and Lewandowski hit the woodwork, while Ousmane Dembele had a header cleared off the line before Gavi unleashed a powerful shot to secure the third goal.
Jordi Alba departed the pitch in tears when he was substituted in the final stages, with the crowd chanting his name. Similarly, Busquets received a well-deserved ovation upon his departure. Although the duo may still feature in Barcelona’s final game of the season against Celta Vigo, for nearly 90,000 supporters, this marks the end of an era.
The match concluded with the replay of some of the finest goals scored at Camp Nou, eliciting cheers from the fans. Both Alba and Busquets delivered speeches, reminiscing about their time at the club. Alba expressed his pride in defending the Barcelona shirt for 18 years and paid tribute to Tito Vilanova, the late coach who signed him in 2012.
Busquets, filled with nostalgia, declared that his experiences at the club exceeded his wildest dreams and vowed to return to Barcelona, emphasizing the club’s status as the best in the world and expressing excitement about the forthcoming state-of-the-art stadium. Get all the latest updates from the La Liga only on Nextbet Sports.