Perez fires brace as Barca blank Kobe in last match of Japan tour - GulfToday

Perez fires brace as Barca blank Kobe in last match of Japan tour

Barcelona

Barcelona’s Carles Perez (left) is congratulated by head coach Ernesto Valverde after their friendly against Vissel Kobe on Saturday. Agence France-Presse

Kobe: Carles Perez scored his first two goals for Barcelona as the Spanish giants won 2-0 against a Vissel Kobe side featuring Andres Iniesta, a legend of the Catalan club.

As Kobe’s Iniesta, David Villa and Sergi Samper were all reunited with their former team, it was Perez who stole the limelight with a top-class double.

The 21-year-old, a product of Barcelona’s academy, played a one-two inside the box and nutmegged the goalkeeper for his first goal, and fired a stunning left-footer for his second in the dying minutes.

Iniesta had his chances and 28,000 fans sighed their frustration as he put a fierce shot just wide.

Kobe also announced the signing of Belgium defender Thomas Vermaelen, after the 33-year-old reportedly turned down an offer to join countryman Vincent Kompany at Anderlecht.

Saturday’s win wrapped up Barcelona’s pre-season friendlies in Japan following their 2-1 loss to Chelsea earlier this week.

World Cup-winning French striker Antoine Griezmann and former Ajax midfielder Frenkie de Jong, who both made their unofficial debuts in the Chelsea match, played again on Saturday with no goals.

Meanwhile, Barcelona coach Valverde is confident new signing Griezmann -- who played in Saturday’s match -- will have no problems linking up with strike partners Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez when the trio finally appear in the same team together.

However, following their exploits in the Copa America, Messi and Suarez have been given an extended break and will not link up with the team until they return from Japan.

With 682 La Liga goals between them, Valverde is understandably excited about the attacking trident and believes Griezmann might be the missing part of the puzzle as Barcelona chase their first Champions League trophy since 2015.

Agence France-Presse