Barcelona new signing Memphis Depay could not hide his delight after making a goalscoring debut for the Catalan giants on Saturday in a pre-season friendly win over Girona at the Estadi Johan Cruyff.
Memphis replaced striker Rey Manaj on 42 minutes and struck his first goal for his new club with a powerful penalty to make it 3-1 on 85 minutes.
The Netherlands international offered his thoughts after the match and admitted he loved wearing the Barcelona shirt for the first time, as reported by the club’s official media.
He said, “It feels amazing to play in this shirt you know. It was tough, the first minutes of the match but I really enjoyed it. My teammates they helped me and I enjoyed it. There was a lot of energy in the stadium. I always try to see the spaces between the lines. I can bring a lot of creativity, goals, and assists. The fans are amazing, giving energy to the team.”
Barcelona opened the scoring from the penalty spot through Gerard Pique before Manaj made it 2-0 to the hosts. Girona pulled one back in the second half with a spot-kick before Memphis completed the scoring.
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Warm Welcome For Memphis
Supporters at the Estadi Johan Cruyff handed Memphis a warm welcome as he prepared to come on to replace Manaj at the end of the first half, as shown by the club’s Twitter account.
The Dutchman clearly enjoyed his first outing as a Barcelona player, while Ronald Koeman offered the forward praise after the match, as reported by Diario Sport.
He explained, “Depay has been good. He has played more minutes than planned. He is a high quality player and has shown it at certain moments of the game. He is important, because you have to have competition in top positions.”
Memphis only returned to pre-season training earlier this week after taking a vacation after Euro 2020 but came on in the first half to replace Manaj who had taken a knock to the head and was substituted as a precaution.
More Friendlies For Barca
After two pre-season friendlies in Barcelona, the team now heads to Germany for a training camp. Koeman’s men will also play another friendly against Bundesliga side Stuttgart on Saturday, July 31 and then head to Austria for a fixture at Red Bull Salzburg four days later.
The squad will then return to Barcelona to prepare for a final friendly against Juventus in the Joan Gamper Trophy on August 8. The fixture is the team’s last before the new La Liga season kicks off with Barca starting off against Real Sociedad on August 15.
Koeman admitted that his international players, who missed the start of pre-season training due to Euro 2020 and the Copa America, will be handed more game time in the coming fixtures.
He added, “Some will have more minutes than others. The internationals have started this week and could not to play more than 30 minutes. Little by little they will have more minutes and more games to be prepared for the first league game.”