Barcelona, Spain (AP) — Barcelona’s record-breaking season was fueled by the arrival of the world’s largest soccer team, and the birth of a first daughter.
The Catalan giants will host Real Madrid on Friday, the team’s first game since the end of the 2017 campaign, as part of a new, internationalized schedule for the 2019-20 season.
The season will end at the end, after the first knockout round matches.
The first match is also scheduled for Feb. 24 in the city of Cadiz.
The first match, a 2-0 win against Valencia, was a sellout, and organizers say there will be a new game in 2019, with another date for the 2020 season not yet decided.
That means the 2020 Barcelona schedule will be the second-biggest soccer schedule in the world behind only England’s.
It will be followed by the 2019 European Cup and 2022 World Cup.
A record-setting season was also fueled by new stadiums, and a new generation of fans who will get a first-ever taste of the Catalan club.
The stadium will be in a renovated former factory, built in the 1950s, and it will be able to host a maximum of 40,000 fans.
It’s expected to host the 2022 European Championship, the World Cup and the UEFA Champions League.
It will be open to the public and is a step forward for the city that has been trying to get more soccer fans in the past two decades.
It has hosted games with the U.S. and Germany, and there were hopes of more big matches.
In the first quarter of the year, Barcelona’s crowds were in the range of 15,000 to 20,000, far above expectations.
That’s still far short of the 25,000 expected in 2021, but the city said it’s a big step forward.
It added that fans are eager to see the team win, and said they have already made their first trip to the stadium.
Barcelona had a record-tying seven sellouts for games this season.
Barcelona has also become the biggest soccer market in the Americas, overtaking Brazil as the biggest market in Latin America, according to a study by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
Barça is the world leader in attendance and is the second largest club in the Premier League.
Its average attendance for the 2018-19 season was 29,800.
The average attendance last season was 32,878.
Barca is also the biggest club in Spain.
Its home stadium is the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, home of the club’s home matches.
The team has been the subject of criticism for a lack of women’s players in recent years.
Barcelona will have only one female player in the first team.