Brazil­ians, Barca thriller for SA

Saturday Star - - FRONT PAGE - NJABULO NGIDI

SOUTH African cham­pi­ons Mamelodi Sun­downs forked out €7 mil­lion (R104m) to host Span­ish cham­pi­ons Barcelona at FNB Sta­dium on May 16 in an in­ter­na­tional friendly.

The Brazil­ians con­firmed the news yes­ter­day in what will be Barcelona’s sec­ond visit to the coun­try to face Sun­downs.

Their first bout took place at Lof­tus Vers­feld Sta­dium in 2007. The Cata­lan side brought their star play­ers, in­clud­ing Ronald­inho and Sa­muel Eto’o, for that game, which they won 2-1.

Barcelona will once again bring their star play­ers to the coun­try, in­clud­ing Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, as part of the agree­ment which Sun­downs signed with the Span­ish gi­ant.

The match al­most didn’t hap­pen as Barcelona’s South Amer­i­can play­ers wanted to re­turn home to pre­pare for the World Cup. But the two par­ties man­aged to reach an agree­ment that will see them fea­ture in this friendly be­fore go­ing home to pre­pare for the global show­piece that will be staged in Rus­sia.

Sun­downs’ match against Horoya, which was orig­i­nally sched­uled for May 15 in Guinea, in the Caf Cham­pi­ons League, has been pushed back to ac­com­mo­date this friendly.

PIC­TURE: EPA

Barcelona for­ward Lionel Messi.

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