Barcelona bringing top players to SA
BARCELONA have undertaken to bring their best stars to South Africa to play against Mamelodi Sundowns in the now-confirmed friendly soccer match at FNB Stadium on Wednesday‚ Downs president Patrice Motsepe said.
Newly-crowned Absa Premiership champions Sundowns meet new La Liga champions Barcelona in the Nelson Mandela Centenary Cup at FNB at 6pm on Wednesday.
Motsepe indicated that Barcelona would bring a full-strength team‚ along with 100 top officials.
That means one of the world’s two best footballers at present‚ forward Lionel Messi‚ should make a return to South Africa where he competed for quarterfinalists Argentina at the 2010 World Cup.
“That’s partly why we had to give them a little bit more time [in the organisations for the game] to make sure that we get the very best‚” Motsepe said.
“And that is the undertaking that we have received. So indeed it is the very‚ very best. Because it’s very important.”
Pressed on whether he knew of any particular players who would not make the trip‚ Motsepe said such information was confidential.
Barcelona‚ according to their website‚ are scheduled to arrive on Tuesday.
Among other global superstars in their lineup are the Spain trio of Gerard Pique‚ Sergio Busquets and André Iniesta who played in their country’s 1-0 2010 World Cup final victory against Netherlands at FNB.
Luis Suraez‚ a star for Uruguay when they beat Bafana Bafana at the 2010 World Cup and went onto the semifinals‚ and French starlet Ousmane Dembele‚ should also make the trip to South Africa.
Sundowns and the Motsepe Foundation are partnering with the Inter-Ministerial Committee of the South African government that is responsible for the Nelson Mandela Centenary Celebrations‚ the Nelson Mandela Foundation‚ Safa and La Liga to bring Barcelona to SA. – TimesLIVE
HE’S COMING: Barcelona's Lionel Messi, scoring here against Villareal, is expected to be in the European club’s squad which will play Mamelodi Sundowns in a friendly next week