Barcelona arrive in South Africa for Sundowns showdown

European and Spanish giants Barcelona have arrived in South Africa where they are expected to play a friendly match against South Africa league champions Mamelodi Sundowns later today.

The Barcelona team arrived in Johannesburg included Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and retiring Andres Iniesta.

They were received by top officials of Sundowns and football fans who thronged the airport to catch a glimpse of their football idols.

The game which takes place at the FNB stadium (formerly the Soccer City Stadium) will also be part of the commemoration of the centenary celebration of the life of the country’s first black president Nelson Mandela.

“FC Barcelona has always professed its admiration for Nelson Mandela, one of the greatest figures of the 20th century, who after 27 years in prison went on to become the first democratically elected president of post-apartheid South Africa from 1994 to 1999,” the Spanish side said in a statement confirming today’s fixture.

“Mandela represented the struggle for freedom and equality in the country, and played a huge role in unifying the racially divided society. It is precisely this kind of spirit with which FC Barcelona has always been identified,” the statement added.

Mandela was born on July 18, 1918.

The friendly comes after Barca’s painful La Liga loss to Levante over the weekend, which result denied them a record unbeaten run in the season. Their final game is at home to Real Sociedad on May 20.

Ernesto Valverde’s side clinched a 25th Liga title on April 29 and the King’s Cup on April 21 but failed to make history as the first team since 1933 to complete a Spanish top-flight season without losing a game.

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