Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona now owns a second luxury apartment in Florida. Image via Getty Images

Will Barcelona bring a full-strength squad to face Mamelodi Sundowns?

The game is sandwiched between two league fixtures for Barca. But it seems like they’re taking things very seriously.

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona now owns a second luxury apartment in Florida. Image via Getty Images

The power of Madiba, eh? As part of the celebrations commemorating 100 years since his birth, Mamelodi Sundowns will face Barcelona in a showpiece friendly.

It truly is a huge coup for both the Masandawara and South African football in general. The Catalan giants need no introduction on these shores, as their exploits in the game have re-written the sport’s history books.

Will Barcelona bring their first team to South Africa?

Are the big stars coming out to play? Or will Barcelona just send a team out to fulfil an obligation? Ladies and gentleman, we have your answer.

Dr Patrice Motsepe – owner of Mamelodi Sundowns – told a press conference on Thursday that football fans can start getting excited. According to him, the likes of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez will take part in Johannesburg.

The director of La Liga Africa – Antonio Barradas – has also confirmed that “the top players” will compete against Mamelodi Sundowns. He even mentioned Lionel Messi by name.

What is great news for the neutral could be a nightmare for the coaching staff, though. Sundowns head coach Pitso Mosimane will now have to find a way to stop the Argentine magician and the ruthless threat of Barcelona’s attack.

Mamelodi Sundowns gear up for revenge

Barcelona return to face the PSL champions 11 years after the sides first met. It was the Spanish title-winners’ maiden visit to South Africa, as they ran out 2-1 winners against the Sundowns.

They also sent a delegation of players to meet Nelson Mandela. So it’s incredibly fitting that the likes of Andrés Iniesta – who was present a decade ago – will be back in Mzansi to take part in the centenary celebrations.

All systems go

There were a few doubts the fixture was going ahead initially, as confirmation took an age to come through. However, football-mad South Africans can rest a little easier now, as Barca shared details of the fixture through their official website.

The Spaniards will return back home for their last fixture of the season against Real Sociedad on 20 May, aiming to cap an entire domestic season unbeaten. Who knows, they might even contemplate bringing Percy Tau back with them!