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Star-studded Barcelona Squad Lands in South Africa Ahead of Mamelodi Friendly

Barcelona stars Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Philippe Countinho and Andres Inietsa are part of the Catalans squad that arrived in South Africa just hours before their game against Premier Soccer League Champions Mamelodi Sundowns at the FNB Stadium.

The La Liga Champions confirmed the friendly match last week, but rumours surfaced that they would field a second team against the South African side.

The game is part of celebrations for former president Nelson Mandela, who would have celebrated his centenary birthday this year.

“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. 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,” a statement from the club read in part.

Barcelona goes into the game on the back of a first league loss to Levante on Sunday, a result that ended any hopes of an unbeaten season.

The Catalans still have a game to play, though had already been declared champions of the Spanish top flight league.

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