FC Barcelona announced the squad travelling to South Africa last night, and it included a stellar cast of bona fide ballers to take on Mamelodi Sundowns at FNB Stadium tonight.
Perhaps the biggest question on everyone's lips was whether Lionel Messi would travel with the squad — some European fans on social media were incredulous that Messi would play in South Africa.
This comes after he was rested this weekend for the game against Levante, a decision that some reckon cost the side its unbeaten status.
Those rumours have now been firmly put to bed — Messi has been confirmed in the squad. In fact, the line-up includes all the superstars — only Samuel Umtiti and Thomas Vermaelen are staying behind because of injury.
The full Barca line-up:
Ter Stegen, Cillessen, Semedo, Piqué, Rakitic, Sergio, Denis, Iniesta, Suárez, Messi, Dembélé, Coutinho, Paulinho, Alcácer, Jordi Alba, Digne, Sergi Roberto, André Gomes, Aleix Vidal, Yerry Mina, Aleñá (26), R. de Galarreta (40), J. Cuenca (41).
[📋 SQUAD] Ter Stegen, Cillessen, Semedo, Piqué, Rakitic, Sergio, Denis, Iniesta, Suárez, Messi, Dembélé, Coutinho, Paulinho, Alcácer, Alba, Digne, S Roberto, André Gomes, A Vidal, Y Mina, Aleñá (26), R de Galarreta (40) & J Cuenca (41) #SundownsBarçapic.twitter.com/DLJau3JwVI— FC Barcelona 🏆🏆 (@FCBarcelona) May 15, 2018
The team left Spain at 9pm (Central European Summer Time, which is equivalent to 9pm in SA too) on Tuesday night, and were scheduled to land at OR Tambo International in South Africa at 7.30am. The team is expected to fly out again on Wednesday evening.
However, their flight was delayed until after 8am. That did not stop the fans from greeting the team in numbers when they arrived at the airport.
...Barcelona arrive for Sundowns game, it's going to be epic! https://t.co/blLbKmu4bs— John Mupetami (@Johnmupetami) May 16, 2018
The match is set to kick-off 6.15pm and Jacques Grobbelaar‚ the CEO of Stadium Management SA‚ said more than 1,600 security personnel have been deployed to direct the 87,437 fans who have bought tickets for the eagerly anticipated encounter.