When Barcelona were last in South Africa …

Barcelona will make a whistle-stop visit to Soweto to face Mamelodi Sundowns at the FNB Stadium tonight, but this will not be the first time the Catalan giants have appeared on South African shores.

Their arrival for a match in celebration of the centenary of the birth of former South African president Nelson Mandela has been met with feverish excitement by local fans, with just over 80 000 tickets sold within days of them going on sale.

There were similar scenes when Barcelona made a visit in 2007 at the invitation of Sundowns’ billionaire owner Patrice Motsepe, who had long made known his admiration for the Spanish giants and jumped at the chance to have his name up in lights.

Eleven years ago it was all about Brazilian legend Ronaldinho, while this year Lionel Messi is the focus for South…

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