Barcelona Legends lines up against former Mohun Bagan stars

A team of the former stalwarts of Spanish giant FC Barcelona is in the city to play a friendly match against a combination of former players of Mohun Bagan, at the Salt Lake Stadium on Friday.

(From left) Javier Saviola, Juliano Belletti, Edmilson and coach Albert Ferrer in Kolkata on Thursday.   -  PTI

A day before the elite teams of the country begin their campaign for the fifth season of Indian Super League (ISL), the venue of its inauguration – the Salt Lake Stadium – will welcome some of the brightest names of world football. A team of the former stalwarts of Spanish giant FC Barcelona is in the city to play a friendly match against a combination of former players of Mohun Bagan, at the Salt Lake Stadium on Friday.

Setting an interesting prelude to the upcoming action, the constellation of Barcelona “legends” participated in a lively interaction with the media on Thursday. Sharing the dais with two World Cup winners in Brazilians Edmilson and Juliano Belletti, Javier Saviola, the Argentine forward who has an Olympic gold to his name, spoke about his more famous compatriot Lione Messi. “We know that Argentina did not perform to the expectations in this World Cup, but we should not haul up Messi for that. I think we should just let him relax. He should be given time to decide whether he wants to turn out for Argentina. Hopefully, he will come back in the national colours, but if it is otherwise, it will be his personal choice,” said Saviola, who won an Olympic gold in 2004.

The 36-year-old Argentine, who shared a World Cup assignment with Messi in 2006, is the part of the Barcelona Legends’ team. He is joined by Edmilson and Belletti, who lifted the World Cup in 2002. There also are the likes of the Portuguese star Simao Sabrosa and Finland’s Jari Litmanen. The Legends are coached by Albert ‘Chapi’ Ferrer, who played under the great Johan Cruyff at Barcelona and won the Champions League in 1992.

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