Manchester City to face Barcelona in charity mid-season friendly
Manchester City will travel to the Nou Camp to face Barcelona in a charity match on August 24th.
In a report from The Athletic's Pol Ballús, Pep Guardiola’s side will face the Catalan outfit to honour former Barcelona player and coach Juan Carlos Unzué.
Unzué played just five games for Barcelona in a spell that spanned two years between 1988 and 1990, but it was as a coach that the Spanish-born goalkeeper made his name.
Appointed as goalkeeper coach in 2003, Unzué was part of the backroom staff during one of Barcelona’s most successful periods, including a two-year spell working with current City boss Guardiola.
The match, which will take place at Barcelona’s historic Nou Camp stadium, is in aid of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) awareness – a disease which Unzué was diagnosed with in February 2020.
Originally scheduled to take place last season, both clubs agreed to push the fixture back by one year to allow for crowds in the stadium.
Suggestions have been made the fixture may have taken place before the start of the campaign, but due to City's upcoming pre-season tour of the US, and July's Community Shield clash with Liverpool, that wasn't possible.
It comes just two weeks after the start of the Premier League campaign, where City will begin the defence of their title away to West Ham United on August 5th.
City will then welcome Bournemouth for their first home game of the season a week later, before a visit away to Newcastle on August 20th.
Following their trip to St. James' Park, City will make the journey to Spain, where The Athletic report Guardiola’s side will continue their usual training regime.
Billed for Wednesday 24th August, Guardiola’s side will take on Xavi’s Barcelona at the Nou Camp, before returning to England for the visit of Crystal Palace on August 27th.
With the 2022 World Cup in Qatar having caused disruption to the fixture list, the decision by City to add another match into an already congested schedule has raised some eyebrows.
Not least because City could still face Barcelona in the Champions League group stages, with the Catalan side in Pot 2 of August's draw.
It is unlikely Guardiola will risk any of City’s key players for the mid-season friendly match, but it will represent the 51-year-old’s first return to the Nou Camp since October 2016, when the Blues succumbed to a demoralising 4-0 defeat.
Written by: @AmosMurphy_
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