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Barcelona bringing its best to play Korea

May 21,2010
Kwak Jung-hwan, left, the head of the K-League, and Barcelona CEO Joan Oliver strike a pose at the press conference yesterday at the Seoul Grand Hilton Hotel. [NEWSIS]
Lionel Messi and his Barcelona teammates are coming to Korea to face the K-League’s best.

Barcelona FC will play the K-League All-Stars at the Seoul World Cup Stadium on Aug. 4, starting at 8 p.m., to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Spain and Korea.

The upcoming visit will be Barcelona’s second visit. Barca last came here in 2004 to play the Suwon Blue-wings in a friendly match, and lost 0-1.

“It’s an honor to be able to play the K-League All-Stars in August. Since our last visit in 2004, we haven’t had a chance to come to Korea,” said Barcelona CEO John Oliver at a press conference at the Grand Hilton Hotel in Hongeun-dong, northern Seoul yesterday.

“Football can act as a bridge to connect different countries, cultures and people. The upcoming match is significant in that it will act as a bridge between Korea and Spain.”

While European clubs sometimes do not bring their top roster when making overseas visits, the friendly match will feature Barcelona’s biggest stars, such as Lionel Messi, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thierry Henry, Carles Puyol and Rafael Marquez, among others.

Although the lineup may change in case of transfers and injuries, Barcelona FC officials are planning to bring their top names to Korea.

“The players will arrive in Korea two days prior to the game. I will work to have all our players included on the trip.

“The only exception is that with the World Cup coming up, we just never know what might happen,” said Oliver, alluding to the possibility of injuries.

“It’s important that a lot of fans show up to the stadium. I can promise, we’ll work to provide the fans with an entertaining night and a top-quality match.”

When asked about the quality of the Korean national team, Oliver stated: “The impressive run Korea had at the 2002 World Cup left a lasting impression. I think that Korea is the best football team in all of Asia. I think it would be great if Korea got a chance to meet Spain at the upcoming World Cup.”

Founded in 1899, Barcelona is one of the most successful clubs in all of Europe. Barca boasts 20 La Liga titles, 25 Spanish Cups, eight Spanish Super Cups, four Eva Duarte Cups and two League Cups, as well as three UEFA Champions League titles.

It won the FIFA Club World Cup last year.


By Jason Kim [jason@joongang.co.kr]



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