Lionel Messi arrives in the country

Barcelona bigwigs ready to upset Lionel Messi with Luis Suarez sale - Spanish press

Barcelona bigwigs ready to upset Lionel Messi with Luis Suarez sale - Spanish press

Earlier, Messi and the rest of the squad drew hundreds of South Africans to OR Tambo Airport in Johannesburg at 6 a.m. local time to see Barcelona arrive.

The Spanish giants flew into the country on Wednesday morning and jetted out the same night, after defeating Sundowns in the centenary friendly.

Although it was but a fleeting appearance from Messi, some 75,000 fans got a glimpse of the star quality that has made him into a world superstar, and afterwards he poses for a myriad of pictures as the Sundowns players mobbed him for selfies.

However, the technical team felt it was important for Messi to participate in the match, probably because of the huge support the 30-year-old enjoys in South Africa.

Messi who was rested in the Barcelona's previous La Liga fixture took to the field much to the excitement of the South African supporters.

Those in the stadium were unconcerned that an African Champions League game was postponed in order to accommodate the match.

"The match was originally fixed for Tuesday, 15 May 2018 but was postponed at the request of Mamelodi Sundowns", it said.

At just 22, he is a long-term prospect, and could be a match victor in the future for the newly crowned La Liga champions.

Ousmane Dembele and Andre Gomes also scored for the Spanish champions before Sibusiso Vilakazi replied for the hosts at Soccer City, near Johannesburg. The goal seemed to have spiked some fear in the Sundowns team as they were making sloppy passes and clearances that could have increased the gap within the first ten minutes. Barcelona fielded two completely different lineups in each half.

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