FC Barcelona president Joan Laporta, Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola and retired footballer and coach Juan Carlos Unzue presented Monday a friendly game that will be played between the two clubs at Camp Nou on August 24, more than two weeks after the 22/23 Premier League season starts.
The earnings will fund research and investigation to find a cure to ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), a non-curable disease with which Juan Carlos Unzue was diagnosed in 2020.
Unzue announced he had the disease in June 2020.
He was assistant coach to Luis Enrique in Barça until 2017, retiring in 2019 coaching Girona.
Speaking about the game, Laporta talked about the prestige of the fixture and thus the importance of winning it despite being a charity game.
“A friendly game against Manchester City isn’t friendly at all. We can say we have friends at Manchester City. I read his thoughts (pointing to Guardiola). Because we were able to defeat 4-0 Real Madrid and now we want to defeat the Premier League champions. So on August 24 we will meet and play a game that it may be called friendly, but it won’t friendly at all.”
Guardiola, understandably, was full of praise for Barcelona as well as about Xavi, Barcelona’s manager who played such a vital role under Guardiola when he was in charge of the club.
“Just by being here I have so many memories in my head. I feel at home. I love being back here at Camp Nou. Since I left the club each time I come here they always thrash us. But I hope we will change that. I am very happy. Very happy to be here. For whichever motive. For Champions League or like this time around to help ALS’ friends.”
“He was my teammate. And then I had the opportunity of being his coach. I will always be grateful for how he helped me on the pitch. The players are the ones that help a coach keep working. He was a key player when we were together. Well, Xavi’s career speaks for itself. And now he has the opportunity to be back here to help the club and the board of directors. To put the club back where it deserves to be. Where it will be back again. Because the club has the capacity of doing that, and it will get done. Happy to reunite with him here. Very happy.”
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