JOHANNESBURG, May 17 – With 78 000 fans chanting Messi, Messi, Messi, the FC Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde finally allowed the superstar Lionel Messi to enter the fray at the Nelson Mandela Centenary Cup clash against Mamelodi Sundowns at the FNB Stadium on Wednesday.
Messi was introduced 20 minutes from the end and Valverde said after the match the team including the superstar were suffering from flu.
“We are all struggling with flu, but it’s nothing major. I think it was important for Messi to participate towards the end of the game. He’s a player that has been playing a lot for us, but it’s nothing serious,” Valverde said.
Messi did not warm up with Barcelona before the game but the management decided to give him a run because of the huge support the 30-year-old enjoys in Mzanzi.
The Spanish giants ran out 3-1 winners thanks to goals from Ousmane Dembele, Luis Suarez and Andre Gomes.