Ernesto Valverde explains Lionel Messi cameo and Barcelona's South Africa inspiration

A battle for supremacy between Spanish giants Barcelona and SA's Mamelodi Sundowns

Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi has reportedly informed Barca chiefs to sell Portugal global Andre Gomes this summer.

The Spanish giants kept their end of the deal in fielding all their star players as they defeated the Absa Premiership champions in a Mandela Centenary Cup match on Wednesday.

Goals from Ousmane Dembele, Luis Suarez and Andre Gomes were enough to give Barca a comfortable win over Sundowns.

With such achievements, a superb crowd, and a mouthwatering team up their sleeves it seemed as if Barcelona were up for a treat in South Africa.

"We came to play football and to honour Nelson Mandela, someone who was very close to the hearts of all Spaniards".

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Dembele, Suarez and Gomes all took advantage of defensive errors, with Dembele curling a left-foot shot into net in the third minute and Suarez doubling the lead in the 18th minute. Although Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane tried by every means to hype the mood of the players which seemed to have worked for a while as the Sundowns attacking force which comprises of Khama Billiat, Tau and Themba Zwane started to showcase some energy and hunger for goals their zest was futile and Sundowns went to the break trailing by two goals to nil.

Valverde made 10 changes during half-time, but Messi was not among those introduced, leading the crowd to repeatedly chant "Messi, Messi, Messi".

The hastily arranged friendly match, which earned Barcelona three million euros from billionaire Sundowns owner Patrice Motsepe, was ostensibly to mark 100 years since the birth of Mandela. He said after the match that they have paid their school fees. Sibusiso Vilakazi scored the consolation goal for Sundowns.

There were nearly wholesome changes for the Barcelona in the second half as they continued to dominate the former Caf Champions League winners and a third goal arrived in the 66 minute.

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