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South Africa spends 2.3 billion FCFA to bring Barcelona FC to South Africa to play Sundowns

The much anticipated Nelson Mandela Centenary Cup looks ready to go on Wednesday night, with Barcelona having arrived at OR Tambo International.

The Catalans have brought their big guns, including Lionel Messi, for the one-day trip. Messi had a slight injury scare this week, but the latest reports suggest that he’ll be fine and fit to play against Sundowns.

The cost of the whole shindig, though, has been something that’s been widely speculated about – with some estimates putting it in the region of over R100 million.

Spanish media, however, are reporting a slightly lower cash figure, although, the total costs still add up to a pretty penny.

Spanish media reported that the cost to bring Barcelona to South Africa was EUR 3 million, or about R45 million.

But mining magnate Patrice Motsepe also had to fork out for a chartered plane, with business class seats for all 21 players and the support staff, according to the Spanish reports.

Last week, there were some doubts on whether the match would even go ahead. Barcelona dragged their feet on confirming the fixture – reportedly until financial terms were agreed upon.

There were also some concerns over who will actually turn up for the fixture. The La Liga season is not over just yet and coach Ernesto Valverde said he did not want to take any risks with players ahead of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Still, a full-strength squad has made the trip. How much game time those stars will get remains to be seen.

The Barcelona jet will remain at OR Tambo International Airport on Wednesday before taking off again for the return flight at midnight.

The Spanish giants will play Real Sociedad in their final La Liga fixture of the season on Sunday. But they have already got the league wrapped up, sitting on 90 points with Atletico Madrid in second on 78.

This article was originally published on The South African. Read the original article.