Manchester City will travel to the Camp Nou on 24 August, more than two weeks into the Premier League season, to face Barcelona in a friendly to raise money for charity.
The City manager, Pep Guardiola, attended Monday’s press conference at his former club to announce the fixture alongside the Barcelona president, Joan Laporta. They were joined by the club’s former goalkeeper and coach, Juan Carlos Unzué, who was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) two years ago. All proceeds from the game will go to Fundación Luzón, an ALS research charity.
“This is an honour for us,” Guardiola said. “We want to thank Barça for inviting us to this wonderful venue. We will tell our players why this matters so much. It is admirable, and Unzué’s words show that. I am very happy to come. By doing this, Barcelona has once again shown why we are the best.”
The game will take place after the Premier League season begins, with City visiting Newcastle United sometime on the weekend of 20-21 August, then hosting Crystal Palace at the end of the following week. Despite this, Guardiola insisted that he would bring a strong squad to Catalonia – which led Laporta to mention Bernardo Silva, who has been linked with a move to Barcelona this summer.
“Right now I think Bernardo will continue with us,” Guardiola said. “Our goal, as a club, is for him to stay with us, but I have always said I don’t want players that don’t want to be with us. But Bernardo is important and I think he will stay. It’s true he could be with Barça – I don’t know what will happen.”
Barcelona face competition from three Premier League clubs over their planned move for the Leeds winger Raphinha. Barça have agreed personal terms with the Brazilian, but are yet to agree a fee with Leeds, while Arsenal are in direct negotiations with the Yorkshire club. Chelsea and Tottenham have also expressed an interest in the 25-year-old, who could cost up to €75m (£64.5m).
The Spanish club is yet to announce any signings this summer but have also been linked with a move for Bayern Munich forward Robert Lewandowski, Milan midfielder Franck Kessié and a trio of Chelsea defenders – Marcos Alonso, César Azpilicueta and Andreas Christensen.