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Barcelona and Manchester City will play friendlies this summer in a move to raise funds for ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) – a form of motor neurone disease.
The clubs will play each other with all profits from the matches being directed towards research into the disease, while their women's teams will also face off for the cause.
Whist no date has been struck for the matches to be played, Catalan newspaper Sport say that they could be held after the domestic seasons for both clubs have begun – with the week of 23 August pencilled in.
Indeed, there is a possibility that the match could be played as the Joan Gamper Trophy – the annual friendly match in honour of Barcelona ’s founding member and early president, in which City previously competed in both 1982 and 2009.
Sergio Aguero joined Barcelona this summer after his Manchester City contract expired
(Image: NurPhoto/PA Images)
Relations between the two clubs are close with City coached by former Blaugrana boss Pep Guardiola, while the Premier League champions' Director of Football, Txiki Begiristain and CEO Ferran Soriano were also previously of the Catalan giants.
Relations between the two sides continued this summer as Barcelona completed the double signing of free agents Eric Garcia and Sergio Aguero following the expiry of their respective contracts at the Etihad.
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Meanwhile, City boss Guardiola was spotted playing golf earlier this month alongside Barcelona president Joan Laporta – who was the club’s supremo between 2003 and 2010, before being re-elected to the position in March.
The friendly games will be in tribute to former Barca player, assistant coach and goalkeeping coach Juan Carlos Unzue, who was diagnosed with ALS in July 2020.
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There is no known cure for motor neurone disease – a debilitating disease that can lead to paralysis.
Unzue made the announcement of his condition last summer in the press facilities of the Camp Nou in front of Spain boss Luis Enrique, his long term colleague, and the squad of Barcelona.
He announced : “I just wanted to tell you that I have ALS and that they have given me four years to live.
“People have a great capacity to adapt to life. I have met other sick people who are very much eager to continue living, despite the difficulties, because life is worth it.”
The former goalkeeper played 318 La Liga matches in 17 seasons and was most famed for a seven-year playing stint at Sevilla following two seasons at the Camp Nou, before going into coaching.
Unzue was goalkeeping coach at the Blaugrana between 2003 and 2010 before managerial stints with Numancia and Racing Santander – although he was dismissed at the later before overseeing a competitive match due to a fallout with the board.
He then was the number two to Luis Enrique at both Celta Vigo and Barcelona – where they won nine trophies in three seasons, including two La Liga titles and the Champions League – before Unzue went back into management at both Celta and Girona.