Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde made a positive assessment of the friendly his team played in South Africa against Mamelodi Sundowns.
Barca cruised to 3-1 victory thanks to goals from Ousmane Dembele, Luis Suarez and Paco Alcacer, but Valverde was pleased that the locals were able to see their idols up front – especially Lionel Messi.
“The expectation that Leo generates is incredible; they cheered him from the first moment, not only in the stadium, because they did it from the moment we set foot in the country,” Valverde said to reporters.
“There was a certain danger as we were coming off a long trip and there could have been a drop in level, but in the end we asked the players to be focused and not take any risks.”
Valverde applauded the hosts for providing a “fast surface” that allowed for good football from both sides, whilst he insisted on praising the fans for “the atmosphere we encountered right from the start”.