Wednesday 24 January 2018

Barcelona lined up for glamour Aviva summer clash with Celtic

Lionel Messi could play at the Aviva with Barcelona
Lionel Messi could play at the Aviva with Barcelona
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Lionel Messi's Barcelona are in advanced talks about coming to Dublin to take on Celtic in a friendly at the Aviva Stadium this summer, and Manchester United could also appear at the venue in a separate fixture.

The La Liga giants have been lined up for a glamour friendly with the SPL champions and an August encounter is on the agenda if the fixture comes to fruition. Barca are understood to have other options on the table, but there is confidence they will come to Irish shores four years after the FAI refused to sanction their proposed visit to Limerick.

However, one complication is a recent change of staff in the department which has responsibility for the organisation of their friendly games.

The FAI would have responsibility for this year's lucrative fixture along similar lines to the 'Dublin Decider' between Celtic and Liverpool last August.

There has been speculation about the possibility of a four-team tournament on Irish shores with Manchester United involved, but that has been dismissed by Association sources.

However, United are believed to have been approached for a visit against alternative opposition prior to the scheduled Celtic-Barcelona clash. They are pencilled in for a tour of the US which concludes on August 2.

The Aviva already has one confirmed high-profile guest in the diary with Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool coming to Ballsbridge to lock horns with Shamrock Rovers on May 14.

Lionel Messi and his star-studded colleagues would be a huge draw, although the availability of marquee names would be shaped by the success of their respective countries in this summer's World Cup in Brazil.

Irish Independent

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