Catalonia test awaits Eagles
FC Barcelona superstars, Carles Puyol, Victor Valdez, Gerard Pique and Xavi Hernandez have been named in the Catalonia squad to face Nigeria’s Super Eagles on January 2, 2013.
It is an exhibition game at the Cornella-El Prat Stadium, the home ground of La Liga club, RCD Espanyol.
Manager of the Catalonia side, Johan Cruyff named a strong squad that included 10 players from FC Barcelona, seven from RCD Espanyol and two from La Liga club, Rayo Vallecano.
Austrian club, Red Bull Salzburg, Getafe and AC Milan have one player each in the team which was unveiled in a ceremony attended by the president of the Catalonia Federation, Andreu Subies.
The friendly against the Super Eagles is Cruyff's last game in charge of Catalonia, and he said that the best players have been chosen, leaving out players from the second division, because it is an important game and the opponents are preparing for the African Cup of Nations.
''For me it was a personal obligation. Forty years ago I was well received and have been here as a player and coach. I have fulfilled my obligations that I targeted,'' the former Ajax player told mundodeportivo.com.
Head coach of the Super Eagles, Stephen Keshi also spoke about the game.
“This will be my second time of facing Catalonia as a coach. I still recall when we were preparing for the 2000 Africa Cup of Nations when I was assistant to Bonfrere Jo. We lost that game 4-1,” Keshi told supersport.com.
The ‘Big Boss’ also assured Nigerian fans not to lose sleep over the game as the team will "put in a strong performance against Catalonia."
“We will be playing that game with a team dominated by players who ply their trade in the Nigeria Premier League. One or two foreign-based professionals will join us and I want to assure our teeming fans that the boys selected for that game will put in a strong performance against Catalonia,” Keshi explained.
Goalkeepers : Victor Valdes (Barcelona), Kiko Casilla (Espanyol)
Defenders: Martin Montoya, Gerard Pique, Carles Puyol, Marc Bartra, Jordi Alba (all Barcelona), Raul Rodriguez, Joan Capdevila (Espanyol), Jordi Amat (Rayo Vallecano)
Midfielders: Sergio Busquets, Xavi Hernandez, Sergi Roberto, Cristian Tello (all Barcelona), Victor Sanchez, Joan Verdú, Sergio Tejera (Espanyol)
Strikers: Alvaro Vazquez (Getafe), Jonathan Soriano (Red Bull Salzburg), Piti (Rayo Vallecano), Sergio Garcia(Espanyol), Bojan Krkic (Milan).