Spanish giants FC Barcelona is paying tribute to the tragedy-struck Brazilian outfit Chapecoense by inviting the team to play in a pre-season friendly this coming summer as the team looks to rebuild from scratch.
The defending La Liga champions made the request formal by asking the Brazilian club if they are open to participating in the Joan Gamper Trophy at the Nou Camp, a match that is held every year where the hosts invite a team of their choice.
According to Barcelona, this invitation is only meant to pay tribute to the Chapecoense team as well as help them rebuild as a sporting institution following the demise of 19 of the team’s players in a plane crash that killed a total of 71 people. The team was flying to Colombia to play in the Copa Sudamericana final that was to be held on November 28, unfortunately, they did not make it. Nonetheless, their opponents, Atletico Nacional, showed a sporting gesture by handing over the championship to the Brazilian team – a feat that saw them receive an award for fair play.
Despite confirming the invitation, Barcelona did not confirm the exact date that this match will be held, but the Spanish giants said that more details shall be made known to the world as this celebration approaches. The team will also be happy to help Chapecoense in institutional and sporting redevelopment to ensure that the small Brazilian outfit is competitive again. The directors of the Brazilian team have yet to respond to this invitation.
During the plane crash, just three players from the entire team survived – reserve goalkeeper Jackson Ragnar Follmann and defenders Alan Luciano Ruschel and Helio Hermito Zampier Neto.
As noted earlier, the Copa Sudamericana trophy was handed to Chapecoense by CONMEBOL, the region’s football governing body, at the request of Colombia’s Atletico Nacional.