By Ayush Kumar
Get ready Sydney! Socceroos legend Brett Emerton says La Liga super-club FC Barcelona will unleash future superstars of the game when they take on the A-Leagues All Stars at Accor Stadium on Wednesday 25 May.
One of Australia’s most capped Socceroos, Emerton (95 caps and 490 senior club appearances) says emerging stars at FC Barcelona such as Pedri, Puig, Fati and Nico Gonzalez will provide the spectators with a thriller of a match, for one night in Sydney only.
While the final playing squad of FC Barcelona won’t be confirmed until closer to the tour dates, Emerton says the next generation of Barca players are some of the most exciting young footballers in the world today:
“Really excited to see them come here. Historically their achievements are outstanding and they’ve produced some of the best players in the world,” Emerton said. “So not only are we able to see the stars of Barcelona that have been around for many years, we’re going to see some of the stars that are up and coming and are going to be watched for many years to come.”
Speaking pitch-side at Accor Stadium, where he captained the inaugural A-League All Stars against Manchester United, Emerton said players fortunate enough to be selected for the A-Leagues All Stars team to take on Barca will get a rare opportunity to test themselves against some of the world’s best.
“For the boys currently playing in the A-League and haven’t spent time playing in Europe, I think it’s a fantastic opportunity to test themselves against the best players in the world,” Emerton said.
“And it’s a fantastic opportunity for them to see the level they need to get to if they want to take the next step in the right direction in their own footballing careers.”
Having played alongside Dwight Yorke at Blackburn Rovers in 2003, Emerton is ecstatic at Yorke being given the managerial responsibility of the A-Leagues All Stars as he believes the former English Premier League and A-League champion can pass on some wisdom to the young players in Australia.
“Dwight York, as the manager of the team, brings a wealth of experience . . . so the players can learn a lot from him,” Emerton said.
“When I moved to Blackburn Rovers in 2003, I played alongside Dwight for a number of years so I know him well. As a footballer he was very intelligent, and I learned a lot personally from him.
“Obviously, having played here himself, he knows Australia and the elite well, so I couldn’t think of anyone better suited to manage the team.”
FC Barcelona will be heading Down Under after they conclude a hard-fought season in Spain, but Emerton believes the All Stars team will have their work cut out to contain Barca.
“I think Barcelona will have too much quality and come out on top. I know they’re at the end of their season, but as professional footballers you always want to win so they will come here to play and play well and get the result.”
Emerton said the encounter between Barca and the All Stars is not only historic as the Spanish giants head to Australia for the first time ever but also a wonderful opportunity for football lovers in Australia to witness some of the world’s best in The Beautiful Game.
“FC Barcelona coming to the stadium in Australia, for the very first time, is a fantastic opportunity for the football community here in Sydney and in the whole of Australia to come and see one of the best teams live in action,” he said.
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