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Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo South Africa visit scuppered by coronavirus

Coronavirus has put an end to Barcelona and Juventus going to South Africa for a pre-season tournament this summer to celebrate Mamelodi Sundowns’ 50th anniversary

Barcelona and Juventus will not be heading to South Africa this summer for a pre-season tournament due to the coronavirus crisis.

The planned four-team competition is no longer going ahead as the global pandemic has scuppered the celebrations.

To mark the 50th anniversary of South African club Mamelodi Sundowns, billionaire owner Patrice Motsepe intended to welcome the two giants of European football to Gauteng.

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo would have subsequently been a part of the tournament, and it would have seen the two greats of the modern game go head-to-head once again.

But the Barcelona superstar and ex-Real Madrid hero are no longer poised to travel to South Africa in a few months’ time.

Sundowns executive Yogesh Singh revealed the preparations are now on the back burner due to the ongoing crisis.

He confirmed: “Yes there were plans but right now all of that is on hold. Whatever plans we may have had are shelved now. Remember, there is no football, so we can’t even talk about that.

“Even if the situation with coronavirus goes away the priority will be about finishing the season and right now there are too many challenges with that. So we can’t be thinking about any friendly games.

“We need to pause and forget about sports. Right now we are worried about the health and lives of people.”

The defending Absa Premiership champions were due to figure in the four-team competition in July with Barcelona, Juventus and Moroccan side Wydad Casablanca, according to South African outlet Sowetan.

Back in 2018, Sundowns owner Motsepe brought Messi to town as Barcelona played them in a friendly.

Andres Iniesta, Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele all featured too as the La Liga side won 3-1.

The 50th anniversary celebrations of Sundowns this year, though, have been brought to a halt, with Messi and Ronaldo no longer facing off in July.

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