Why are Barcelona playing Manchester City? Camp Nou to host charity match between European giants

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The European season is well underway, but giants FC Barcelona and Manchester City will break from their competitive pursuits when they face off on Aug. 24 in a charity match that will benefit a cause that hits close to home for both organizations.

The teams are getting together at the Camp Nou to support a former assistant coach of Pep Guardiola’s in a match dubbed “A Great Game for a Greater Cause.”

Each team should feature a strong starting lineup, with the two clubs hoping to put on a show in support of a mutual friend and colleague.

While the match is scheduled in the midst of the league season, it’s still early enough in the campaign that it shouldn’t cause too much trouble for either with Champions League matches still a couple of weeks away.

Both clubs are expected to challenge for their respective domestic league titles this season, with Man City already near the top of the Premier League table, while Barcelona are also unbeaten through their first two La Liga matches.

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Why are Barcelona and Manchester City playing a charity match?

The match has been set up to support ALS research on behalf of former Pep Guardiola assistant coach Juan Carlos Unzue, who was diagnosed with the disease in early 2020.

Unzue, a former goalkeeper who briefly played for Barcelona (1988-1990), was an assistant coach at Barcelona from 2003-2010 and again from 2014-2017. He overlapped with Guardiola at the club from 2007-2010 before being hired away to manage Numancia.

Unzue then took charge of Racing Santander before joining Celta Vigo as an assistant and then returning to Barcelona. The 55-year-old would also take charge of Celta Vigo and Girona before his health forced him to retire.

All ticket sales and in-stadium match proceeds will go towards ALS research, with the game benefitting the Luzon Foundation.

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Where to watch Barcelona vs. Man City charity match

  Date Time TV Channel Streaming
Australia Thu, Aug 25 05:30 AET  — BarcaTV+, City+, Man City Recast
Canada Wed, Aug 24 15:30 ET  — BarcaTV+, City+, Man City Recast
Hong Kong Thu, Aug 25 03:30 HKT BarcaTV+, City+, Man City Recast
India Thu, Aug 24 01:00 IST BarcaTV+, City+, Man City Recast
Malaysia Thu, Aug 25 03:30 MYT BarcaTV+, City+, Man City Recast
New Zealand Thu, Aug 25 07:30 NZST BarcaTV+, City+, Man City Recast
Singapore Thu, Aug 25 03:30 SST BarcaTV+, City+, Man City Recast
UK Wed, Aug 24 20:30 BST BarcaTV+, City+, Man City Recast
USA Wed, Aug 24 15:30 ET  CBS Sports Network fuboTV

USA: Champions League broadcaster CBS Sports Network will be carrying the match in the USA with that channel available to stream on fuboTV.

International: The club friendly will be broadcast around the globe via both clubs’ premium streaming services.

Barcelona will make the match available via BarcaTV+, while Man City is making the match accessible on both of the club’s streaming services City+ and Man City Recast.

City+ is a season-long subscription service to access all Man City content, similar to BarcaTV+, while Recast is a more cost-friendly pay-per-view subscription service offered by the Premier League side.

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Barcelona vs Man City head-to-head history

These two clubs have met six times previously, all in Champions League play over the last decade.

While the two most recent meetings came in group stage play back in 2016, the other four were Round of 16 matchups in consecutive tournaments (2013/14 and 2015/16) with Barcelona winning each of the four matches.

In total, Barcelona have won five of their meetings, but Man City won the last match in November 2016 by a 3-1 score. Kevin de Bruyne scored a goal while Ilkay Gundogan bagged a pair. Lionel Messi, who is now with PSG, had Barcelona’s lone strike.

Date Competition Result
Nov. 1, 2016 UEFA Champions League Man City 3-1 Barcelona
Oct. 19, 2016 UEFA Champions League Barcelona 4-0 Man City
Mar. 18, 2015 UEFA Champions League Barcelona 1-0 Man City
Feb. 24, 2015 UEFA Champions League Man City 1-2 Barcelona
Mar. 12, 2014 UEFA Champions League Barcelona 2-1 Man City
Feb. 18, 2014 UEFA Champions League Man City 0-2 Barcelona

Pep Guardiola vs. Xavi head-to-head matches

Pep Guardiola and Xavi have never faced off as opposing managers, but that doesn’t mean the two don’t have a history.

In fact, in some ways this is a way a case of teacher vs. student. Xavi had a long playing career for Barcelona that included the entirety of Guardiola’s stint at the Camp Nou. The two won three La Liga titles, two Champions League titles, and two Copa del Rey crowns as part of their trophy haul while working together.

“He knows the club and will bring positive energy, given how he enjoys football and because of his dedication,” Guardiola said of Xavi when the latter was hired at Barcelona last year. “He always sees the positive side of things.”

Guardiola knew that the Spanish side was struggling at the time, but believed Xavi would be the one to turn things around. “With his class, dedication and effort, I’m sure he’ll improve the club’s situation.”