(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) A galaxy of football stars will descend on Muscat to entertain fans in the region when FC Barcelona Legends and Real Madrid Legends play a friendly match at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex on March 14.
The growing popularity of Spanish football, in particular the increasing base of Barcelona and Real Madrid fans in the sultanate, has prompted Muscat-based company Zan For Events and Conferences to bring the legends to Oman.
Said al Shabibi, general manager of the company, said, ''Barcelona and Real Madrid are among the biggest clubs in the world. A majority of Omanis now support Spanish football and the two clubs. We approached Real Madrid officials three months back and they were happy with our proposal."
''It is the first time we are organising such a big event and we want to do it in a grand way. The total cost of the project is around RO400,000. We hope to receive support and achieve success. The Ministry of Sports Affairs has given us permission to host the game at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex. We will soon approach the Oman Football Association (OFA) to seek their support.''
Representatives of both the Spanish giants were present at the formal announcement of the friendly game at the City Seasons Hotel on Monday night.
Rayco Garcia, representative of Real Madrid's international relations department, said, ''This is the first time that we are organising a friendly match between legends of the top two clubs of Spain in the region. Both are historical clubs and we think that it is a start of many more such events to follow.
''Spain and Oman share a lot in football culture. We are pleased to bring the Spanish football culture to Oman, where football is undoubtedly the No 1 sport. I know that Omanis love Spanish football and this match symbolises the growing proximity of two football loving nations.
''We expect a packed stadium as such a match involving a full team of former stars and legends has never been held in the Middle East. There have been
instances when former stars have played in the region in indoor or five-a-side matches. Both the teams will comprise 18 stars each and the game is a testimony to the importance of Oman for both the clubs.''
Josep Moratalla, a former Barcelona player, said, ''We have an impressive list of players from both the clubs. However, we need to also make it clear that there may be last-minute replacements or some stars may not arrive due to various reasons.
''Both the clubs are arriving to promote football and we are sure that we will have more such activities in future.''
A former winner of the 1982 European Cup Winners' Cup, Moratalla was hopeful of 'a great show' and said the match will be played a few days before an actual 'El Clasico' - Real Madrid hosts Barcelona on March 22.
FC Barcelona Legends: Diego Maradona, Thomas Christiansen, Ludovic Giuly, Gerard Lopez, Miguel Angel Nadal, V?ctor Munoz, Roberto Fernandez, Michael Reiziger, Gheorghe Popescu, Gheorghe Hagi, Deco, Rivaldo, Boudewijn Zenden, V?tor Bahia, Fernando Couto, Jari Litmanen, Juliano Belletti, Gaizka Mendieta.
Real Madrid: Raul, Fernando Hierro, Francisco Pavon, Michel Salgado, Fabio Cannavaro, Ruben de la Red, Jose Emilio Amavisca, Emilio Butragueno, Pedro Contreras, Rafael Martin Vazquez, Alfonso Perez, Christian Karembeu, Fernando Sanz, Roberto Carlos, Luis Figo, Fernando Morientes, Fernando Redondo, Ruud van Nistelrooy.
Note: The organisers said that attempts are on to bring all the players on the list but the availability of Maradona, Deco and Rivaldo is uncer