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FC Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has explained why Lionel Messi only featured in the final 20 minutes of their Nelson Mandela Centenary Cup win over Mamelodi Sundowns on Wednesday.

Business mogul Patrice Motsepe who relatively organized the match handed over five million Rand to the Nelson Mandela foundation as a way of also celebrating the legacy of Mandela.

Barcelona showed their class as they raced into a 3-0 lead through goals from Ousmane Dembele, Luis Suarez and Andre Gomes.

After the game, Valverde expressed his delight at the occasion, saying: "I liked our opponents a lot due to their enthusiasm, it was a very nice match and the atmosphere was fantastic". "I think the difference is like that between the rand and the euro, to sum it up".

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"They were screaming for him from the very first moment, not just in the stadium, but from the second we stepped foot in the country".

That feat was last achieved in 1932 by Real Madrid, the arch-rivals of Barca, when the season comprised 18 fixtures compared with 38 now.

Valverde made 10 changes during half-time, but Messi was not among those introduced, leading the crowd to repeatedly chant "Messi, Messi, Messi". Soon after his inception in the sixty-sixth minute Barcelona took no time to test Mweene and he failed as Barcelona's Andre Gomes made it three as a result of a costly mistake by Hlompho Kekana.

Sundowns got the consolation goal through Sibusiso Vilakazi after a good inside pass from Percy Tau on 75 minutes.