FC Barcelona’s first team will travel to India in order to play friendly matches, according to club president Josep Maria Bartomeu.
While cricket still remains the main sport in India, a number of top European football clubs have taken an interest in the South Asian nation, due to the growing popularity of football in the country.
The likes of Atletico Madrid and Liverpool FC have already made joint ventures with local sides.
Atletico Madrid have bought a stake in Indian Super League (ISL) side Atletico de Kolkata. The Kolkata-based franchise conducts their pre-season training in Spain with the help of the Rojiblancos.
Meanwhile, Liverpool FC have a joint venture with I-League side DSK Shivajians, to give technical help to their youth academy – Liverpool International Academy.
German giants Bayern Munich have an academy in India, and have even taken promising 11-year-old Chandan Nayak to Germany for further training. Bayern have also played a few friendlies in India, with the most prominent of them being legendary German goalkeeper Oliver Kahn’s farewell match against local giants Mohun Bagan, in 2006.
Following the success of these two clubs, Barcelona are also ready to increase their presence in India. According to reports, the Blaugrana are also eager to bring their first team squad to India, in order to play a few friendly matches during the off-season.
However, Barcelona already have a packed schedule, and would only be able to come to India after a couple of years.
The Barca president also revealed that the club spends around €20 million on their famous L Masia academy, every year.