BARCELONA fans have revealed that they have been made to feel welcome in Manchester as their Champions League match against City gets underway.

Many supporters have travelled overseas to see their team take on Manuel Pellegrini’s Premier League champions in the first leg of their last-16 tie at the Etihad Stadium this evening (Tuesday, February 24).

With 1,100 of the Spanish team’s fans having bought tickets for the repeat of last season’s showdown, Metrolink staff did everything in their power to make the final stage of their journey as vibrant and welcoming as possible.

Live music, a score prediction system and two talented football fanatics took over Manchester Piccadilly’s Metrolink station as staff strived to get fans from both teams to the match with minimal disruption.

Pablo Zabaleta also lent his voice to the network, with informative station announcements being aired.

Played in English, Spanish and Catalayan, the Argentine right-back welcomed Barcelona fans to Manchester, instructing them how to get to the Etihad Campus – which is on the Ashton line.

Despite the crowded trams on the way to the stadium, fans from both teams were in high spirits.

Michael Buckley, a Blues supporter from Droylsden, commented: “It’s fantastic that the team are doing everything they can to assist the away fans tonight.

“Everyone has been really friendly to the Barcelona supporters from what I’ve seen and it makes me proud to not only support City, but to also be from Manchester.”

Andres Palenzuela, 27, from Sabadell, was very enthusiastic about his time in Manchester, saying: “We’ve been to various bars this afternoon across the city and everyone has been so friendly and welcoming.

“The competition tonight is tough but the atmosphere in the city today and the people have all been incredible. I’m really looking forward to seeing the result.”



By Daniel Wright

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