Barcelona sign up for Thai trip

Bangkok (The Nation/ANN) - ThaiBev signed a contract with 21-time Spanish champions Barcelona at the Camp Nou yesterday to confirm the Chang-Champions-FC Barcelona Asian Tour game due at the Rajamangala National Stadium in Bangkok on August 7.

ThaiBev executive chairman and managing director Marut Buranasetkul inked the deal with FC Barca vice president Carles Vilarubi, who said that four-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi would be in Thailand along with the full first team.

"We will bring the first team to Thailand, including Messi. Barca is a famous club in Thailand and we have a lot of supporters in your country. It will serve as an important opportunity to make contact with such loyal supporters. We hope this game will help strengthen our bonds with the Thai people who have always express enthusiasm and support on the club's social networks, especially in Thailand where we have more than half a million Facebook followers," said club CEO Vilarubi.

Barcelona are returning to Thailand for the first time since their visit more than a decade ago, when they beat BEC-Tero 4-3 on May 26, 2002.

"When we go to Thailand, we will be proud to show the value of Barcelona and Catalonia. But the biggest target is still to win the game," Vilarubi said.

"We like to share this project with Chang, our most important partner in Southeast Asia and a brand which we feel has helped us strengthen our ties with our supporters in Thailand and Southeast Asia."

Barca's CEO also presented signed club jerseys to the Thai-Bev executives as a souvenirs.

"The friendly game will underline ThaiBev as a leading sports marketing company that has outlined a strategy to form alliances with world-class clubs like Barcelona, which in 2009 became the first team to capture six titles - La Liga, the Copa del Rey, the Champions League, Uefa Super Cup, Spanish Super Cup and Ffa Club World Club," said Marut who signed ThaiBev's agreement with Barca last year to become an official sponsor.

Tickets for the Chang-Champions - FC Barcelona Asian Tour game will be available from May 1 at ThaiTicketMajor outlets. A hole hosts of promotional activities will be organised the same day at Central World to as a taster for fans ahead of the August 7 match. For more information, visit facebook.com/changworld.

"Tickets will be available at 800 baht to 4,000 baht (US$27 to $136). Barca will come to Thailand for three days from August 5-7 after their first stop in China," confirmed Sorrakrit Lathitham, ThaiBev's senior marketing manager.

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