Exchange of shirts between the Barça and Celtic captains during the third half

There was plenty of bonding after the game on Tuesday night / PHOTO: GERMÁN PARGA-FCB

The Espai Roma at the Camp Nou was the venue for a very special gathering of the FC Barcelona and Celtic FC youth players for post-match food and drinks in a tradition that is usually more associated with rugby than football, known as the ‘third half’. It happened on Tuesday night after FCB had beaten the Scots 3-0 in the Miniestadi.

The UEFA Youth League is the new tournament involving the youth teams of the same 32 clubs qualified for the Champions League proper. The idea is for U19 players to get used to the experience of playing top level continental football.

Barça have finished top of their group in a tournament that has been proving to be a very useful learning experience. On Monday December 16, they will find out who they will be playing in the second round.

“It is a huge reward to be able to play against the best teams in Europe and is an added motivation” said the team’s ambassador Pere Gratacós on Tuesday. “Now we know what kind of level we are at.

“The youth team and doing very well in both footballing and humanistic terms. They truly are proving their worth” he added.

Fair play among players

One of UEFA’s ideas has been that of the players enjoying a meal together after each match as a chance to foster good relations between players from different cultures and backgrounds.

Fair play and respect are both very important matters for UEFA and such events are extremely useful for promoting such values. “I find this initiative highly positive for all the players” said Gratacós. “It’s like the third half in rugby. It is a sign of respect between winners and losers. Respect for your opponents is something we have always wanted to encourage.”

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