City face Barca as Europe's finest juniors collide

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Manchester City's youngsters will face Barcelona, Celtic and Marseille in the group stage of a star studded mini Champions League next season.

The Nextgen Series, made up of predominantly Under-19 and Under-20 players, starts in August and involves fellow English sides Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur.

The trio have opted out of the Barclays Premier Reserve League and will instead take on the best from around Europe.

Head of Academy Mark Allen said: "We'll be competing against the best in Europe, a la the Champions League format, and we see it as an important chapter in the development of Manchester City.


"Barcelona at Hyde will not take much getting up for! That will go down well with everybody. Who knows, we might be seeing the new Lionel Messi on a Thursday night at Hyde.

"It's the next stepping stone, so as they come through the Academy system there is the platform for them to be playing football at a level that is commensurate with their development.

"It will prepare them for those balmy nights we'll hopefully have in the Champions League as the club moves forward. We want to prepare them for what they will encounter as fully-fledged professionals."

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