Ronaldo, Guardiola, Figo: When Barcelona played Brazil in 1999

Ronaldo, Guardiola, Figo: When Barcelona played Brazil in 1999

Barcelona v Brazil. One of the most decorated club sides ever squaring off with the most successful nation in World Cup history.

It feels like the sort of clash that could only take place in a dream. However, in one of the strangest friendly matches on record, the two teams did take each other on back in April 1999.

As part of celebrations to mark Barcelona’s centenary, the Selecao travelled to Camp Nou to play a one-off exhibition fixture.

While the stakes attached to the match were relatively low, both line-ups were star-studded.

Then-Barcelona boss Louis van Gaal fielded the likes of Luis Figo, Pep Guardiola, Bolo Zenden, Luis Enrique and Patrick Kluivert. There was even a spot on the bench for a young Xavi Hernandez.

Barcelona line-up v Brazil

In the opposing half, Brazil boasted former Barca favourites Ronaldo Nazario and Romario, alongside Real Madrid left-back Roberto Carlos.

Rivaldo, a Barcelona player at the time, also ended up representing his country. According to a match report from Barca Blaugranes, though, the forward would have been equally as happy playing in his club colours.

Brazil line-up v Barcelona

What happened when Barcelona played Brazil in 1999?

A capacity crowd turned out on a rainy evening in Catalonia. They more than got their money’s worth on the night.

Ronaldo, who scored 47 goals in 49 appearances for Barcelona during his sole season at the club, opened the scoring on his return to Camp Nou.

The Inter Milan striker was clearly loving being back too, beaming as he wheeled away in celebration after rounding Barca ‘keeper Ruud Hesp to find the net with half an hour gone.

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The home side were level just minutes later, after Luis Enrique capitalised on an error from Brazil shot-stopper Rogerio Ceni.

Rivaldo then gave his country the lead before the break, unleashing a thunderous left-footed strike that left Hesp with absolutely no chance.

A second-half equaliser from Phillip Cocu meant that Barcelona wouldn’t taste defeat on their big night. The match ended 2-2, but those in attendance didn’t care much about the scoreline. They simply didn’t want the festival of legends to come to an end.

Watch: Highlights of Barcelona v Brazil from 1999

Now 23 years on from the unique occasion, we’d be bang up for a rematch featuring today’s stars.

Neymar returning to Camp Nou? Lewandowski trying to score his first-ever career goal against the Selecao? Real Madrid’s Brazilian superstar Vinicius Jr getting booed out of town? A 2022 version of this fixture sounds absolutely fantastic.

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