George Williams: I never thought of rugby at the Nou Camp, I’m normally watching Lionel Messi play there

Wigan half-back George Williams never thought he would get the chance to play at the Nou Camp, the famous home of footballing giants FC Barcelona.

It was confirmed in November that Catalans will take on Wigan at the Nou Camp on Saturday May 18, a week before the Magic Weekend fixtures.

England international Williams is excited to step foot on the same turf as Lionel Messi.

He said: “I never thought I’d be playing rugby on there to be honest, I’m normally just watching [Lionel] Messi play there.

“It’ll be really good, a different experience again and another one ticked off on the bucket list.”

But even those that are not as interested in football can’t hide their excitement to play in the biggest stadium in Europe.

Tony Clubb said: “It’s going to be exciting, I don’t really follow football but I’d be lying to say that I didn’t look it up on YouTube, it’s impressive.

“It’ll be the best stadium I’ve played in, we’ve played at Wembley and things like that but the Nou Camp’s a bit different.”

The chairmen of the two clubs, Bernard Guasch and Ian Lenagan, attended the launch day of the event with Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu.

Lenagan told “I didn’t realise that nobody’s allowed to go on the pitch apart from players at Barcelona but to have Bernard Guasch and myself and the president of Barca there in the centre circle having our pictures taken was a special occasion.

“There is the probability that Catalans will take 20,000 there and we know thousands have booked flights from Wigan already. Whether that figure’s going to be 3,000, 5,000, 10,000 – I don’t know.

“It is said that Catalans are going to play in the colours of Barca, which is rather nice and I didn’t realise they all speak Catalan there so of course there’s a natural togetherness. Who knows, we could have 30, 40 or 50,000 people there that would be a really spectacular day as far as rugby league and Super League is concerned.”

The French Rugby League Federation (FRLF) have cancelled all fixtures on the same day as the match in Barcelona so that both fans and players can support the French side.

Guasch said: “It will be an historic day for the Dragons and, a few months after having won the Challenge Cup at Wembley, we’ll play two consecutive games at the Camp Nou and then at Anfield. It’s a great period for our club but also for French Rugby League.

“It’s an honour to play at the FC Barcelona Stadium and I think we do not realise yet the impact of this event for our club, our competition and our sport. The prospect of playing a game in one of the biggest stadiums in the world is exceptional.

“I would like to thank the president Josep Maria Bartomeu for giving us this opportunity. I hope this game is the beginning of a great story between our two clubs.”

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