Patrice Motsepe. Picture: MARTIN RHODES
Patrice Motsepe. Picture: MARTIN RHODES

Mining magnate Patrice Motsepe paid Spanish powerhouses Barcelona R45m to make the one-day trip to SA to play Mamelodi Sundowns.

This figure was revealed by the Spanish media and they reported that it was outside the costs for the chartered aircraft that left Barcelona on Tuesday night with business-class seating for the 21 players and the rest of the staff.

The cost of the trip to SA had been the subject of furious speculation for days and some reports suggested Motsepe paid about R105m to convince Barcelona to come to SA.

Argentina superstar Lionel Messi’s involvement in the Nelson Mandela Centenary Cup encounter against Sundowns had also been the subject of fierce speculation but he travelled with the team and started the game on the bench.

Coach Ernesto Valverde said he did not want to take any risks with players before the World Cup in Russia but travelled with a full-strength squad as required by the contract for the game against Sundowns.

The team was scheduled to return at midnight on Wednesday.