Barcelona players converse with outer space
MADRID, Aug 9 (Reuters) Barcelona confirmed that they have inherited the Galactico mantle from arch-rivals Real Madrid when they became the first soccer team to communicate with outer space during their pre-season tour of the United States.
Squad members toured Mission Control at NASA's Johnson Space Centre in Houston and coach Frank Rijkaard, World Player of the Year Ronaldinho, midfielder Xavi and captain Carles Puyol were able to carry out a long distance conversation with the crew of the international space station yesterday.
''Down here on earth there are some players that are heroes, but you are all heroes in space,'' said coach Rijkaard who went on to challenge the crew to demonstrate their own galactic football skills.
German crew member Thomas Reiter responded by doing a Ronaldinho-style, slow-motion overhead kick in the weightless environment of the space station as it orbited the earth.
The Spanish and European champions are in the final stages of a two-week promotional tour of the United States and Mexico which has seen them play in front of massive crowds.
Real, who were dubbed the ''Galacticos'' because of their policy of signing big-name players such as Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham, were given a muted reception on their arrival in the United States this week.
New coach Fabio Capello has made it clear that marketing interests will be taking second place to football as the club heads into the season in search of its first major trophy since 2003.
REUTERS PM RAI2011