The highlight of the trip is almost everything that was included. If I have to pick one thing it must be the opportunity to watch a live FC Barcelona soccer match. Seeing them play at Camp Nou was just amazing.
From the moment we arrived at the hotel, the Stanley hosts welcomed us and immediately made us feel at home. They gave us everything we needed for the whole duration of our stay including Barça kits and a polo shirt.
We had some time to relax after the long flight and were then transferred by the Barcelona Club busses, to the Camp Nou Stadium where we had dinner. The chefs prepared some of the finest Spanish foods for us with a great variety of flavours. We got to meet the other people who were on the Stanley Striker Challenge experience with us and got introductions from the Stanley hosts who laid out our schedule for us.
The following day we went for a trip to the training facilities where we had the opportunity to see what it is like at Barça’s training facilities. We also entered VIP territories such as pressrooms, the home team’s dressing rooms with their hot baths, gym and very own volleyball pitch thanks to former Barcelona player Ronaldinho who had a love for the game. The things we got to see were not open to the public and making it a unique experience.
We met and took some photos with Luis Suárez, Dani Alves and Javier Mascherano, which was a one in a lifetime experience and felt amazing. After that, we got straight into the 2016 Global Striker Challenge, competing for a honourary team membership and trophy title. The FC Barcelona coaches conducted exciting warm up drills and facilitated the Striker Challenge competition. They encouraged everyone to take part in the drills, competition and friendly matches of 7 v 7 that we played at the end.
The Striker competition went well. My father fell just short of the top five in the guests section. I did not do that great as I messed up my chances with the first challenge as I scored 0/45, which made a comeback seem impossible. Although we did not win, we still enjoyed every moment and had a couple of good laughs.
We went back to the stadium to wrap up the eventful day with dinner at the presidents box with an even greater variety of Spanish foods. There a guest speaker Chapi Ferrer, a former Barcelona player, also joined us for dinner.
We got to watch a live match in front row seats and spent time in the Camp Nou FC Barcelona museum before and after the match. The whole trip was perfect with everything running smoothly. They kept us busy with tons of exciting things. On the final couple of days we got some free time and my father and I went to sight see Barcelona from an open roof city tour bus. We also walked for hours through the La Ramblas and through every possible city street to appreciate the architectural work from the late designer Gaudi.
We ended off this eventful tour with a farewell dinner with another former Barcelona player, Juliano Belletti. We had a nice barbecue and exchanged some contact details with the new friends we made from other countries. My father and I took the day of our departure as a final opportunity to explore the Barcelona city and late in the evening we headed to the airport with many new memories.
I enjoyed the Stanley hosts throughout the whole trip as they were all friendly and welcoming and would like to thank each and every one of them. I would just like to thank Stanley tools for the amazing prize. I will hold on to every moment they made possible for me for as long as I am alive. In addition, the opportunity to take my father with was a blessing in itself and once again, thank you Stanley for giving people such great opportunities. I learnt a lot on the trip and really saw first-hand what a great club FC Barcelona is. Everything in that setup is there to allow you to grow and achieve the best. That is why they are one of the most successful clubs in the world. Thank you Stanley for supplying us with quality tools and life experiences.