Contreras visits the Camp Nou
Sònia de Alba
One of the best baseball players in the world, José Contreras has visited FC Barcelona to see one of his great friends, Remigio Leal. The Barça baseball star gave Contreras a personal tour.
Baseball does not enjoy a mass following in Europe but then soccer has yet to really take off in
the USA. So it’s no surprise that a baseball superstar such as José Contreras should pass
unrecognised in the Camp Nou, just as Deco or even Ronaldinho can walk the streets unrecognised in
Contreras – one of the best pitchers in the world – was enormously impressed by
his quick visit to the Camp Nou. The Cuban began a successful career in US baseball in 2003. He won
the World Series in 2003 with the Yankees and in 2005 with his current team, the Chicago White Sox.
Contreras and Barça baseball player Remigio Leal have been friends since they were children:
“We hadn’t seen each other for 7 years, though we’ve kept our friendship
Contreras had wanted to see the Camp Nou as it’s
unthinkable to see a stadium holding more than 100,000 spectators in the USA. He told us:
“Being here today is incredible for me. I’m almost fainting. This Club has history. For
me it’s the best in the world. I didn’t know that it had other sports sections, such as
softball or basketball. I’m very happy to be here”.
Contreras was accompanied by his wife, Isabel, the baseball technical director Albert Díaz
and baseball delegate Josep Juaneda. The highlight of the tour was on the pitch, where he was the
centre of interest of the many tourists also visiting the stadium, some of whom recognised the
Leal also showed Contreras the press room, where he was showered with requests for autographs
and photos, though it has to be said that many of those present didn’t really know who he
was! Whatever the case, José Contreras had an experience he’ll never forget.
Possible change of plans
José Contreras was leaving today for Zaragoza, where Remigio Leal lives. On Wednesday he was
travelling to Switzerland so it was unlikely that he could return in time to see the match against
Almería. He told us: “It’s a pity. But I’ll try and return next year”.
However, after seeing the stadium, both he and his wife changed their minds and will try and change
their tickets in order to be back in Barcelona for the weekend.