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Contreras al Camp Nou

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22.10.2007 14:50

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 Chicago.

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 going”.

DSCF0217.JPGContreras 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 Cuban star.

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.
Contreras visits the Camp Nou
Final of the World Series
Next Wednesday, the final of the World Series between the Boston Red Sox and the Colorado Rockies starts in the USA. José Contreras has a firm favourite for the title: “Boston have everything in their favour to win. They have hitting power, pitching...I want the best team to win and I think it’ll be Boston”. Remigio Leal, on the other hand, doesn’t follow American baseball closely: “I work and I can’t go to bed at 3 am every day because of a game”.

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