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30.01.2009 19:33

Kobe Bryant dons the Barça colours

Verònica Díez

LA Lakers guard Kobe Bryant has once again shown his devotion for FC Barcelona. The Pennsylvanian has appeared on the cover of ESPN wearing the team’s colours.

This is not the first time his name has been connected with FCB. One example, of course, was the game Regal FC Barcelona played against his side last October, when it was revealed that Kobe Bryant has a signed photo of Leo Messi in his locker. Barça also toured the USA and the player himself once visited the Mini Estadi and met the Barça squad.

First contact

Kobe and FC Barcelona first came into contact when Barcelona toured the States from August 1 to 13 in 2006. In a Nike event in Los Angeles the player chatted with several of the soccer stars. A natural bond developed between them, although it was with Ronaldinho that Bryant seemed to connect especially well.

From the US to Barcelona

In the summer of 2007 Kobe Bryant came to Barcelona on holiday, and while he was here decided to go along to the Mini Estadi on June 14. Barça were training at the time and the appearance of arguably the world’s finest basketball player was a delightful surprise for everybody.

He watched the training session from the bench, and Ronaldinho went straight over to welcome his old friend. Both players have always admitted that they are huge fans of each other. The Lakers guard also had a long chat with Frank Rijkaard, manager of FC Barcelona at the time.

Face to face on court

Last October, Regal Barça were in Los Angeles on an American tour. Xavi Pascual’s side actually played the great LA Lakers, including both Kobe Bryant and former Barcelona man Pau Gasol (108-104). Once again the American spoke about his passion for FC Barcelona, and revealed that he had a signed photo of Messi in his locker. After the game he met Barça president, Joan Laporta, the manager of the basketball section, Josep Cubells, the general director of non-football teams Francesc Solanellas and technical secretary, Joan Creus.

The day before the game in the Staples Center, players from both sides had enjoyed a gala supper together in a top Los Angeles hotel.
Kobe Bryant dons the Barça colours
“I love Barça”
Kobe Bryant has told ESPN magazine about his love for Barça, and also his deep admiration for Ronaldinho. Although hoops is his game, he is also a big fan of soccer. Bryant’s father played basketball in Italy, so when he was a child he saw plenty of soccer and became a fan of Inter Milan. But Kobe also enjoyed watching their city rivals AC Milan, and has fond memories of the talents of the likes of Rijkaard, Gullit and Van Basten.

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