MX23RW : Tuesday, August 20 14:32:57| >> :600:85103887:85103887:

Barcelona invite grief-stricken Chapecoense to play in August friendly

Barcelona invite Chapecoense to play in their annual pre-season friendly following last week's tragic plane crash in Colombia.

Barcelona have invited Chapecoense to play in their annual friendly in August.

Nineteen of the Brazilian club's first-team players died when their plane crashed into a mountainside in Colombia last week.

The team were travelling to Medellin to play Atletico Nacional in the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana final when the aircraft reportedly ran out of fuel.

As well as the footballers, manager Caio Junior, the coaching staff, journalists and members of the cabin crew were among the 71 people who perished.

Every August, Barcelona mark the beginning of a new season with the Juan Gamper Trophy friendly, and this time they want Chapecoense to take part.

A statement from the Spanish club read: "FC Barcelona want to pay homage to the 71 people that died in the accident and to their families so it is working on making the 2017 edition of the Joan Gamper Trophy a homage on behalf of the world of football to all of them.

"With this invitation to Chapecoense, Barcelona wants to collaborate with the institutional and sporting restructuring of the club to help it recover the competitive level it had."

Meanwhile, Chapecoense player Alan Ruschel has taken his first steps in recovery after he survived the tragic crash.

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