Barcelona's preparations for the UEFA Champions League final against Manchester United took a hit as they will be forced to land in London two days ahead of schedule due to fears of the ash from the Icelandic volcano Grimsvotn which errupted recently.
Last year, the volcanic ash from mount Eyjafjallajokull left 10 million travellers deserted as flights to Europe were cancelled all over the world. It meant Barcelona had to undertake a two-day bus trip to Milan to face Internazionale in the semifinals of the Champions League, a match which they lost 3-1.
The Catalans won't take any such risk this time around and have altered their travel plans to arrive in London on Tuesday evening, having originally been scheduled to land on Thursday.
A Barca statement said, To avoid possible disruption due to ash from the volcano Grimsvotn, the Barca first team will travel to London today at 2200hrs.''
Another cause for alarm is the threat posed by volcanic ash to the attendance for the final - a fact touched by Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola.
Continue Reading Below
We hope the volcano stays asleep for a few more days and allows our fans to get there, he said. This is beyond our control and it would be very bad luck if half the stadium was empty for the final. You can go by boat. With England it's that, a plane or that tunnel between France and there. I imagine the fans will be worried, just like us. Lots and lots of people - 10,000 or 12,000 people - will travel by plane on the same day and might not be able to change those plans. Let's see what happens. UEFA will not postpone the game: the final will be played on Saturday. We play football for (the sake of) the fans and I hope (they can be there).
Guardiola went on to speak of his opponents - Manchester United.
Yesterday and today we watched the final from two years ago and Manchester United were much, much better than us in the first half. In the second half, we had more control but it was hard. They played better than us. They are competitive, a strong team, they could put out four or five line-ups and they would all be competitive. They are one of the best teams in the world - not just now but over the last five, 10 or 15 years.
When it was suggested that United lacked the fantasy in their game compared to the Catalans, Guardiola's reaction was crisp.
When you see Berbatov, Rooney, Chicharito, Nani, Scholes, Giggs, Valencia, I don't think you can say that.
He then went on to reveal that Everything, absolutely everything about United scared him.