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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

FC Barcelona pay tribute to Spain's terror victims

The players have replaced their names with 'Barcelona' on their shirts

Barcelona’s Lionel Messi has joined his fellow teammates by replacing his name on the back of his shirt with 'Barcelona'. REUTERS/Sergio Perez
Barcelona’s Lionel Messi has joined his fellow teammates by replacing his name on the back of his shirt with 'Barcelona'. REUTERS/Sergio Perez

Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and the rest of Barcelona's players are wearing the city's name on the back of their shirts in tribute to the victims of Thursday's deadly attack in the Catalan capital when they play Real Betis in La Liga on Sunday.

Barca have been granted special permission from the Spanish soccer federation (RFEF) for the arrangement, and the message "#TOTSSOMBARCELONA" ("We are all Barcelona") has been be embroidered on the front of the soccer team's shirts.

The players are wearing black armbands during Barcelona's opening league game of the season.All the players, referee and assistants gathered round the centre circle and posed next to a banner emblazoned with the same phrase that features on their shirts: 'TotsSomBarcelona'.

After a round of applause, a respectful minute’s silence was observed.

Although the match was sold out, at the 38th minute as Barcelona reached 2-0, many seats remained empty. It is not clear if fans were scared away or if extra security was delaying them.

Earlier today Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde said tonight's match will be played in "extraordinary and lamentable circumstances".

"We are calm. Moreover, we support the reaction of the people in Plaza Catalunya, that 'we are not afraid'," he added.

"We have to stand up to these circumstances and the best way is by moving forward. It is our job and we we have an important game, but it is a different day for everyone.

"It makes you reflect at times when you have problems that everything is relative. It puts things in their place and that there are far more important things than small problems."

Yesterday, at football grounds across Europe, tributes were paid to the victims of Thursday's attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils, in which 14 people were killed and more than 100 injured.

Sevilla's Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan stadium was illuminated with the yellow and red of the Catalan flag for the visit of Espanyol.

At least 13 people were killed and more than 100 were injured when a van rammed into crowds of people on the renowned Las Ramblas boulevard.

A woman died after an attack later on Thursday in the coastal town of Cambrils, south of Barcelona, where police shot dead five suspects who drove their car at pedestrians.