TONY Gigot gets to level some family bragging rights – his brother has Wembley, he will have the Camp Nou.
And the Catalans star cannot wait to follow in the footsteps of his favourite Barcelona footballer – and it is NOT Lionel Messi.
Gigot’s brother Samuel is a defender Russian side for Spartak Moscow and appeared before his sibling at the national stadium in the Champions League before last year’s Challenge Cup success.
But today the one who went down the rugby route gets his own back as the Dragons reap the rewards by stepping out at the sporting cathedral in front of an expected record Super League crowd.
“Samuel played before I did at Wembley but I will have the Camp Nou,” said Gigot, who played as a centre half himself in the youth ranks at French club Arles-Avignon.
“It’s going to be amazing. We went down there to parade the trophy against Girona last year and our chairman Bernard Guasch turned around and said, ‘You’ll be playing out there.’
“We thought he was crazy! But it came off and now we’ll play on the same pitch as Barcelona, who a few of us follow and there are a few keen footballers, although I think I’m the best!
“Samuel and I played in a similar position but I’d say I was better than him when we were younger.”
While many Catalans player will be dreaming of following in the footsteps of Messi, Gigot has an altogether different role model.
“Loads of the lads, particularly Fouad Yaha, love Messi but for me it has to be Ousmane Dembele,” the 28-year-old added.
“He’s a very good forward playing alongside Messi and Suarez and is a big part of their team – above all, he’s French!”
About 30,000 fans are expected at the Camp Nou, including up to 5,000 from Wigan, as the 99,000-capacity stadium hosts a Super League game.
And even though the only activity in the Spanish city has been from Wigan, with the Dragons – who will be without Sam Tomkins because of a back problem – not expected in town until today, they are determined to make their and rugby league’s mark.
“It feels like a Challenge Cup game,” said their former Wigan hooker Michael McIlorum. “There’s been a big build up to it and it feels like a ‘win at all costs’ type of game.
“The Catalan region is very proud and it’s the talk of the town. I’ve spoken to a few of the Wigan boys too and they’re excited.
“Wigan haven’t done too well in the league at the beginning of the season but they’ve ground out a couple of wins and their defence has been pretty good for the past three or four, you’ll see the real Wigan over the next few months.
“It’s great to play at stadia like this and if we can expand the game and it takes hold in Barcelona, that would be great.”
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