Catalans Dragons' Tony Gigot proud to get chance to play at Barcelona's Nou Camp
Watch Catalans Dragons vs Wigan in Barcelona live on Sky Sports Arena from 3.15pm on Saturday.
By Marc Bazeley
Last Updated: 17/05/19 10:22am
Sporting talent is clearly something which runs in the Gigot family, with Catalans Dragons star Tony and his brother Samuel making careers for themselves as professional athletes.
But while the elder Gigot sibling excelled at rugby league, it was on the football field where the younger of the two's talent came to the fore.
It may be understandable, then, if Samuel - who plays as a defender for Spartak Moscow - was somewhat jealous of Tony getting the opportunity to grace the field at Barcelona's Nou Camp home on Saturday when the Catalans tackle Wigan Warriors.
But that is far from the case, with the younger of the two brothers delighted to see the full-back get the chance to run out at one of the iconic venues in world sport.
"He's very happy for me to be able to play in a big stadium like this," said Gigot.
This will not be the first time Gigot and his Catalans' team-mates have graced the Nou Camp pitch, having been invited to parade the Challenge Cup at the venue during Barcelona's home game with Girona following the French side's historic triumph in the competition last year.
Gigot was instrumental in that run, being named man of the match in the semi-final victory over St Helens and then becoming the first French player to win the Lance Todd Trophy as the Dragons defeated Warrington 20-14 at Wembley.
The Perpignan-based club's Challenge Cup success was something which resonated across the whole region of Catalonia, both in the south of France and across the border in northern Spain.
Gigot, who hails from Avignon, is acutely aware of the strong sense of identity the Catalan people have and how much Barcelona's football team is a symbol of pride for them, so it is no surprise he feels an immense sense of pride about getting this chance as well.
"Barcelona is massive for everyone and the Catalan people are very proud of it, and for us to be able to go and present our trophy was something very beautiful," said Gigot.
"Our president was very proud to accept the invitation and we enjoyed it. The fans were great with us at half time and hopefully we will see lots of Catalan people at the game.
The History Makers will add yet another chapter to their story on Saturday... What a an exciting 13 years it has been so far for @DragonsOfficiel...— Sky Sports RL (@SkySportsRL) May 15, 2019
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🏟️ Camp Nou
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"It's something magic because Barcelona doesn't give this opportunity to everyone. To have the chance to play over there is something we can be proud of and hopefully make everyone happy for the day.
"To be French and to play for Catalans and win the trophy, we made something big in the history of the club and that's something I'm very proud of."
Ticket sales for the match have long since surpassed the 18,000 who were in attendance when Catalans played Warrington at Barcelona's Olympic Stadium 10 years ago, with around 5,000 Wigan fans expected to make the trip as well.
The single-game attendance record for Super League - currently 25,004 for Wigan's home derby against St Helens in March 2005 - is set to fall too, with Gigot and his team-mates fully aware of the size of this occasion.
But when the hooter goes, their focus will be firmly on the game and Gigot knows the improving Dragons cannot afford to underestimate an inconsistent Warriors team, which he believes was the case for the 42-0 loss to Wigan in March.
"When we played Wigan last time, we were maybe thinking we could win before we played the game because they had a few injured players," said Gigot.
"But Super League is not easy, it's 17 against 17 and we need to show a lot of respect to Wigan because they showed us how to play rugby league last time.
"I think it will be a different game, we'll try to prepare well and hopefully we can have a good game for all of the fans coming on Saturday.
"We were up and down at the start of the year, but we look to be all right at the moment. Hopefully we can have a good game this week."