Former Barcelona star Xavi has ripped the current Real Madrid setup apart, declaring that they do not want to pay beautiful football. The Spaniard opines that Madrid are in search of titles without having to pay beautiful football like their long term rivals Barcelona.
Madrid won the La Liga and Champions League last season, with the Champions League title being the third in four years. However, Coach Zinedine Zidane and his boys are struggling this term. They are 16 points behind Barcelona already. Xavi says this is not one off, that Madrid lack a culture of playing beautiful football.
Barcelona defeated Alaves 2-1 in the La Liga on Sunday. Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi had to dig deep to get the goals after a first half strike from John Guidetti. The Catalan side continued their strong run this season with the victory to remain almost certain of capturing the La Liga title.
After the Guidettii goal, Barca found it difficult netting an equalizer. Suarez scored in the 72nd minute to assure them of getting a share of the spoils at least. However Messi ensured Barca claimed maximum points with his stunning free kick in the 84th minute.More Link
It appears that Barcelona will return with an improved bid for Liverpool and Brazil forward Phillipe Coutinho in January. The Spanish team tried in vain to sign the Brazilian player during the summer window and will be hoping that they could achieve this in January.
It is believed that Liverpool will be prepared to sell the player in January as there are no signs that Phillipe Coutinho will be extending his stay with the Anfield side.
There are reports that Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho would go on strike in order to force a dream move to Catalan side Barcelona. The club lost one of their most prolific attackers in Neymar Jr. to Paris St-Germain this summer. The club has been linked with several players who will serve as a replacement and a boost to the team.
Borussia Dortmund’s Ousmane Dembele, Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho, Nice Midfielder Jean-Michael Seri and others were named as additions after the club signed Brazilian Paulinho from a Chinese Super Lig side. Coutinho sees Barca as a dream club but Liverpool are not having it, particularly this late into the new season.More Link
There have been rumours that skillful Brazil international Neymar might exit Barcelona soon.
Those rumours have been gathering momentum of late. Sky Sports claims a Spanish source sees the player leaving the club this summer.
Neymar has been playing second or even third fiddle at the Nou Camp as Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez lead. The source claimed the Olympic Gold medalist has made up his mind to leave for several reasons. One is that he wants to put up a serious competition or even win the highly coveted Ballon d’Or award.
“He believes he can be the best player in the world at another big club,” the source explained.
French giant Paris St Germain are leading the race for the signature of the player. The Ligue 1 side are willing to meet the record release clause of the player. While Chelsea and Manchester United want the player, the over £190 million fee involved is one they are unwilling to meet. PSG are reportedly considering making the purchase, especially as they are keen to build a solid profile in Europe.More Link
Lucas Digne reckons that Barcelona was a superior outfit in comparison to their bitter enemies Real Madrid in the previous season in spite of them not being able to clinch either the domestic or the continental league title.
Barcelona has only a couple of Cup titles to show in the 2016-17 Season, but, as per Digne, that’s not because there was a drop in their performance level, that’s actually down to the fact that they didn’t have luck by their side unlike Real Madrid.
Throwing facts and figures to prove his point, Digne says that Barcelona not only found the net more number of times than Madrid, but, also conceded lesser number of times than them in the top flight and that shows that their attack was more penetrative and defence was more compact.More Link
Earlier on March, Luis Enrique confirmed that he will be stepping down as the head coach of Barcelona when the current season reaches it’s end and now a list of potential managers who could succeed and follow the legacy of Luis Enrique has emerged.
Jorge Sampaoli, Mauricio Pochettino, JurgenKlopp and Ronald Koeman are a few of the high-profile names that have been popping up as potential managers who are capable of taking over the Spanish club, Barcelona.
Out of all those managers mentioned, it’s Jorge Sampaoli the manager that appears and is rumored to be on the frontline as the favorite of becoming the next coach of Barcelona.
Sampaoli is a 57 year old manager who is currently in charge of Sevilla and has been doing a superb job as the club is currently located at the 3rd spot of La Liga with 57 points collected from the initial 28 league matches played so far.
Taking into consideration that this is the last season of Luis Enrique as the head coach of Barcelona, he wants to end his stay at Camp Nou on a high note and win as many pieces of silverware as possible.More Link
Spanish champions Barcelona have sacked one of their officials Pere Gratacos after he said the Argentine star would not be as good without his teammates.
Gratacos was the head of Sports Institutional Relations with the Royal Spanish Football Federation. He condemned Messi after the team’s Copa del Rey draw.
A statement credited to him reads: “Leo is one of the most important people in the team, but it’s not just about him. He would not be as good without [Andres] Iniesta, Neymar and company, but Messi is the best.”
Though many have said the statement was not that bad, the club decided to remove the official for the ill-timed comments particularly when the team has been under pressure of late.
Coach of the side Luis Enrique downplayed the comments when asked but he was sure to speak against such undue pressure from an insider to the management for them to have decided to sack Gratacos. Gratacos would remain with the Catalan outfit for the Masia 360 project but it would be in a reduced capacity as the club tries to manage lots of influences with the club at the moment.More Link
Top Spanish outlet Barcelona have been named as the second best employers in football going by wages they pay to their players.
English Football giant Manchester United are the number one side according to latest reports from the global sports salaries survey. The survey – published by Sporting Intelligence – employs the reported salaries of over 10,000 sportsmen at 333 teams.
Despite struggling with form in the recent years, United sit atop the highest paying clubs in the world. According to the survey, the average United first team player earns in the region of £110,000 per week. This ends in £5.77 million in annual payment to a first team Red Devils star.
The current La Liga champions are second on the list. The average first team player earns £5.65 million, while Manchester City pays an average player £5.40 million.
The amount splashed on Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic ensured United leapfrogged to first position compared to their standings on the list last year. In addition, following the fall of the Pound following Brexit, American sports sides rank higher than most elite English clubs. However, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool managed to make the top 60.
Overall, the as it offers players the highest average weekly wage at £48,766. With the increase in revenue from television deals, that figure is expected to climb next year bar any major change. German champions Bayern Munich top the survey results in Germany while Serie A champions Juventus top Italy’s. China is a major force with clubs offering some of the most lucrative deals to players.
Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo remains the highest paid football player with his £365,000 weekly wage. Considering all sports, Basketball top with NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers paying out £6.9 million to an average player, then Baseball’s New York Yankees and Basketball’s LA Clippers make the top three ahead of United who are in fourth place.
Yerry Mina is not such a well-known free-agent player in comparison to others that are out there available to be signed but it seems like he has gathered enough attention for Barcelona as it’s believed that they have already pre-signed the 22 years old Colombian who is currently performing for Palmeiras.
The agent of Yerry Mina is Jair Mina and he has confirmed that there indeed has been a pre-agreement already signed involving the Colombian defender and a transfer to Barcelona but that there still is a possibility of another club arriving and picking him up.
Jair Mina said: “Yes, a pre-agreement was signed and there’s the possibility that the kid goes to Barcelona. It’s only a pre-agreement, so there’s still the chance that other teams make an offer, so a move to Barca would depend on circumstances and the desire of the player and if other top European teams are interested.”
Gerard Pique is 29 years old while Javier Mascherano is 32 and it’s believed that Barcelona has initiated scouting young talents that can succeed these veteran defenders and follow their legacy after they decide to hang up their boots.
Another player that has been rumored to be in the radar of Barcelona besides Yerry Mina is Mauricio Lemos. Lemos is a 20 year old centre-back who is performing for Las Palmas and has been making impressive performances with the Spanish club.
Barcelona has actually already launched an offer for him of around €12 million bid but it was rejected but they might launch an upgraded bid for the young Uruguayan defender that has been impressing the head chiefs of Las Palmas so much that the club decided to convert his initial loan deal from Rubin Kazan into a 5 year long permanent contract.