La Liga giants Barcelona have announced Eric Abidal as the new sporting director at the club. The former Barca star played almost two centuries of games in six years after moving to Spain from Lyon. He won two Champions League, four league titles, two Copas del Rey, two Super Cups and two World Cups. Whilst at the Catalan giants, he was diagnosed with cancer and had to do a liver transplant in 2012. He eventually moved to AS Monaco the following year.
Abidal blasted the Barcelona management whilst in France, pointing accusing fingers at SandroRosell and the rest of the Barca board for the way they treated him up until his departure. Barely two years later, Abidal joined the campaign of Joan Laporta for president with him being promised sporting director but the bid failed.
Sky Sports transfer expert Guillem Balague has said that Barcelona are ahead of Manchester United in the pursuit of Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann. The France international came on the brink of joining the Red Devils in the summer, but Atleti’s failure to lift their transfer embargo saw him stay put for the season.
Since then, he has been regularly linked with the Mancunian giants, but Balague has brought a fresh twist to the transfer story. Balague has been following Barcelona’s interest in Griezmann for a while and in a Q&A session on Sky Sports, the Spaniard revealed that club president Josep Bartomeu has held close contact with the player’s family.
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