Tag Archives: barca

New development: Barca just one step away from signing Lautaro

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Just when the negotiations for Lautaro Martinez seemed to have broken down, Barcelona appear to have taken a big step towards landing the Inter hotshot.

The Catalans have long been pursuing the Argentine striker although Inter are doing their utmost to keep him.

Yet according to ESPN, Barcelona have reached a verbal agreement with Lautaro, with the salary agreed and all that remains is for the Catalans to sell a player to make room for him in the squad.

Only Leo Messi, Frenkie de Jong, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Luis Suarez, Gerard Pique, Clement Lenglet and Sergio Busquets are said to be non-transferable according to the same outlet.

At the same time, Inter are said to have lowered their demands to 90 million euros, according to Corriere della Sera, who deem that the Serie A side are considering signing Philippe Coutinho.

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Barca unfavoured 😕 : Lautaro release clause expires today

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Inter forward Lautaro Martinez’s release clause of €111m expires today and the Argentine seems set to stay at San Siro.

The 22-year-old attacker has filled the columns of Italian newspapers on a daily basis in recent months, as Barcelona were trying to lure the former Racing Club star to La Liga.

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But the Blaugrana have reportedly been trying to look for a different solution to meet Inter’s asking price and include players in potential swap deals to get their man, failing to meet the required amount to free him from his contract at the Giuseppe Meazza.

The expiration date of the €111m release clause is set to expire on today, on July 7, and Calciomercato.com claims the player will be staying put.

The report claims the coronavirus pandemic has influenced the financial strength of the European clubs and even a giant like Barcelona struggle to meet such a demand.

Lautaro has scored 12 goals in 27 Serie A games this term, with his total tally at 17 in 37 games across all competitions.

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Inter to renew Lautaro’s contract till 2024


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Barca releases 23 man squad to take in Espanyol

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Barcelona have confirmed their 23-man squad to take on Espanyol as injured Firpo out, Arthur still in.

Barcelona confirm that Firpo has discomfort in right hip and he missed out on Villarreal game.

Full Squad

GK: Ter Stegen, Neto, Pena

DF: Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Araujo, Alba, Morer, Roberto, Cuenca

MF: Rakitic, Busquets, Arthur, Vidal, Puig, Collado, Monchu

FW: Suarez, Messi, Griezmann, Braithwaite, Fati

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Rating Barcelona 11 worse transfers of all time


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As Man City craves to sign Lionel Messi

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The forward is a rumored target who Pep would love to have. City have no real competition and if Pep can and wants to woo him this move is possible.

Likely? Of course not, but new reports of unhappiness in Spain can be the catalyst for the move. The move would come as a free transfer given Messi can essentially opt out this summer. Will Messi leave?

Spanish and Argentine press have claimed he is close to a final straw amid disorganization the clubs board level and straight up failure in the transfer window.

Lionel Messi Andreas Cucuttini
One wrinkle to monitor is that Messi can opt out both this summer and next in 2021.

That makes a reunion with Pep difficult unless he does it in the next couple of weeks because this is all likely Pep’s final season at the Etihad. Could a Messi arrival next year keep Pep longer? Of course, will have to wait and find out.


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Discussion : Has Barca loss the title race to Madrid already?

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Real Madrid go 4 points clear at top of La Liga with 5 rounds remained. Is La Liga race over?

Feel free to discuss!


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Barca 2-2 Atletico, Title hope dented for ‘The Catalonia Giants’

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Barcelona could soon find themselves four points behind LaLiga leaders Real Madrid after being held to a 2-2 draw by Atletico Madrid.

Match Reports


Lionel Messi scored the 700th goal of his career but Barcelona were held to a 2-2 draw against Atletico Madrid by a pair of Saul Niguez penalties, damaging their LaLiga title defence.

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Barca’s all-time leading scorer Messi brought up the milestone at Camp Nou with a brilliant Panenka from the penalty spot as he punished Felipe for sending Nelson Semedo to ground early in the second half.

However, Saul, who first equalised in the opening period after Diego Costa’s own goal, powered home from 12 yards for the second time after Semedo caught Yannick Carrasco in the box.

Match Events

11′ OWN GOAL! Barcelona 1-0 Atletico (Diego Costa)

The Catalan take the lead as Messi’s corner strikes the thigh of Costa and travels past Oblak into the net. The striker opens his legs as he tries to clear the danger, but unlike his previous attempt, it clips the back of his right thigh and speeds over the line.

16′ Penalty Missed! (Diego Costa)

Costa takes the penalty, but sees his effort saved by Ter Stegen diving low to his left. However, the referee receives a message over his communication device that the keeper was off his line before the kick was struck. Therefore the penalty will be retaken.

17′ Yellow Card! Ter Stegen booked

Ter Stegen comes off his line too early from the spot-kick and is booked by the referee. His intial save of Costa’s effort is chalked off.

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19′ Penalty Goal! Barcelona 1-1 Atletico (Saul )

Atletico opt to change their penalty taker after Costa’s miss. Saul has no problem dispatching his left-footed strike into the bottom-right corner, sending Ter Stegen the wrong way. The visitors are back in the game.

22′ CHANCE! Messi’s long shot inches wide

Messi takes possession in the right inside channel and opens up space to fire at goal on his left foot. He arcs his strike away from Oblak towards the top-left corner, but the ball hits the outside of the post and travels wide.

50′ Penalty Goal! Barcelona 2-1 Atletico (Messi)

The home side regain the lead as the Argentine scoops his strike with a panenka into the middle of the net. Oblak dives early and is powerless to prevent the strike from crossing the line. It’s a special strike for Messi – his 700th career goal.

62′ Penalty Goal! Barcelona 2-2 Atletico (Saul )

Ter Stegen is furious with himself as Saul’s strike just bursts through his hands and finds the bottom-right corner. It’s not a clean effort from the Spaniard and the Barca keeper should make the stop, but his hands are not firm enough and the ball trickles into the net.

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Happy New Month!!!

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Barca Wonderkid ‘Jurado’ says Goodbye

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Marc Jurado has penned an emotional goodbye letter to Barcelona ahead of his expected summer switch to Manchester United’s academy.

The 16-year-old right back has been in the La Masia set-up at Barcelona for his entire footballing journey, but is now set to head to Old Trafford in the coming months.

Jurado turned 16 in April but turned down the offer of a contract extension at Barca in order to secure a switch to Manchester United, which was first reported in May.

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Although the deal has not been confirmed by either club, it is expected to go ahead in the coming weeks, and now Jurado has announced his Barcelona exit.

‘It is never easy to leave the team that has given you everything,’ he wrote. ‘FC Barcelona has been my second home, my second family, where I have trained as a player but also as a person.

‘Today I have to say goodbye but not before thanking each of the people who have helped me since I started in 2011. I have been fortunate to share my passion with a fantastic generation with whom I will always be linked.

‘We started as children who only wanted to run after the ball and I said goodbye, nine years later, being able to call them friends. Only we know the immense luck we have had with all the coaches who have trained us and helped us to continue fulfilling our dreams.

‘Every stage has a beginning and an end. Mine, after much reflection with my family, has arrived. Gone are indelible memories that will always accompany me.’

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The teenage defender has been playing for the club’s Cadet A side this season and was due to be promoted to the Juvenil B team for the following campaign.

Jurado is just the latest in a long line of La Masia talents that they have lost in the past few years, with fewer stars breaking through to the first team.

Ansu Fati and Riqui Puig are two success stories over the last couple of years, but there have been a disappointing amount of exits.

Jurado’s exit is set to net the club around £1.3m, with Manchester United only needing to pay a small compensation fee given the player’s age.

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Jurado from Barcelona to Manchester United


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Barca Vs Atletico,Match will become life or death for Catalonia giants

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Barcelona host Atletico Madrid on Tuesday night in the midst of a crisis.

The Catalans have surrendered first place in LaLiga Santander to Real Madrid since the resumption of the season and Quique Setien is losing his grip on the dressing room.

Barcelona’s coaching staff have a battle on their hands to convince their players, whose behaviour and comments are raising eyebrows.

Lionel Messi was seen ignoring assistant coach Eder Sarabia at Balaidos on Saturday, while Luis Suarez’s comments afterwards hinted at dissatisfaction with his coaches.

The prospect of dropping more points against an in-form Atletico Madrid would surely lead to consequences at the Camp Nou.

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Back-up plans


The tension between coaches and players is generating serious doubts over Setien’s future.

The names of Xavi Hernandez and Xavi Garcia Pimienta are already on the table as possible successors in the Barcelona dugout.

In the meantime, Setien will be without the injured Frenkie de Jong and Ousmane Dembele against Atletico, but Sergio Busquets and Sergi Roberto are available again.

The Barcelona boss won’t be rotating his squad for this titanic clash and will field his strongest team against Diego Simeone’s side.

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Contrasting fortunes


While the problems at Barcelona are piling up, Atletico have been given a new lease of life since the season’s resumption.

Los Rojiblancos have climbed from sixth to third in the table in the space of five games, of which they’ve won their last four.

After a tough transition year following the departures of several key players, including Antoine Griezmann to Barcelona, Atletico are in their best form.

However, Atletico’s recent form at the Camp Nou is well documented.

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Jurado from Barcelona to Manchester United

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Marc Jurado has confirmed he is leaving Barcelona ahead of an expected summer move to Manchester United.

Standard Sport understands that United have won the race for the 16-year-old defender, who posted a farewell message to Barcelona on his Instagram page on Monday evening.

Barca were hoping to tie down the talented defender with a new three-year contract, but the Catalan turned down a lucrative offer from the Blaugrana and is expected to link up with United’s academy side this summer.

The Old Trafford outfit will have to pay a compensation fee for the Juvenil A player, with Barcelona set to receive around €200,000 (£175,000) for the youngster.

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Jurado has been at Barcelona since the age of nine and is considered one of the most promising players of his generation.

Jurado wrote: “It’s never easy to leave a team that has given you everything. FC Barcelona has been my second home, my second family, where I have developed as a player and as a person.

“Today it’s time to say goodbye, but not before expressing my gratitude to each of the people who have helped me since I started in the prebenjamín in the year 2011.


“I have been lucky to share my passion with a fantastic generation, with which I will always be linked.

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“We started as boys who just wanted to run after a ball and I say goodbye, nine years later, calling them friends. Only we know the immense luck we have had with all the coaches who have developed us and helped us to keep fulfilling our dreams.

“Every stage has a beginning and an end. Mine, having reflected a lot with my family, has come. I leave behind unforgettable memories which will always stay with me.”

United have recently extended their scouting network in places like Spain, specifically to sign emerging players in an attempt to avoid paying mega fees in the future.

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Barca winks at Xavi, is he in for next coach?

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Xavi Hernandez has openly stated that he wants to coach Barcelona in the future, potentially when the next set of elections come up, yet this comes at a time when a mini crisis is occurring at the club.

Barcelona drew 2-2 away to Celta Vigo on Saturday and that was followed by an argument between Quique Setien and the squad in the dressing room at the Estadio de Balaidos.

“The greatest wish I have now is to be Barcelona coach and make Barcelona successful,” Xavi told Jordi Evolve whilst taking part in an organised discussion about racism in football.

“Not just for me, but for those players and so that Barcelona succeeds.

“As a consequence, our technical staff are preparing a lot and we are very excited.”

And then, in the wake of Xavi’s comments on Monday morning, Barcelona’s Twitter account decided to show a goal of the former midfielder in their ‘goal of the day’ section.

Is this a wink from the club towards Xavi?

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Messi compares Authur to Xavi


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Having dropping two points, Barca feels frustrated – Suarez

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Luis Suarez expressed his frustration after Barcelona’s 2-2 draw at Celta Vigo on Saturday.

Real Madrid now have the chance to go two points clear at the top of LaLiga Santander when they face Espanyol on Sunday.

“The feelings are negative,” Suarez said at full time.

“We’ve dropped two points in the fight for LaLiga.

“It had been in our hands and now we have to wait for Real Madrid to drop points.

“The feeling we have is of frustration at having dropped two points.

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“There are still tough games to come for us and for [Real Madrid].

“[Celta] was a tough away game, the same as Villarreal will be.

“Atletico are also coming this week.

“The feeling is that we’ve dropped two points and we have to correct our mistakes to improve.”

Individual mistakes at the back from Barcelona cancelled out Suarez’s two goals at Balaidos.

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“I’m happy to have helped the team, but I’ve got that feeling of annoyance and frustration.”

This is the second away game in a row that Barcelona have failed to win.

“I think that’s why coaches are there, to analyse those situations,” Suarez said.

“We’re there to do our best on the pitch.

“Away from home, we’re dropping important points that we didn’t usually drop in other seasons.

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Barca 2-2 Celta, huge blow to barcelona as Celta equalises twice

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Luis Suarez scored twice but Barcelona stumbled at Celta Vigo as a thrilling LaLiga title race with Real Madrid took another twist.

Match Reports


Barcelona’s hopes of winning LaLiga for a third successive season suffered a blow as they were held to a 2-2 draw at Celta Vigo – handing Real Madrid a huge boost in the title race.

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Luis Suarez scored a brace – both of his goals assisted by Lionel Messi – as Barca twice held the lead on the road on Saturday.

However, after Fedor Smolov had equalised earlier in the second half, Iago Aspas curled in an 88th-minute free-kick to bring Celta level again in a see-saw contest in Galicia.

Match Events
20′ GOAL! Celta 0-1 Barcelona (Suarez)

Messi appears to be lining up a shot on the edge of the area but instead lifts a gorgeous cross to his strike partner at the far post. Onside due to the two defenders on the line, Luis Suarez heads in.

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23′ OFF THE POST! Mendez nearly scores

Celta have Barca reeling now! Denis Suarez plays a gorgeous pass into the area for Mendez to get his shot away, only for Ter Stegen to get the slightest touch to turn the ball onto the post. Umtiti cannot clear, so Aspas hammers in a shot from a tight angle which Ter Stegen smartly saves again. Good goalkeeping.

50′ GOAL! Celta 1-1 Barcelona (Smolov)

Celta are level with a beautifully crafted goal. Yokuslu is sent clear by an outstanding Aspas pass and then takes his time before squaring for Smolov to turn a finish past Ter Stegen. Barca have work to do!

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54′ CLOSE! Messi’s shot wide out

Messi just has not quite found his range. He trades passes with Luis Suarez this time before again attempting a curler inside the left-hand post. He shoots wide, though.

67′ GOAL! Celta 1-2 Barcelona (Suarez)

It’s that man again, with a huge goal for Barca! 2-1! The striker collects a touch from Messi and spins in the area before arrowing a low shot into the bottom-left corner. Clinical.

88′ GOAL! Celta 2-2 Barcelona (Aspas)

That could be a massive goal in the title race! It’s 2-2! From a similar position to Messi’s first-half assist, Aspas curls in a wonderful free-kick, keeping his shot hard and low and deceiving a static Ter Stegen. Celta are back on terms.

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‘Barca in perfect winning pace’ – Vidal

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Real Madrid may have moved above Barcelona in LaLiga, but Arturo Vidal believes the reigning champions will be back at the summit by the end of the campaign.

Barcelona are in tip top condition to see out the end-of-season and have got what it takes to pip Real Madrid to LaLiga, says Arturo Vidal. Spain’s top flight resumed this month with defending champions Barça two points clear of Madrid, but that advantage was wiped out by the Blaugrana’s stalemate with Sevilla last Friday.

Barcelona and Real Madrid level on points
Zinedine Zidane’s side have won four out of four since the restart and are now top due to their superior head-to-head record against Barça, who are bidding to win a third title in a row. However, Vidal is optimistic Barça can handle the rigours of a hectic schedule that will see them play seven league games in the space of three weeks.

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“As the games are closer together we need to use the time as best we can to ensure we go into the next game in the best possible shape,” he told FOX Sports. “But I think we are in perfect condition to be champions. The great atmosphere among the team is an important factor. We have all become close friends and that helps on the field. It’s very important because it really shows. I’m happy.”

Two chances of winning silverware left for Barcelona


Barça’s season will not end when their LaLiga campaign concludes at Alavés on the weekend of 18-19 July. Quique Setién’s side are still in the Champions League and have the second leg of their last-16 tie with Napoli to play in August, having drawn 1-1 in Italy back in February. The quarter-finals and semi-finals are now one-legged games that will take place in Lisbon, which will also host the final, and Vidal is excited about the way the Champions League will finish.

“I like the format,” Vidal added. “If we can beat Napoli it’s going to be very odd because of how and where it’s happening, in August and over single legs. But all-or-nothing games are the ones I like the best. I want to be important in those games.”

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Suarez brings back Goals for Barcelona


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5 things Atletic bilbao can do to defeat Barca

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Athletic Club have already defeated Barcelona twice this season… can they make it a hat-trick of upsets?

Barcelona went into both these side’s meeting so far this season as favourites, only to end up losing to last-gasp goals on both occasions. But not since 1987/88 have Athletic Club defeated Barcelona in both league meetings of the season. Here are five things the Basque side might do as they look to pick up another three points against the reigning LaLiga champions.

Let Barcelona have the ball

Athletic did not need lots of possession to beat Barcelona this season. In their first meeting they had just 28% possession, and followed it up with 32% in their cup meeting. On both occasions they focused on limiting the space given to Barcelona and then looked to sucker punch them at the other end whenever they had the chance.

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Start Unai Núñez

Unai Núñez is Athletic’s third-choice centre-back and has only started 16 matches across all competitions this season, but two of these matches were the two victories over the blaugrana. On both occasions he played 90 minutes and on both occasions he was spectacular. He’s also highly versatile, playing as part of a back four in the first game and a back three in the second.

Keep Messi quiet

Obviously, this is certainly easier said than done. Yet the evidence from the past shows that when Messi is kept off the scoresheet against Athletic, their chances of picking up a point, or three, is substantially higher. Barcelona’s winning percentage against Athletic when Messi scores is 81%; it goes down to 47% when he doesn’t. When he’s on top form, however, thing don’t bode well for the Basques, against whom he’s scored 24 goals in 36 appearances.

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Break the game up

One factor that plays into Barcelona’s hands this time is that the game will be played at Camp Nou, where they’re unbeaten all season. The blaugrana have won all but two games at home and the only two teams to come away with a point were Slavia Prague, in the Champions League, and Real Madrid. Both sides proved effective at breaking up the flow of the game, committing 17 fouls each.

Push for a late goal

If Athletic have the chance to score at any point in the match then, of course, they will try to take it. But a clear lesson from their previous two meetings with Barcelona this season is that Quique Setien’s men are vulnerable to late goals. Their league meeting was decided by the now-retired Aritz Aduriz in the 89th minute, their Copa del Rey quarterfinal in the 90th minute. Leaving Barcelona with little time to react after a goal would gift them a huge chance to make history.

Watch FC Barcelona v Athletic Club on SuperSport 7 at 22:00 on Tuesday, 23rd June.

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Barca and Messi negotiates on contract renewal

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Talks are reportedly underway between Barcelona and Lionel Messi over a new contract.

Both sides have taken their time over a new deal and allowed a clause permitting a one-year extension to his current contract – which runs until June 2021 – to expire earlier this month.

The delay had briefly raised the possibility that the Argentine could walk away from the Camp Nou next summer on a free transfer, perhaps even to join Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.

Though that precise scenario now looks extremely unlikely, Messi would still have the option to terminate his new contract – at no personal cost to the player – at the end of any season.

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The negotiations are being carried out by Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu and Jorge Messi, the Blaugrana captain’s dad, according to Spanish sports newspaper MARCA.

The discussions are reported to be progressing well, with the length of the contract and the base salary agreed in principle and the rest expected to be thrashed out over the summer.

The La Liga champions are believed to have offered Messi an additional two-year deal, which would see him through to 2023 – by which time he’ll have spent 22 of his 35 years at the club.

Messi is likely to keep his £500,000 weekly pay packet despite the financial trouble Barcelona are suffering due to coronavirus, though the entire squad took a 70% cut during lockdown.

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Barcelona fell into an internal crisis earlier this year after Messi fell out publicly with its sporting director and former left-back Eric Abidal over the sacking of manager Ernesto Valverde.

Yet, the onset of the pandemic quickly put the scale of their dispute into context.

The Catalan giants are facing a struggle to save 200million euros (£181million) from their annual budget, having missed out on much-needed revenue from matchdays and tourism.

Their position at the top of La Liga is looking as precarious as their finances, with Real Madrid closing in on Quique Setien’s side who were held to a goalless draw by Sevilla on Friday.

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Fati has no interest of Leaving Barca

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Barcelona star Ansu Fati appears to have made a decision on his future after Manchester United reportedly made two bids for the forward.

Fati, who is just 17, has impressed in his breakthrough season for Barca, and is being touted as the eventual heir to six-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi.

His form this season has attracted interest from top clubs around Europe, including Ole Gunnar Solskjer’s United.

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Last week, Barcelona-based publication Sport reported that United were willing to pay up to £89m for the forward, but claimed the La Liga giants wouldn’t accept anything less than £150m.

The Times then claimed the Red Devils had upped their offer to £136m.

But now another Spanish publication, Mundo Deportivo, reports that Fati has not yet been contacted by United, and has no interest in leaving Barcelona for any club.

The publication says Fati is ready to sign a new long-term deal with Barca, which could have a gargantuan release clause of £362m.

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Despite talk of financial strife at Barcelona, club director Xavier Vilajoana insisted the club was not prepared to cash in on the Spain under-21 international.

He said: “For us, there’s no story with Ansu, we have never spoken about selling him. We won’t use players from the academy to make cash.

“In principle, we have no intention of selling the players we believe will make the first team.”

Even Messi himself has been wowed by Fati, who can play on either wing or as a centre-forward.

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“He’s an amazing player and he’s got what it takes to succeed,” the Argentine said.

“But if I look at it through my eyes, I’d like them to bring him on gradually, like they did with me when I started, taking things nice and easy and without putting pressure on him.”

Fati became Barcelona’s youngest-ever goalscorer when he netted against Osasuna in August and continued to break records when he became the youngest scorer in Champions League history with the winner in a 2-1 victory over Inter Milan in December.

He has made 25 appearances for Barcelona this season, scoring six times

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Title race failure as Barca drops 2 points at Sevilla

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Spanish league leaders Barcelona were held to a goalless draw at Sevilla, leaving the title race wide open with eight games remaining.

2019/2020 La Liga

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Match Report

The result means second-placed Real Madrid could move level on points with Barcelona when they travel to Real Sociedad on Sunday.

Lionel Messi’s free-kick skimmed the bar in the first half but Barcelona were frustrated by Sevilla’s defence.

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Lucas Ocampos also hit the crossbar for the hosts before the break.

Sevilla sat deep, often playing with five at the back, and it proved effective as Barcelona saw lots of the ball but failed to create many clear-cut opportunities.

Messi’s free-kick was the closest they came, and Luis Suarez’ first-time strike almost sneaked in minutes before full-time, but Sevilla had bursts of attacking promise – Ocampos and Munir El Haddadi forcing two smart saves from Ter Stegen from close range in the first half.

Barcelona forward Antoine Griezmann came on as a substitute in the 76th minute in an attempt to find a winner but did not make an impact.

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On-loan Real Madrid defender Sergio Reguilon had a great chance to score for Sevilla in stoppage time when the ball fell kindly for him in an unmarked position in the box but he hit it straight at Ter Stegen.

The league leaders next play Athletic Bilbao on Tuesday, 23 June, while Messi remains one off 700 career goals.

Match Events

21′ Messi’s free kick stopped by Kounde

MESSI COMES CLOSE! Munir backs into Messi and Barcelona have a free-kick 20 yards from goal – perfect range for Messi. He lifts the ball over the wall and Kounde is well placed to head it off the line. Vaclik probably would have made the save had Kounde not been there, anyway.

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25′ Rakitic’s long shot wide out

54′ SAVE! Ocampos’ shot stopped by Ter Stegen

SAVE! Ter Stegen finally has something to do. Ocampos drills an angled shot on target and the Barcelona keeper gets a strong fist to the ball to keep it out.

57′ Munir’s shot stopped by Ter Stegen

ANOTHER SAVE! Setien must surely be tempted to turn to his bench because Barcelona are second best at the moment. Munir is played in behind down the left, races into the box and forces Ter Stegen into a second stop in the same number of minutes.

73′ CLOSE! Messi’s free kick stopped by Vaclik

MESSI DENIED! Messi came close from a couple of free-kicks in the first half. This latest set-piece effort from range is pretty decent, too, with Vaclik having to help it over the crossbar with his fingertips.

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Line-ups

Sevilla XI: J. Navas, Vaclik, Fernando, Luuk de Jong, Ocampos, Oliver Torres, Jordan, Carlos, Munir, Reguilon, Kounde

Subs: Banega, Vazquez, Escudero, Gudelj, Gomez, Bounou, Lopes, Suso, José Mena, En-Nesyri, Genaro Rodríguez, Pablo Pérez

Barcelona XI: Messi, Suarez, Pique, Rakitic, Vidal, Alba, Busquets, Braithwaite, Ter Stegen, Lenglet, Semedo

Subs: Neto, Griezmann, Arthur, Chumi Brandariz, Firpo, Pena, R. Araújo, Monchu, Riqui Puig, Álex Collado, E. Delgado, Fati.

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Barca – Sevilla lineups, Braitwaite to start, Griezmann benched

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The line-ups of Sevilla vs Barcelona have been announced.

Sevilla XI: TBC

Subs: TBC

Barcelona XI: Ter Stegen – Semedo, Piqué, Lenglet, Alba – Busquets, A.Vidal, Rakitic – Messi, Suárez, Braithwaite.

Subs: TBC

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Barca’s Starting Xi against Sevilla revealed

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Messi, Suarez and Griezmann lead Barcelona’s squad to face Sevilla in the next La Liga game and Alba has returned to the squad while Umtiti, Sergi Roberto and Frenkie De Jong are out of the list due to injury.

This Thursday, the team trained for the last time before the match against Sevilla in constant rain. The available players worked out on the Tito Vilanova pitch, where Sergi Roberto and De Jong did specific work.

The former has a rib fissure, while the Dutch midfielder has an overload on his right leg, meaning both players are not available for the trip. The evolution of each injury will condition their availability.

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Full Squad

GK: Ter Stegen, Neto, Pena

DF: Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Firpo, Araujo, Alba, Chumi

MF: Rakitic, Busquets, Arthur, Vidal, Puig, Collado, Monchu

FW: Suarez, Messi, Griezmann, Braithwaite, Fati, Saverio

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Barca remains top despite sluggish win over Leganes

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Lionel Messi was rugby tackled and then scored a penalty as Barcelona put the pressure back on Real Madrid by easing to a 2-0 victory over Leganes at an empty Camp Nou on Tuesday.

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Messi was hauled to the ground in the first half by a diving Unai Bustinza wrapping two arms around his waist and he was knocked over again in the second, this time earning a penalty, which he converted.

After 33 appearances, Messi now has 26 goals this season. In his last eight games, he has seven goals and eight assists.

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The 17-year-old Ansu Fati had earlier given Barcelona the lead, continuing his breakthrough season with a fifth goal in eight league starts.

Leganes could have made the reigning champions feel uncomfortable if Miguel-Angel Guerrero had taken either of two golden early opportunities but the first was cleared off the line and the second denied by the post.

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“We had a bit of luck at the beginning,” admitted Barca coach Quique Setien.

But his team’s reward for a rather underwhelming performance is a five-point advantage over Madrid, who can reduce that back to two by winning at home to Valencia on Thursday.

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Valencia will be a more thorough examination of Madrid’s sharpness after the three-month break and Barca can expect tougher tests to come than Leganes too, starting with a trip to third-placed Sevilla on Friday.

Setien will hope Gerard Pique recovers from a nasty challenge that means he will need stitches in his shin. “It split his shinpad,” said Setien. “We hope it’s not serious.”

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Leganes have dropped to the bottom of the table and look doomed to relegation, their chances of survival damaged by Barcelona snatching away their top scorer Martin Braithwaite as an emergency signing in February.

Leganes were not alone in feeling the rule had hurt them disproportionately and their sense of injustice might have been deepened by the fact Braithwaite was left on the bench for the entire 90 minutes.

WASTEFUL GUERRERO

Barcelona controlled possession in the first half but created little and would have been behind early on if Guerrero had been more precise.

First, Javier Eraso sprinted clear and despite taking too long to shoot, the ball spilt out for Guerrero, whose drive hit the foot of Clement Lenglet on the line.

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Guerrero had another go moments later, this time from an acute angle, but his rasping half-volley flew across the area and shaved the far post.

Barca were laboured, even as they dominated the ball, but Leganes might have been tiring by the 42nd minute when Junior Firpo’s bustling run allowed Fati to take an instinctive shot, which he fired through the legs of Rodri Tarin and into the bottom corner.

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In the 69th minute, Messi gave his team the cushion they wanted, earning a dubious penalty with a storming run. He won the ball on the halfway line, nutmegged one defender and held off two more.

After an exchange with Luis Suarez, he was finally knocked over, even if it appeared less of a foul than the previous attempts to stop him. Messi curled into the bottom corner.

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Suarez had come on for Fati and Sergio Busquets, Gerard Pique, Arthur Melo all departed too as Setien turned his attention to Sevilla. Leganes coach Javier Aguirre was sent off for whistling on the sidelines in injury-time.

CHAMPIONS LEAUGE-CHASING GETAFE SLIP UP

Earlier, Getafe dropped more points in the race for Champions League qualification as they failed to break down Espanyol despite their opponents playing most of the match with 10 men.

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A goalless draw represents a missed opportunity for Jose Bordalas’ side and they could even have lost to Espanyol, who had Bernardo Espinosa sent off in the 16th minute but are building momentum.

Getafe stay fifth, level on points with fourth-placed Real Sociedad, who will play their game in hand at Alaves on Thursday. Getafe could also be overtaken if Atletico Madrid win on Wednesday against Osasuna.

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Espanyol move to within two points of safety after resuming with a 2-0 victory over Alaves on Saturday.

Villarreal stayed in the hunt for the European places by beating Real Mallorca 1-0. Carlos Bacca’s early finish leaves Villarreal seventh, three points from fourth. Mallorca remain 18th.

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Suarez brings back Goals for Barcelona

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Football’s return may not be the only comeback that Barcelona fans are excited about, with Luis Suarez’s reappearance on the squad list something that will also please them to no end.

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When COVID-19 forced all action to stop, the Catalan club’s frontline was depleted and Martin Braithwaite was brought in as an emergency signing.

Now, things are very different and the No.9 has fully recovered and is ready to go.

The Uruguayan is undoubtedly Lionel Messi’s best partner in attack and Quique Setien has already said that he’s his first choice to lead the line, though he did warn that it may still be early for him to play all 90 minutes.

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What’s clear, though, is that Barcelona are delighted to have Suarez back for the season’s most crucial stage.

He had 12 goals in his 20 appearances before his injury and he’ll be looking to build on that to fire Barcelona to the title.

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Suarez and Messi ready for Match after full training


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