Tag Archives: fc barcelona

Home sweet home: ‘i have to return to Camp nou’ – Coutinho

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One of the first problems in Ronald Koeman’s in-tray is just what to do with Philippe Coutinho, with the Brazilian midfielder due to return to the club after his loan spell with Bayern Munich.

In the aftermath of his Champions League success, the Brazilian confirmed that his future is up in the air once he returns.

“Of course, I have to go back to Barcelona and then we’ll see what happens,” Coutinho explained in an interview with Movistar+ after Sunday’s final.

“I haven’t really thought about it much, I’ve only been focused on the final.

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“What I can say is that I really want to work hard to have a great year, but let’s see what happens.”

Coutinho takes a Champions League winner’s medal back to the Camp Nou with him, which will somewhat make up for the pain felt by the fact Liverpool had won the trophy just after he left.

“We had a great season and we are very happy,” he added.

“We’ve deserved this and it’s a special feeling.

“I’m finding it hard to describe, I’m very happy and we are going to enjoy this a lot today.”

PSG missed their chances, whilst Bayern Munich were more reliable in possession, and Coutinho believes it was only small details which took his team to the trophy.

“Finals are always like this,” he said.

“They are defined by the smallest of details.

“We have controlled our emotions and now we are champions.”

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Top Story: Lionel Messi to leave Barcelona next summer?


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Bayern will deal with Messi, not just Barcelona – Flick

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Bayern coach Hansi Flick reeled off a list of Barcelona threats, determined to look beyond simply Lionel Messi for Bayern Munich’s quarter-final.

Bayern Munich are making plans for Lionel Messi, but coach Hansi Flick is well aware of the threat of the rest of the Barcelona team in their Champions League quarter-final. Bayern face Barça in Lisbon on Friday in a match the Bundesliga champions are expected to win, having been in dominant form in recent months.

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But the Blaugrana have Messi in their ranks, the six-time Ballon d’Or winner seemingly determined to get his hands on a fifth European crown, the most recent of those coming in 2015.

Questions at Flick’s pre-match news conference focused on the threat of Barca’s number 10, yet the head coach was keen to remind reporters there will be more to the match than Messi.

Full match preview: Barcelona vs Bayern Munich

Barcelona are more than Messi
“It’s not Bayern Munich against Messi, but against Barcelona,” he said. “Of course we have thought about how we will play against him.

“It is possible that we will play together to counter him as a team. We have to recognise the spaces, put him under pressure and try to win the one-on-one duels.”

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Flick added: “We have the necessary respect for Barcelona because they have been the dominant team in recent years. Many coaches and clubs have been inspired by Barça.

“They’re nice to watch, the way they play, the way they train, their enthusiasm.

“Messi is not the only player who stands out. [Gerard] Pique, [Antoine] Griezmann, [Ivan] Rakitic and [Luis] Suarez are top players. [Marc-Andre] ter Stegen is a world-class goalkeeper.

“They have enormous quality and experience and we have to go against that as a team and bring our quality. We have a plan and hope that it works.”

Messi > Lewandowski?
While opposite number Quique Setién suggested Robert Lewandowski was not in the same class as Messi, Flick refused to be drawn into a comparison between his talisman and Barca’s.

“You can’t compare the two players,” he said. “Lewandowski is a world-class striker and has tremendous quality. For us, he is someone who guarantees goals but also creates goals.

“Messi has been by far the best footballer over the past few years. He’s an exceptional player and I don’t know if someone like that will come around again.”

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Teenage left-back Alphonso Davies has been one of the stars of the Champions League campaign so far but may now be the man tasked with marking Messi.

Team-mate Thomas Muller is determined not to leave the Canadian to face his mammoth task alone, though.

“Messi is in good shape, but you never defend him alone,” Muller said. “My experience from the games in which I faced him was that it worked when the whole team was there.

“We have to act together against this individual quality. Alphonso Davies is also key here, but he is not alone.”

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Man United eyes Two amazing Barcelona Skill masters

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Manchester United are weighing up their next move after missing out on Jadon Sancho as Kai Havertz continue to push for a Chelsea switch.

Jadon Sancho is reportedly staying at Borussia Dortmund, leading Manchester United to look elsewhere . NobleSports reports United are eyeing up an audacious move for Barcelona’s teenage forward Ansu Fati and are willing to pay more than £90million (€100m) for the Spain under-21 international. Meanwhile, NobleSports reports United are looking at another Barcelona attacker in Ousmane Dembélé.

Kai Havertz is still pushing for a move to Chelsea, reports in Italy suggest. Havertz has been heavily linked with a move to Stamford Bridge after an impressive season with Bayer Leverkusen.

Havertz still keen on Chelsea move
Havertz is still pushing for a move to Chelsea from Leverkusen, according to Fabrizio Romano.

The Germany international would join Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech in heading to Chelsea ahead of 2020-21.

Havertz scored 18 goals and provided nine assists in 45 games for Leverkusen this season but the Bundesliga club insist he will not be leaving for less than his release clause.

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Officially: Lewandowski named Bundesliga best player of 2019/20


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Excepting Messi, See Five other players Barca won’t sell this summer


Barcelona are reportedly open to selling all but six of their players this summer.

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The club’s financial situation has been worsened by the coronavirus pandemic and that means that the majority of the first team squad’s futures are now unclear.

Spanish outlet Marca claim only Lionel Messi, Antoine Girezmann, Gerard Pique, Frenkie de Jong, Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Ansu Fati are safe.

A number of players in the dressing room are concerned with defender Clement Lenglet the latest to speak out.

‘No one knows what the future holds as a footballer, but I hope to be at Barcelona next season,’ the Frenchman told RMC.

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‘It will depend on the transfer window. It’s a special period for clubs and no one is exempt from anything, but I hope to stay.’

Croatian midfielder Ivan Rakitic also expressed his frustration recently.

‘I’d have liked it if the club had come out and said that I’d be staying, just to stop the rumours,’ the 32-year-old told Cadena COPE

Arturo Vidal is another older player said to have been made available to other clubs.

The 33-year-old said on an Instagram Live last week: ‘I’m very happy and settled in Barcelona.

‘Of course I want to stay, I’m more willing than ever now. I’m happy, there’s a good group and I have great friends in the dressing room.

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La Liga hopes to return on June 12 and despite stories in Spain on Friday that they have now ruled that out as a comeback date, Sportsmail understands it remains the target.

The organization is under pressure to bring football back by that date to avoid financial penalties written into television contracts.


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‘Messi & Barcelona will always be united’ – Setien

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Quique Setien has expressed his belief that Lionel Messi and Barcelona “will always be united”, while dismissing rumours of a potential move to Inter for the Argentine superstar.

Messi continues to set unprecedented standards of excellence at Camp Nou at the age of 32, and has shown no sign of slowing down as he approaches the latter stages of his illustrious career.

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The diminutive magician has contributed 24 goals and 16 assists to Barca’s cause in 31 outings across all competitions this season, helping them return to the La Liga summit while also reaching the last 16 of the Champions League.

The Blaugrana have won 10 La Liga titles and four European Cups with Messi leading their charge, and he was awarded a record-breaking sixth Ballon d’Or in 2019 after enjoying another outstanding year.

The Argentina international has spent the last 16 years at Camp Nou, but there is a clause in his current contract which permits him to leave at the end of any season should he choose to do so.

A number of off-field issues have overshadowed Barca’s latest campaign, with a public spat between Messi and sporting director Eric Abidal over Ernesto Valverde’s sacking in January marking the lowest point for the club.

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It has been reported that a prized asset is ready to call time on a historic spell in Catalunya when the transfer market reopens due to all the controversy, with Inter mooted as a possible next destination.

However, Setien – the man who succeeded Valverde at the start of the year – has rejected any notion of Messi moving onto pastures new before he hangs up his boots.

The Barca boss told Gazzetta dello Sport: “He will free from Barca? No, it won’t happen. Messi and Barcelona will always be united. It’s just like that. Leo has been at Barca for twenty years and nobody could explain a breakdown situation”.

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Setien also weighed in on speculation linking Barca with Napoli midfielder Fabian Ruiz, a player he coached for a brief spell while in charge of Real Betis.

“I was with him for a year and it was enough to show that he was a great player, of extraordinary level, he had enormous potential and he pulled him out very quickly,” he added on Ruiz.

“He was comfortable with me because I put him in a football context that did him good.”


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‘Lautaro will just be a sub at Barcelona’

Lautaro Martinez would not be guaranteed to start at Barcelona and should stay with Inter for the time being, according to Fabio Capello.

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Barca are keen to bring the Argentine striker to Camp Nou as they aim to reform their front line for next season, and intend to offer him a contract worth €10 million (£9m/$11m) a year as they make him their number one priority in the transfer window.

The club already have a wealth of attacking riches, including Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Ousmane Dembele, Antoine Griezmann, and the returning Philippe Coutinho from his loan spell at Bayern Munich – while they are also keen to bring Neymar back having sold him to Paris Saint-Germain in 2017 for a world-record fee.

While Barca have indicated they are willing to sell in order to bring in Lautaro, former AC Milan, Real Madrid and England coach Capello feels he would progress better if he stayed under the management of Antonio Conte at San Siro.

In an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport , Capello said: “If I were him, I would stay at Inter, because at Barca he would be a substitute.”

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Currently all transfers have been placed into a perennial state of uncertainty because of the coronavirus, which has caused the postponement of all football across Europe, and the cancellation of some leagues including the top-flight seasons in the Netherlands and Belgium.

It is unclear when the transfer windows will open, and if clubs will be able to afford the huge fees seen in recent seasons, with the lack of matchday revenue and television income causing economic uncertainty across football.

Capello feels that almost every team in Spain will be financially affected – including Barcelona – and that the transfer market will be heavily impacted with much lower fees.

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He said: “It seems to me that, economically, in Spain the only team that will not be destroyed in this pandemic is Real Madrid. Barcelona and Atletico Madrid are going to suffer a lot.

“The market will be revolutionised. Absurd numbers have been reached for the transfers. We will return to a more reasonable level. Smart managers will be necessary to fix the system. Egotism can be fatal.”


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Barcelona willing to accept a lower bid to offload Coutinho


Barcelona are reportedly willing to cut their losses and accept a bid lower than their ideal asking price to offload Philippe Coutinho.

The Brazilian midfielder is expected to leave the Nou Camp this summer after failing to prove a hit since his transfer from Liverpool in 2018.


Coutinho had hoped to secure a permanent switch to loan club Bayern Munich but the Bundesliga giants have decided not to exercise their option to buy.

Barca have now been left in a difficult position as they plan on using any cash from Coutinho’s sale to fund moves for other targets.


The Evening Standard report that the Catalan club are now prepared to accept bids in the region of £70-80million to part with the 27-year-old.

That is a significant mark down from the deal they agreed with Liverpool, which cost an initial £106m up front with a further £36m due in add-ons – some of which have already been met.


Barca boss Quique Setien was open to the idea of Coutinho returning to the club and joining back up with the first-team.

But given the current coronavirus crisis, Barca need to mke one major sale to boost their transfer kitty, and Coutinho is the man set to make way.


Inter Milan striker Lautaro Martinez and PSG’s Neymar are top of Barcelona’s wishlist, but neither will come cheap.

That rules out any likelihood of a loan agreement for Coutinho, unless it includes an obligation to buy.


Coutinho has still managed to record a decent season in Germany, providing nine goals and eight assists in 32 appearances across all competitions, with only 22 of those coming as starts.

Several Premier League clubs have shown an interest in the playmaker, most notably Tottenham, but there have been no concrete enquiries as yet.

Chelsea, Man Utd and Arsenal have also been mooted as possible destinations.


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Chelsea ‘Already Negotiating’ With Philippe Coutinho Over Summer Move From Barcelona


Chelsea have already opened negotiations with Barcelona attacker Philippe Coutinho ahead of a summer return to the Premier League, according to a report.

Coutinho sealed a dream move to Barça from Liverpool back in January 2018, but things haven’t gone to plan since making the switch. After a slow start to life at the club, he was sent out on loan to Bayern Munich for the 2019/20 season.

Continue reading Chelsea ‘Already Negotiating’ With Philippe Coutinho Over Summer Move From Barcelona

Barcelona Keen on Moves for Lautaro Martinez & Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang


Exclusive – Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubamayeng features on Barcelona’s shortlist of potential summer signings, though the reigning La Liga champions have established Inter’s Lautaro Martínez as their top striking target ahead of next season.

Barcelona have been on the lookout for a new striker for several months, with 33-year-old Luis Suárez approaching the end of his career at Camp Nou, but the striker’s recent injury has forced Barcelona to step up their search.

Continue reading Barcelona Keen on Moves for Lautaro Martinez & Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Real Betis 2-3 Barcelona: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Lionel Messi Inspires Dramatic Comeback


Barcelona had Lionel Messi to thank once more after his hat-trick of assists helped the La Liga champions battle to a 3-2 win over Real Betis.

Betis were awarded a penalty inside the opening five minutes when Clement Lenglet was adjudged to have blocked a shot with his arm, and Sergio Canales tucked away the resulting spot-kick to give the hosts a shock lead.


The advantage lasted only four minutes, however, as Frenkie de Jong levelled proceedings with a smart finish, latching onto an exquisite Lionel Messi pass.

Frenkie de Jong

La Blaugrana then spurned a whole host of chances to edge ahead, but it was the hosts who struck next, when Nabil Fekir capitalised on an Arturo Vidal mistake to lash home. Sergio Busquets levelled the scores deep in first-half injury time, and the two sides went into the half-time break all square.


Barça were the better side at the start of the second half, and Messi was denied twice by two smart Joel Robles saves. But the visitors weren’t finished there, and Lenglet secured all three points with 20 minutes to play, planting a superb header beyond the Betis goalkeeper from another Messi cross.

Fekir was then sent off a few minutes later for dissent towards the referee, as the hosts began to crumble, before Lenglet also saw red. Despite the late setback, Barça held onto the victory and moved to within three points of rivals Real Madrid.


Here’s 90min’s breakdown of the game.

Real Betis

Player Ratings

Starting XI: Joel (6); Emerson (6), Mandi (6), Bartra (7), Alex Moreno (6); William Carvalho (7), Guido Rodríguez (6), Aleñá (8); Canales (7); Fekir (6), Borja Iglesias (7)

Substitutes: Moron (6), Joaquin (6), Tello (6)

Barcelona

Key Talking Point

Given Barcelona are currently in a full-blown crisis, the last thing the Catalan giants needed was one of their own stars putting in a superb performance against them on Sunday evening.


But that’s exactly what happened.

On-loan Carles Aleñá was starting in the Betis midfield against his parent club, and he demonstrated exactly why La Blaugrana should not have allowed him to leave.

Clement Lenglet,Carles Alena
Although Barça were able to get the ball up the pitch to the forwards quickly, they lacked any real balance or control in the midfield and Aleñá and his teammates took full advantage of their woes.

It was the 22-year-old himself who created the second goal, seizing the ball from Vidal in the centre of the park and sliding an inch-perfect pass to Fekir, who gleefully buried his chance. With only a few players available for selection for the coming months, Barça fans must be wishing they could recall a talent like Aleñá back to Camp Nou.


When it rains, it pours.

Player Ratings

Starting XI: Ter Stegen (6); Semedo (6), Lenglet (6), Umtiti (7), Junior (6); Vidal (5), Busquets (7), De Jong (8), Sergi Roberto (5); Messi (9*), Griezmann (7)

Substitutes: Jordi Alba (6), Arthur (6), Rakitic (N/A)

Lionel Messi

Sorry for stating the blinkin’ obvious, but this Messi fella is alright at football, isn’t he?


The Argentine superstar wasn’t at his mind-boggling best in possession, but it was his vital contributions from set-pieces that won the game for Barcelona.

The 32-year-old clipped a delicious pass over the top of the Betis defence to allow De Jong the chance to level the scores early on, and the little magician then delivered a superb free-kick which was tucked away by Busquets to restore parity once more.


Lionel Messi

Messi’s awards for ‘best supporting act’ didn’t stop there, though, as the Barça star whipped a mouthwatering ball onto the head of Lenglet, who dealt the final blow to this courageous Betis side.

Argentina’s captain almost marked the game with one of his trademark chipped finishes – one of which he scored against the very same opposition – but his majestic clip narrowly missed the far post.

The man deserves a better cast.

Continue reading Real Betis 2-3 Barcelona: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Lionel Messi Inspires Dramatic Comeback