Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes Barcelona will struggle to win this season’s Champions League, given they don’t have the required creativity from the centre of the park. The Catalan giants recently picked up a 1-1 draw from the away leg of the Champions League round of 16 against Napoli but their performance was not overly impressive despite their dominant possession stats.
on BeIN Sports, Wenger acknowledged that the Blaugrana are not well placed in
the pursuit of the Champions League title and believes they can be exploited in
the midfield department, where they have lacked regular goalscorers, he told: “I
would agree (that they aren’t good enough to win it. This Barcelona side on
average since the start of the season has similar numbers to Napoli.
Barcelona defender Nelson Semedo has said that the Blaugrana must improve with their overall performances in order to win the Champions League title this season. The Blaugrana previously won the elite competition in 2015 and they have since failed at the quarter-final stage on three occasions while missing out on the final to eventual champions Liverpool last term.
in a press conference, Semedo said that there is room for improvement in the
defensive point of view following a shock 3-1 defeat to Levante at the weekend.
He added that the Blaugrana were previously on a seven-match winning run prior
to the defeat but they have set standards whereby they can’t afford any
setbacks in between.
Barcelona defender Clement Lenglet is confident that Antoine Griezmann can become a regular contributor for the Blaugrana once he has been able to adapt to the style of play. The France international has already scored three goals since his move away from Atletico Madrid last summer but in between those efforts, he has gone through periods, where he has struggled to make an impression.
to radio station RAC1, Lenglet said that Griezmann has been introduced to a
different game at the Spanish champions and he should adapt to the team’s
formation during the forthcoming months, he told: “Yes, Griezmann will adapt to
Barca, because of his talent and his personal quality. It’s a totally different
game to Atletico. There are fewer spaces to run into when attacking, and you
have to adapt to a new life, a new home, many things which you are not
accustomed to, because he has not been at many clubs. The league started a
month and a half ago and he has scored three goals.”
manager Ernesto Valverde has indicated that Philippe Coutinho could remain at
the Camp Nou beyond the La Liga transfer deadline. The midfielder was recently
touted to make a return to the Premier League with Tottenham Hotspur, but it
appears that he turned down the approach to stay put with the Catalans giants.
reporters, Valverde said that Coutinho remains an influential player within the
club’s ranks and he was absent during the friendly because of the short
turnaround following his vacation. The Spanish tactician added that he cannot
predict the future of the Brazil international, but he is optimistic that the
27-year-old will continue to ply his trade with the Blaugrana next term.
The father of Neymar has stressed that he
has no plans to negotiate with Barcelona regarding the attacker’s return to the
Camp Nou. The 27-year-old made the world-record switch to Paris Saint-Germain
from the Blaugrana nearly two years ago, but the move has not quite worked out
for the Brazilian, who has been deemed to be unsettled in the French capital.
As such, there has been regular speculation
over the past few months linking the Brazilian with a return to the Camp Nou
but his father has insisted that does not remain the case at the present
moment, he said: “I’m not going to Barcelona to negotiate. I am in Brazil and I
will stay here until we return to Paris with my son.”
Neymar was due to participate for Brazil at
the Copa America but the same could not happen after he sustained an injury
during the lead-up to the tournament. Nonetheless, he has been hanging around
the team providing moral support and it remains to be seen whether the host
nation manage to secure the continental title this time around.
Meanwhile, the speculation linking Neymar with the Blaugrana has only intensified over the past few days despite there being no discussion between the clubs. According to AS, Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde is understood to have given the green light to pursue both Antoine Griezmann and Neymar to strengthen the attack, although that could witness few departures from the club.
The club have already sanctioned the permanent sale of Denis Suarez but there could be further exits to balance the books. Among the high-profile players, Philippe Coutinho has been touted to head through the exit door with former club Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain identified as potential destinations. Coutinho managed just five league goals during the previous campaign for the Spanish champions.
Barcelona striker Luis Suarez has said that the Blaugrana need to enjoy every minute of Lionel Messi’s involvement on the playing field. The Argentine is widely regarded as one of the best-ever players to feature for the club, and he managed another piece of history at the weekend after becoming the first Blaugrana player to secure 10 La Liga crowns.
Speaking after the game, Suarez hailed the qualities of Messi, who came up with the winning strike against Leganes which handed the club with the title, he said: “We have to be realistic that he is the best player in the world. We have to enjoy him every minute he plays, we have to be proud of how great he is.”
Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson believes Tottenham Hotspur should look at the prospect of signing Andre Gomes from Barcelona when the season comes to a close. The north London outfit decided to part ways with Mousa Dembele at the halfway stage of the season and this has certainly left a void which could be filled at the end of the campaign.
Speaking on Sky Sports, Merson said that Gomes could be the perfect foil for the Capital outfit following his impressive debut Premier League season with Everton on loan, he said: “I like him [Gomes. There is talk of Tottenham coming in for him for £30 million. Again, this is what happens, you have a couple of good games and other teams look at the loan situation and think ‘Oh, he’s only on loan, I’ll take him’. He’s a Tottenham player… He’s a Tottenham player!”
Spain international Jordi Alba has reportedly signed a new five-year contract with Barcelona to cease any speculation regarding his future. The left-back has been a crucial performer for the Blaugrana over the past seven years and he has now penned a new deal to keep him at the Camp Nou until the summer of 2024.
Speaking to the club’s official website, Alba said that the continuity with the club had always been his aim and he is pleased to have committed his long-term future, he told: “Continuing at this club was always my aim. I am going through the best moment of my career, and continuing here was always my aim. I take care of myself much more, I have the support of my family along with the trust of the Club and my team-mates. I’m happy in all aspects of my life, and that allows me to play at the highest level.”
A 5th generation(5G) Stadium project developed by FC Barcelona and Telefónica has made the Camp Nou the first football stadium in Europe to have dedicated standard 5G coverage.
The deployment of this technology will be both on the stands, and on the playing field, using Telefónica’s commercial band and a standard 3GPP Ericsson network. This willbring about the exploration of new and more innovative ways of enjoying sports events from home. Portraying it as if viewers are present in the stadium.
Barcelona have confirmed that they have reached an agreement to secure the signing of Frenkie de Jong from Ajax. The Netherlands international had been the subject of a bidding battle involving the likes of Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain but the Blaugrana eventually won his services after agreeing on an initial €75m fee.
“FC Barcelona and Ajax have reached an agreement for the transfer of midfielder Frenkie de Jong, who will be joining the Catalan club from 1 July 2019. The cost of the transfer operation is 75 million euros, plus a further 11 million in variables. The player will be signing a contract for the next five seasons, through to 2023/24. The president Josep Maria Bartomeu and the CEO ÒscarGrau were personally involved in closing the deal in Amsterdam,” read a statement on the club’s website.