Ernesto Valverde thinks Riqui Puig is one of those blokes who want to be in the thick of things. When he is on the pitch, he is always looking for the possession of the ball and not looking to remain away from the action. He wants to be at the hotspot and that’s a great quality for somebody who is as young as him.
Puig is only in his teens at this stage and he got to feature for the first team of Barcelona yesterday and that too at home. He was used as a substitute in the second half of the game against Cultural Leonesa. The hosts were 3-1 up already when Puig entered the pitch and the youngster put cherry on top of the cake by assisting another goal for the team a few minutes after his entry. The victory saw Barcelona advancing through to the pre quarter finals of Copa del Rey.
Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets has said that he could see out the remainder of his career without pursuing a fresh challenge elsewhere. The 30-year-old has been a one-club man to date with exactly 500 appearances in all competitions and he has now indicated that he could retire with the Blaugrana without seeking another club at the backend of his career.
Speaking to Diario Sport, he said: “I have never seen myself anywhere else. The Guardiola thing I said not because I saw myself anywhere else, but because I should have him in mind, as is normal. I have always said I won’t be better off anywhere else. Me and the club are made for each other. I can enjoy being at home, at the best club in the world, with the best players, fighting for titles every year… winning the majority. There’s practically nowhere else you can do that.”
Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has indicated the wrong decision was made after the referee used the VAR to send off Clement Lenglet against Girona. Barca had dominated the initial proceedings in the Catalan derby as they took an early lead but they soon found themselves a man down with Lenglet sent off after a VAR decision.
Thereafter, former Middlesbrough ace Christian Stuani scored in either half to pull Girona into the lead but Barca managed to salvage a point with Gerard Pique finding the equaliser following the hour mark. Speaking after the game, Valverde was surprised by the decision of the referee and highlighted that the opposition player apologised for the incident, he said: “It handicapped us, we had bad luck to concede just before the end of the first half. We couldn’t come back. I haven’t seen the incident on the television, there’s a clear collision and it seems that there’s an elbow. It’s the first sending off where the player fouled apologises.”
Brazil legend Ronaldo believes Real Madrid and Barcelona should be among the leading clubs competing for the Champions League crown this term. Real Madrid have dominated the competition with four titles from the previous five seasons but they have their task cut out this time around with Cristiano Ronaldo no longer at the Bernabeu.
Despite this, Brazil’s Ronaldo feels both Real Madrid and Barcelona should be up there come the end of the season but they could be surprised by the English clubs, he said: “The favourites to win UEFA Champions League are always the same: Real Madrid and Barcelona are ahead of the rest – Real Madrid, because of their history and tradition, and that they have won four of the last five titles, including three in a row. They are always among the favourites for this competition. The Spanish clubs know this very well, but I think we might be surprised by the English sides, because they are very strong and have the economic power to buy top players.”
Former Dutch legend Johan Cruyff said that France deserves to win the World Cup in Russia and that they were the best team in the tournament. He said that France has some good players with not only the skills but also the experience to win such a demanding tournament.
Johan Cruyff said that France has had some excellent player development program in place for quite some time now and that they are now reaping the benefits. He said that France players are not only good technically but also physically which makes it quite difficult to play against.
The Netherlands football hero Johan Cruyff departed the world through cancer at the age of 68.
The Dutchman, who won Ballon d’Or three times, guided Netherlands to the World Cup final in 1974 and as a manager he spent eight years in charge of Barcelona.
On March 24 2016 Johan Cruyff (68) died peacefully in Spain, surrounded by his family after a hard struggle with cancer.
“It’s with tears that we plead you to respect the family’s privacy during their time of grief’ read a statement on the World of Johan Cruyff website.
‘With sadness the death of Johan Cruyff has taught one or two lessons. Words are not enough’ wrote the Dutch football federation on Twitter.
Cruyff, who was a heavy smoker until undergoing heart surgery in 1991, made his illness publicized. He was regarded as one of the game’s greatest players. Continue reading
Malaysia are interested in Belgian-Malaysian defender Dion ‘Johana’ Cools, according to reports.
The 21-year old was named by his parents after former football greats Dion Dublin and Johan Cruyff. The national coach NeloVingada has offered the player the opportunity to play for their national side.
Cools features currently for Club Brugge KV where he lines as a defender for the Belgian multiple time league winners. He has a mature profile at Club Brugge where he featured in 30 games last term. He has Champions League experience as well as Malaysia want him.
However, Cools has featured in various youth levels for Belgium. He was in the Under 22 Belgium Young Players’ Team of the Season last term.
Vngada said he has contacted the player and hoping he agrees to the request. The coach says he and his team have been investigating players that are eligible for Malaysian passport in a bid to boost the player pool for the national team. Continue reading
Dick Advocaat is going to be in charge of the Dutch national soccer squad for the rest of their World Cup qualifying campaign.
The qualifying chances of the Dutch are hanging by a thin thread at the moment as they are far away from the first two spots in the points table of Group A.
It’s only if they are at no. 1 or no. 2 in the standings at the completion of the first round, they will have any chance of going to Russia, otherwise, they will have to suffer the embarrassment of not featuring in another big competition.
They had failed to secure their spot in the Euro Cup as well which had taken place the previous year.
The qualifying scenario for World Cup is such that if Netherlands manage to end up being the no. 1 in their group, they will qualify straightaway and won’t have to play any further games in that situation.
A no. 2 finish will send them to the playoffs where they will have to compete with the no. 2s of other groups. Continue reading
Spanish giant Barcelona have been very dominant in European club for many decades.
The legacies of the club speak for it. Managing the club comes with such high expectations that cold claim a life. Is the managerial role of Blaugrana
the most draining in football?
After three years in charge, a successful Luis Enrique is set to leave the club. He leaves the side like every other manager: severely drained. During the 5-0 rout of Celta Vigo, the fans chanted: ‘Lucho, we love you, please stay’ but it was more of a farewell message as it had been established that he was leaving.
While it seems the club’s ideologies are waning, the part that the coaching role drains you to the last holds still. Only two managers have stayed at the club more than four years since the 1950s. Johan Cruyff – who changed football at the club – did eight years but he did not live long after. Frank Rijkaard spent five years and he is yet to recover.
The fans own the Spanish club – they decide who stays on as coach, who becomes the president and the extent they want to reach each term. Continue reading
The Barcelona forward has given his new footwear to the former Netherlands international, who played at Camp Nou in the 1990s.
The 29-year old has given new shoes for the son of the former Netherlands legend Johan Cruyff.
December is usually the time for gift giving and helping out those in need. So to keep up with tradition, Lionel Messi has donated his new boots to former Barcelona forward Jordi Cruyff.
Cruyff, who is now the sports director at Maccabi Tel Aviv, spent three seasons at Barcelona and four at Manchester United, but never quote lived up to his billing as the son of legendary Netherlands international Johan Cruyff.
The attacker scored just eight goals during his time at Old Trafford, failing to find the net during the 1997/1998 season, and later had spells in Ukraine and Malta despite a strong start to his playing career.
Conversely, Messi has scored over 500 goals for club and country, winning five Ballon d’Or trophies, and is rated as one of the best players of all time. Messi has made the former player a special present which he shared on Twitter with his followers. Continue reading