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.
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.
New Netherlands coach Guus Hiddink was an angry man after the club lost its second match under his regime. A lot of positivity was expected from Hiddinka��s second spell in charge of national team. This was also a high-pressure job for the former Chelsea boss considering that he had to follow in the footsteps of Louis van Gaal, who was highly successful prior to him. The new Manchester United manager led the Dutch national team to a third-place finish at the World Cup 2014. Hiddinka��s reign this time round has started in an extraordinarily poor fashion.
The team suffered a 2-0 defeat against Italy in a friendly match. This was Hiddinka��s first match in charge of the team and it did not strike fear into the supporters since it was only a friendly encounter. However, a 2-1 defeat against Czech Republic in the opening Euro 2016 qualifying match has raised concerns about the team even at this early stage. Even though it was an away match, Netherlands were expected to comfortably overcome Czech Republic, who even failed to qualify for the World Cup 2014. Questions were raised to the manager after the defeat, but Hiddink refused to blame the 3-5-2 system that he has carried over from the previous regime.
Instead, he said that poor defending was responsible for this defeat. a�?In the final seconds of a match you should never ever lose. We were able to just walk out of here with a 1-1 draw. We gave it away so stupidly. When I talk about it now I get extremely angry again. After the first goal we reorganised our formation to 4-3-3 but at the end it was a really unlucky defeat for us. It is very difficult to consider your tactical formation if your defenders make such mistakes,a�? said Hiddink.
Luis Enrique has reinforced many areas of the team of Barcelona with Luis Suarez, Jeremy Mathieu, Claudio Bravo, Thomas Vermaelen being some of the more recognized and well known players that will be joining the Spanish team for the next season and all of the challenges that are waiting for them.
Barcelona had to spend around a�� 144 million in order to bring Vermaelen, Bravo, Suarez and Mathieu to Camp Nou which is a significantly higher amount of money compared to their eternal rivals Real Madrid but at least Luis Enrique has fortified many aspects of the squad in comparison to Madrid as they only upgraded their attacking options.
The majority of Barcelona supporters are happy and content with the signings that the club has made as it will surely increase the chances that the club has on not only fighting for the Spanish League but more importantly, the Champions League but the former player Barcelona Johan Cruyff is not so sure about all of the new arrivals and changes that the club is going through.
“Kroos was one of the best players at Bayern and at the World Cup. He sprays the ball around really well. James is also a terrific playmaker. Barca always used to sign lots of playmaker, but now Real have done so. Barca have gone in a new direction and we have to give them the benefit of the doubta��a��
“They’ve spent a lot of money, which always brings a lot of scrutiny, and we’ll have to see how it goes. I’ve been impressed by new Barcelona coach Luis Enrique’s enthusiasm to get down to work and give his all in his new role, though. I don’t know if the team won’t end up unbalanced. You’d have to be on the inside to know exactly what the situation is. Hopefully Luis Enrique will be able to bring him into line so he does what he’s there to doa��a��
That was the statement of Cruyff said as he praised Real Madrida��s signings but remains uncertain about Barcelonaa��s newest arrivals and whether or not they can all work and play together in the pitch at the same time.
Some years ago Barcelona was starting to promote and showcase their youth players and they still are indeed promoting and focusing on having a new generation of players in their squad but this has recently been taking a turn and this can be evidenced by the amount of players being signed as well as the large sum of money that has been spent.
Jose Mourinho is a coach that has made a number of controversial decisions and actions which is one of the reasons on why some players and coaches consider the Portuguese coach to be one of the best of his generation while others contemplate him as a negative coach who always blames his players when things go wrong.
The Dutch legend Johan Cruyff claims that Jose Mourinho only thinks about the result above everything and the star of Barcelona is even predicting that Mourinho will lose control of the Chelsea dressing room just as what happened in Spain with Real Madrid.
It’s always the same with him. When things are going well, it’s the result of his good work, but the players are to blame when things are going badly. He already lost the dressing room at Real Madrid because of that and I can see the same happen at Chelsea. “The problem is simply that Mourinho always focuses squarely on the result. Everything else is secondary, even all the top players he has running around for him.”Cruyff revealed.
Cruyff coached Barcelona during 1988-1996 where he managed to secure 11 trophies and his contributions for the Spanish club have not gone unnoticed as he was named as a honorary president of Barcelona in March of 2010 but a few months later Sandro Rossell stripped the Dutchman of that role and Cruyff cut all of his relations he had with Barcelona.
According to the new president of Barcelona FC, Josep Bartomeu he has been contacting Cruyff who he considers to be a very important player for the club.
“We have been in contact with people close to Cruyff. We will keep talking. He is a very important person for us and for this club. Little by little, things will return to normal.” Bartomeu said.
He also stated that his recent call ups with Cruyff are a way to reward him for all the work he has done for Barcelona. Barcelonaa��s infamous tiki-taka style of playing is generally credited to Johan Cruyff as it was during his time in charge of the Spanish club that it was starting being created and developed.
Newcastle United striker Loic Remy, who is on loan from QPR till the end of the season, has been a huge hit at St Jamesa��s Park. He has already scored 13 goals in just 24 matches for the club. It includes the winner against Aston Villa recently. It looked like the match was heading into a stalemate with both clubs unable to find the opening goal, but the Frenchman stepped up to score the only goal of the game in injury time to give Newcastle three vital points. After the match, Newcastle manager Alan Pardew gave the highest possible praise for the Frenchman by comparing him with Dutch legend Johan Cruyff.
He says that Cruyff had an ability to slow the game down for his benefit and Remy is one of the few players he has seen do the same. The Frenchman has already been attracting a lot of attention from other Premier league clubs in the last few months. Pardew has admitted that Newcastle face a huge fight in order to keep him at the club, while he has even said that he may go to extreme lengths in order to keep him at St Jamesa��s Park. The former West Ham manager says that Remy maybe dropped for the next match in order to prevent interest in him from growing.
“I think that’s fairly obvious. Somebody just said to me the game seemed a little bit slower when he was on the ball and I think when you get a quality player that’s what they can do. Players like Cruyff and Bergkamp, they can slow the game down and he can do that. He’s going to be hot property, he’s going to get a lot of press tomorrow and I’m going to leave him out the next 11(!)” said Pardew.