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Manchester City deny ‘offering’ Messi £430m long-term contract.


Messi said during an interview in December that he would not be deciding his future until June and will not engage in talks with any clubs until that decision is made

Manchester City have ‘emphatically’ denied making any offer to Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi, or even opening talks with the six-time Ballon d’Or winner amid claims that they have presented him with a contract worth a total of £430m.

Messi is out of contract at Barcelona at the end of the season. He is yet to make his mind up about his future and it would not be a surprise to see him leave Camp Nou as a free agent.


The 33-year-old wanted to quit the club last summer, only for Barça to block his attempts to trigger a clause in his contract what would have allowed him to leave a year early.

With his only option then to take the club to court, he chose to back down instead of force the issue.


There are very few viable options for Messi outside Barcelona, but City have been most heavily linked alongside Paris Saint-Germain. Joining City would mean reuniting with mentor Pep Guardiola, while the sky blues have spent the last 10 years building their own version of Barcelona off the pitch.

Man City are alleged to have offered Lionel Messi a long-term contract | David Ramos/Getty Images

PSG haven’t hidden their admiration for Messi and magazine France Football even mocked up an image of him wearing PSG colours for a recent cover spread.

But a tabloid story this week that City have put forward an offer is thought to be wide of the mark.


A report from The Sun alleged that City had presented Messi with a five-year contract worth £430m, including three further years of ambassadorial roles with the City Football Group. It is claimed that deal is down on a £600m contract Messi was supposedly offered last summer.

However, NoRM cites a City spokesperson who says there is no truth in the story: “There have been no offers made, either in the summer or since. And there are no talks.”

That version of events also ties into what has previously been reported on the developing saga.

Earlier this month it was revealed that City are taking the opposite approach to PSG and are being much more patient and distant than the noisy French champions.


City have been tipped to delay making any sort of approach until at least or April, which could command greater respect from Messi himself, with the player said to hate the media circus that surrounds his uncertain future and that PSG are helping to fuel.

Messi said during an interview in December that he would not be deciding his future until June and will not engage in talks with any clubs until that decision is made, even though he is now already eligible to do so with a view to signing a pre-contract agreement.



Mbappe speaks on his PSG future after defeat against Barcelona.


Real Madrid are targeting him, but Los Blancos would need to sell a number of players to raise the cash and may still have to finance some of any prospective deal with a loan.

Paris Saint-Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe insisted he is ‘happy’ with the French giants following his Champions League hat-trick against Barcelona on Tuesday night, but he also left his future wide open by suggesting one game won’t influence his decision to stay or go.

Mbappe will have only one year left on his PSG contract at the end of the season and intends to decide in summer whether he wants to sign a new deal or pursue a transfer. Real Madrid are heavily linked with the 22-year-old, while Liverpool are also never far away from the speculation.


“It’s very good, I’m happy, I’ve always wanted to give the best of myself with PSG. It’s a shirt that is close to my heart,” the player told French broadcaster RMC after his Camp Nou masterclass.

“It would be stupid to play your future on a game, good or bad. If we had lost, to say ‘I will not extend because we lost’, would have been ridiculous.

Kylian Mbappe scored a Champions League hat-trick at Camp Nou | David Ramos/Getty Images

“You have to let [speculation go]. I don’t listen to what people say. It’s a long-term reflection, not a game or two. I always said I was happy here, and with this kind of game I’m even happier.”


Speaking about the process last month, Mbappe explained: “We are in discussions with the club to try to find a suitable project. I said I was thinking about it because I think that…if I sign it would have to be a long-term commitment to Paris Saint-Germain.”

The 2018 World Cup winner reiterated then that he is happy with the club. Any decision he makes is not because he wants to leave PSG, but because he wants to test himself elsewhere.

“I will need to make a decision soon but I am thinking about it. If I had the answer right now, I would give it. I don’t want to sign a contract and say a year later that I want to leave. If I sign it is to stay and that deserves time to reflect on my decision,” he said.

It has been rumoured that PSG could sacrifice Mbappe if they are to pursue Lionel Messi. Real Madrid are targeting him, but Los Blancos would need to sell a number of players to raise the cash and may still have to finance some of any prospective deal with a loan.


Liverpool would also need to sell before they could think about an approach for Mbappe.

Jurgen Klopp has confirmed in the past he admires the player but was equally adamant that the kind of numbers involved could never work for the Premier League club.



Koeman reveals his ‘next line of action’ amid Barca’s defeat.


Koeman drew further anger from Barcelona fans when he was spotted briefly laughing and joking with PSG midfielder Idrissa Gueye, a player he previously managed at Everton.

Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman quickly dismissed suggestions he could quit his job in the wake of Tuesday night’s 4-1 Champions League defeat at Camp Nou against Paris Saint-Germain.

Koeman had earlier said he was confident about Barcelona’s chances in the Champions League this season, insisting he didn’t think there any other team significantly better than his own.


Instead, the Dutchman watched on as Barça were torn apart by PSG and Kylian Mbappe scored a hat-trick. It leaves the Catalans needing the kind of once in a generation miracle comeback they managed against PSG in 2017, but that looks far beyond this particular side.

Despite improved form in La Liga in recent weeks, Barcelona are still way off the pace in Spain. But the problems at the club are far bigger than just Koeman and he has no intention of walking away.

Ronald Koeman saw Barcelona embarrassed by PSG | David Ramos/Getty Images

“If I was someone who gets happy when we win and then after a result like today said I had no desire to continue, that would be crazy,” he is quoted as saying by ESPN.


“I know where I am and what we have to change. We’re trying. We’re not at the end of the path yet, we’re halfway down it,” the 1992 European Cup winner added.

Koeman was honest that his team is still lacking in key areas, having made a concerted effort to bring through young players and refresh the squad since last season’s 8-2 Champions League annihilation at the hands of Bayern Munich which cost predecessor Quique Setien his job.

“You always have to aspire to win everything, but we have to recognise that we’re short in certain areas,” the 57-year-old explained.

“I have said several times that we’re on the right path, but we lack things. [Sergino] Dest at 20, in four years will be better. Pedri, at his age is already brilliant, but in five years he will be better than any PSG midfielder.”


Koeman drew further anger from Barcelona fans when he was spotted briefly laughing and joking with PSG midfielder Idrissa Gueye, a player he previously managed at Everton.

Earlier this season, Koeman appeared to concede the title race in late December, which also didn’t sit well with fans as it gave the impression the club was giving up with half a season to play.



Barcelona block question claims most referees are Madrid fan.



Five consecutive wins have put Barca into second place in La Liga, ahead of Real

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique claims to have heard from a former referee that 85% of match officials in Spain have an affinity for Real Madrid and has suggested it would be impossible for them not to favour Los Blancos during games, even just subconsciously.

Pique, who has won La Liga eight times with Barcelona over the last 12 years, mused that if ever there is a 50/50 decision or a referee is unsure of something, that significant majority would be likely to give Real the benefit of any doubts.

“A former referee, I don’t remember who he was, said that 85% of the referees are fans of [Real] Madrid,” Pique said in an interview on YouTube channel Post United.


“It is a statistic you look at [and think], how can they not whistle in favour of Madrid? Unconsciously, but how are they not going to give more to one side than the other?

Gerard Pique has questioned how La Liga referees can be impartial | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

“I totally respect the professionalism of the referees. I know they try to do the best job possible, but when there is a moment of doubt…?”

Following a wretched start to the season, which at several points saw them fall into the bottom half of the table, Barcelona have rediscovered their form over the last six weeks.

Pique himself is injured but he has watched his teammates pick up 26 points from a possible 30 since the misery of losing to Cadiz almost two months ago.


Five consecutive wins have put Barca into second place in La Liga, ahead of Real, although Atletico Madrid have left both clubs in their wake this season and have opened up a 10-point lead.

It puts Diego Simeone’s side on course to win their first title since 2013/14 and it would be only the second time since 2004 that anyone other than Barca or Real has lifted the trophy.



Barcelona to sue El Mundo over claim Messi’s contract worth €555m.


Barcelona will take legal action against the Spanish newspaper El Mundo after it published details on Sunday of Lionel Messi’s current contract, which it says is worth up to 555 million euros ($674 million) over four years.


Barca responded by also insisting they were not responsible for the leak, although the club did not deny the details of the report.

El Mundo say the deal signed by Messi in 2017 is the “largest in the history of sport” and called it the “colossal contract that ruins Barcelona”.

The 33-year-old could end up collecting a maximum of 555,237,619 euros before it expires on June 30 this year, if all conditions were met.

With six months left of the deal to run, “the player has already earned 511,290,052 euros, almost 92 per cent of the possible total”, the report claims.


The leak comes as Barcelona are wrestling with a dire financial situation, worsened by the pandemic, and with Messi’s future still up in the air, given the striker can leave the club for free this summer.

“In view of the information published today in the newspaper El Mundo, in relation to the professional contract signed between FC Barcelona and the player Lionel Messi, the club regrets its publication given that it is a private document governed by the principle of confidentiality between the parties,” said Barcelona in a statement.


– ‘Absolute support’ –

“FC Barcelona categorically denies any responsibility for the publication of this document, and will take appropriate legal action against the newspaper El Mundo, for any damage that may be caused as a result of this publication.

Sky-high price: Lionel Messi’s salary is in the spotlight J. Bassa AFP/File

“FC Barcelona expresses its absolute support for Lionel Messi, especially in the face of any attempt to discredit his image, and to damage his relationship with the club where he has worked to become the best player in the world and in football history.”

According to the report, Messi earned 115 million euros just for signing the contract in 2017 and among his potential bonuses is a 3,548,644-euro reward for winning the Champions League and 2,365,766 euros for winning La Liga, El Mundo claims.


His club contract dwarfs those of the other top earners in global sport.

Patrick Mahomes, the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback, last year signed the biggest contract in North American sport, worth a minimum of 450 million dollars, but it is 10 years long.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s contract with Juventus is worth a reported 30 million euros a year, but bonuses may have taken it up to 70 million euros last season. Ronaldo also earns more from endorsements than Messi.

Messi is set to decide in the coming months whether he wants to stay at Barcelona or leave the club he joined as a 13-year-old and where he has become arguably the greatest player of all time.


Frustrated with Barca’s decline in recent years, the Argentinian also feels unfairly blamed for worsening performances on the pitch.

Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain are the favourites to sign Messi if he chooses to leave.



Lionel Messi eye-catching Barcelona contract ‘revealed’


News of Messi’s contract comes just days after the club revealed their 2019/20 financial report, which showed Barcelona are facing gross debts of £1bn.

Barcelona star Lionel Messi’s current contract will see him earn £492m by the time it expires next summer, making it the biggest deal in the history of sports.

Messi became the highest-paid footballer in the world when he penned the four-year deal with Barça back in November 2017, with club officials more than happy to pay up to prevent him from walking away for free in 2018.

Rumours in the infamous Football Leaks drama in 2018 shed some light on just how much Messi would earn from that contract, but El Mundo now claim to have a copy of the paperwork which reveals the true extent of Messi’s earnings.


It’s stated that Messi is guaranteed to take home £122m each season, but that’s not even the craziest part. There was a £102m bonus handed to the Argentine simply for signing the contract, on top of a £69m loyalty bonus he gets every season for staying at the club.

The deal also includes bonuses like more than £520,000 for winning FIFA’s The Best award, something he did in 2015 when it was known as World Player of the Year, and £3.1m if Barcelona reach the Champions League final.

With a total value of £492m, Messi’s contract is now understood to be the biggest in the history of sports, beating the £402m ten-year deal inked by Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and boxer Canelo Alvarez’s £292m five-fight deal with DAZN.

It’s prompted claims that Messi has ‘ruined’ Barcelona – something El Mundo go along with in their headline – but presidential candidate Victor Font has hit back at the idea that Messi has run the club into the ground.


“Leo Messi has earned every euro paid to him by Barca,” Font wrote on Twitter. “He has not ruined us. On the contrary. He is the best player in history and we want him to stay with us forever more.”

Instead, others have pointed to the combined £384.5m which was spent to sign Philippe Coutinho, Ousmane Dembele and Antoine Griezmann, none of whom have really justified their lofty price tags at Camp Nou.



Barcelona presidential election postponed amid COVID-19.


While a new date is yet to be scheduled, the club have announced that they will look into people being able to vote via post.

Barcelona’s presidential election has been postponed due to COVID-19, the club have confirmed.


The election was due to take place on 24 January, but the Catalonian government confirmed to club officials that exceptions would not be made to allow members of the club hierarchy to vote.

The delay means that the club will finish the January transfer window without a president, meaning any incomings are highly unlikely.

It also means that Lionel Messi’s future will continue to hang in the balance as he enters the final five months of his deal.


An official statement from the club read: “For its part, the club has understood the impossibility of holding elections on the scheduled date due to mobility restrictions decreed by the Catalan Government in the current context of the pandemic, which is why the date of the elections must be delayed.

Barcelona’s presidentail campaign has been postponed … Camp Mou (Noble Reporters Media, Olamide)

“In this sense, the club has asked the Catalan Government to evaluate the possibility of modifying the current sports legislation in order to enable voting by post on the new date of the elections, a request that the Government has undertaken to study.”

The election is down to the final three candidates with Joan Laporta, Victor Font and Toni Freixa looking to take over from Josep Bartomeu, who resigned in October 2020.

Laporta and Font are regarded as the favourites, with both promising to prioritise Messi’s contract.


Laporta was president of the club between 2003 and 2010 and was responsible for the club’s appointment of Pep Guardiola as manager. Font is keen to recreate something similar, making his relationship with legendary midfielder Xavi Hernandez clear as he has name-checked him as a potential future manager.

With Barcelona struggling on the pitch for most of 2020, fans are hopeful that a new president will begin a new chapter of success at the club.



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


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.


“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?


Bayern will deal with Messi, not just Barcelona – Flick


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.


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.”


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.”


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


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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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.


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.


‘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.


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.



‘Messi & Barcelona will always be united’ – Setien


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.


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.


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”.


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.”



‘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.


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.”


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.


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.”



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.


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)


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