Those who had been visualising Lionel Messi in the Sky Blues’ shirts will have to come out of their dreams as there have been signs dropped by the family of the Argentina international that he is likely to go ahead with his Barca career only.
It is understood that Messi’s dad has conveyed to some of his acquaintances in the Spanish media that he has been in touch with the chairman of Barca himself and has already had discussions with him over the various aspects of the new contract.
But, the thing is that he is presently out of the country and there are only so many points that can be discussed through a telephone call. So, it’s just a matter of him arriving back home and having a face to face conversation with the chairman before there is an official announcement of the extension.
Barcelona has nobody, but, its own officials to blame for fuelling different kinds of rumours about Messi because it’s only them who, through their statements, had been hinting that the club couldn’t just give the striker whatever he was going to demand. Continue reading Lionel Messi to miss International Football
Barcelona and Atletico Madrid will be once again facing each other this campaign. This time, the meeting will be in the Champions League quarter-finals. Unlike in the past few seasons, this is a totally different Atletico Madrid team. It is one that has been perfected by the club’s former player Diego Simeone. They are challenging for Barcelona for the league title. Many expected their challenge to falter in the first half of the season, but they have managed to keep going up until now.
All the meetings between the two teams this campaign have been very closely fought encounters and Barcelona do not expect this to deviate when Atletico Madrid visit the Camp Nou on Tuesday night. Midfielder Xavi says that he certainly does not like playing against Atletico since they do not provide any space or time on the ball. He also thinks that both teams will have enough opportunities to win the match and it will just be decided on who is more clinical.
Atletico Madrid currently lead the la Liga table with a slender one-point advantage over Barcelona. The two clubs will be meeting each other in the league in the final day of the campaign, which could potentially decide the title. The two have not managed comfortable victories over each other this campaign.
“We’re second in the league now but we know we’re up against a very strong team. Atletico Madrid are in brilliant form at the moment. Maybe the only handicap we face is that we play the return leg at the Vicente Calderon, but I think the tie is 50-50. Perhaps we’re slight favourites because of our history. But if we look at how both teams are playing, it’s very even. It’ll be decided by the details,” said Xavi, who has been linked with a move to the MLS in the summer.
Barcelona defender Carlos Puyol is unlikely to be included in the squad for the World Cup 2014 in a move that could end the international career of the 34-year-old. This was confirmed by Spain’s assistant coach Toni Grande.
Puyol is regarded as one of the greatest players for the Spanish national team in the last few decades. He has been an inspirational part of the team during the success they have had since 2008. World Cup 2014 was largely seen as the final tournament for the defender, but it seems that he has seen the last of a major tournament. Continue reading PUYOL WON’T GET IN
Regarded as one of the best managers in the world, Arrigo Sacchi has won every major title to date. He has said that it will be very difficult for the replacement of Pep Guardiola at the camp Nou, Tito Villanova to match the achievements of his predecessor. Guardiola had one of the most successful spells as the Barcelona manager after he led them to an unprecedented 16 titles in just four seasons including numerous Champions League and la Liga titles. It has put Guardiola alongside the likes of Arrigo Sacchi, and it is something that his successor will not be able to achieve according to the Italian.
The 66-year-old, though, has said that he is confident that Tito Villanova will be successful, but whether he can be as successful as Guardiola remains to be seen. Tito Villanova has been promoted from his role as the assistant manager at the club. He has started the life as the Barcelona manager with two wins out of the two matches. This coupled with the poor form shown by Real Madrid has meant that Barcelona already have a five point advantage at the top of the table, which will be a significant advantage according to Arrigo Sacchi.
“I like Tito Vilanova, but, I think it will be difficult for him to repeat what Pep did. Going after a coach like Guardiola is very complicated. I hope things go well for him at Milan. For both his sake and the team’s. He started as one of the most promising young players, but then he lost his way a little. Hopefully he can get his career back on track with the Rossoneri. At Barcelona, after failing to adapt, he was moved on to Roma. I have confidence in him and think that at Milan he can succeed,” said the Italian.
Pep Guardiola has leapt to the defence of Barca’s right back, Dani Alves after the Brazilian was sent off if Guardiola’s final league match as Barca boss. Alves was sent off for a second half foul on Jefferson Montero and has been roundly criticised since, but Guardiola has defended him, declaring that he is and “irreplaceable player”.
Barca struggled after Alves’ sending off and it took a last minute goal from Seydou Keita to snatch an equaliser for last season’s champions.
Guardiola took the time in his last league post match press conference to hail the Brazilian and stifle any talk of a transfer away from the Nou Camp.
“Alves exit rumours? It’s not up to me anymore, but for me he is irreplaceable.”
AC Milan are amongst a host of clubs keen to take advantage if Alves does become available this summer but it is clear that if it were Guardiola’s decision Alves would be staying precisely where he is.
Guardiola accepted that it was a foolish mistake and a side of his game which Alves must work upon in the future but he emphasised that the player’s class at the top level made him well worth sticking by. He was keen to press the point that Barca would be hard pressed to find a replacement for Alves should he leave, and realistically that has got to be the basis for deciding if a player stays or goes.
Guardiola finished his La Liga press conference dismissing talk that the division would be a worse one without him. “La Liga existed before me and will exist after me, and I have no idea(what I will do), I cannt answer that now”.
Guardiola and Barca will part permanently on May 25 when they take on Athletic Bilbao in the Copa Del Rey Final. They will be hoping to go out on a high and add one more trophy to the impressive collection they have achieved together.