Barcelona record signing Ousmane Dembele ruled out for four months

Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele will be out for up to four months with a hamstring injury.

The club’s record signing, who joined from Borussia Dortmund in a deal which could be worth £135.5m,hobbled off during Saturday’s win over Getafe.

A statement on the club’s websitesaid the 20-year-old France international had ruptured “his tendon in the femoral bicep in his left thigh”.

It added Dembele will have surgery in Finland this week.

“He is expected to be out for between three and a half months and four months,” said the statement.

Dembele was making his first league start for Barcelona and his third overall.


Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu may face vote of no confidence

Former Barcelona presidential candidate Agusti Benedito has launched a vote of no confidence against the club’s board and has called for the resignation of Josep Maria Bartomeu.

Benedito has stood for election as Barca president twice, in 2010 and 2015, losing out to Bartomeu more recently, and has requested the ballot papers needed from the club in order to begin the motion.

Bartomeu has been criticised over a number of issues during his tenure, including the settlement of a tax fraud case surrounding Neymar’s signing, the sale of the Brazilian to Paris Saint-Germain this summer and Barcelona’s struggles to secure the signing of Philippe Coutinho.

“Bartomeu should resign, he’s out of control. We’re facing a really important institutional crisis and we must act.”

“The crisis at Barcelona is social, institutional and economic,” Benedito said. “I believe that [the motion] is viable because Bartomeu has been out of control for weeks.”

Barcelona have responded to the application, saying the holding of such a vote would require an application of 15 per cent of the club’s members, meaning that Benedito needs the backing of 16,570 members in the next 14 working days for the motion to proceed.

If he succeeds, all members can vote on the motion which could see the removal of Bartomeu if two-thirds of those supporters back Benedito.

Marlon Santos joins Nice from Barcelona on a two-year loan deal

OGC Nice have announced the signing of young Brazilian defender Marlon Santos from FC Barcelona on a two-year loan deal.

OGC Nice coach Lucien Favre has been looking to compensate for the departure of former club captain Paul Baysse for Malaga, and in 21-year-old Marlon, who signed a two-year loan on Tuesday, the Swiss tactician has a very promising replacement indeed.

The young defender has represented Brazilian in the Olympics and U20 level.

He made 27 appearances last season for Barcelona reserve team, whom he helped to promotion to Spain’s second division.

He also made three senior-team appearances, including one in the Champions League.

Barcelona unveil their club-record and world’s second most expensive signing OUSMANE DEMBELE from Borussia Dortmund

Ousmane Dembele has become the most expensive player in Barcelona’s history after signing a five-year deal with the Catalan club on Monday.

The clubs announced agreement had been reached on a £97m deal on Sunday and Dembele completed his medical on Monday afternoon in the Catalan city.

There was a brief delay, with almost 20,000 fans waiting around for a couple of extra hours, before the 20-year-old appeared alongside Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu to put pen-to-paper on a five-year contract.

“I’m really pleased to form part of the Barca family,” Dembele said after signing a deal that could eventually earn the Bundesliga side nearly £135m.

“I have always wanted to play for Barca since I was a kid. I watched all their matches.

“I’m really happy to now be part of the best club in the world with the best players in the world.

“I hope to win lots of trophies and titles here. I’m hoping forward to a good year, a successful year and looking forward to playing here in this stadium.”

The forward’s transfer is the second highest of all time, just behind the £200m Paris Saint-Germain paid Barcelona for Neymar earlier this summer.

Dembele joined Borussia Dortmund for £13m from French side Rennes last summer and went on to score 10 goals in 50 appearances in his debut season at the Westfalenstadion.

He could make his Barcelona debut after the international break with Ernesto Valverde’s men facing city rivals Espanyol in their next La Liga game on September 9.

Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho remains a target and Barca hope the Premier League side will accept a fourth bid for the midfielder having seen three offers turned down so far.

Barcelona confirm club-record €105m signing of Borussia Dortmund forward Ousmane Dembele

Barcelona have reached an agreement to sign Borussia Dortmund forward Ousmane Dembele for a club-record fee.

The 20-year-old France international forward will undergo a medical on Monday and sign a five-year contract.

A statement on Barcelona’s official site reads:

“FC Barcelona and Borussia Dortmundhave reached an agreement for the transfer of Ousmane Dembélé for 105 million euros plus add-ons. The player will sign a five year contract and his buy out-clause is set at 400 million euros.

“Dembélé will arrive in Barcelona on Sunday and he will undergo a medical on Monday morning local time. Shortly, more details of the running order of the player’s presentation on Monday will be available.”

The fee is the second highest of all time, behind just the £200m PSG paid Barcelona for Neymar earlier this summer. Dembele will take Neymar’s number 11 jersey at the club.

Dembele joined Dortmund from French Ligue 1 club Rennes last summer. He scored six goals and contributed 13 assists in 32 Bundesliga matches during his first season at the Westfalenstadion.

Barcelona agree £128m deal with Borussia Dortmund for Ousmane Dembele

Barcelona have completed the signing of Borussia Dortmund’s star winger Ousmane Dembele, reports in France claim.

BeIN Sports AR claim that the Catalan giants have finally agreed a fee with BVB said to be around £110million.

Barca have been searching for a wide man to replace Brazil star Neymar, who left the Nou Camp for Paris Saint-Germain in a £198million deal earlier in the summer.

According to the report, they see 20-year-old Dembele as the ideal man to replace Neymar, and they have been trying to persuade the Bundesliga club to sell their star man all summer.

Dembele himself is allegedly desperate to complete a move to Barcelona and even went missing from the club two weeks ago in an apparent attempt to force a move.

It was believed that BVB would only allow Dembele to move to La Liga for the eye-watering sum of £128m.

However, it appears that the Blaugrana have managed to secure their man for a little less than that.

Neymar set to fight Barcelona compensation claim

Neymar is to fight a claim by Barcelona for compensation following his move to Paris St Germain and has also promised to battle his old club for part of his 2016 contract renewal premium which he claims has not be paid.

The Brazil forward left the Nou Camp this month for a world-record £200.6million, joining PSG in a move that more than doubled the previous highest fee.

The Spanish club said on Tuesday they were pursuing damages from Neymar for what they allege to be a “breach of contract”.

Neymar’s response is the latest move in an increasingly bitter war of words following his move to France.

Neymar and his lawyers released a joint statement, quoted in the Spanish media, which read:

“We inform everyone that Neymar and his lawyers are aware of the news released today regarding the legal actions filed by FC Barcelona before the courts of Barcelona.

“Following official notification and after full review of the club’s claim, the player’s formal defence will be filed in due course.

“Regarding the bonuses owed for the execution of the contract of 2016, it is also necessary to inform that the player has already initiated the formal procedures of collection before the competent courts.”

On Monday Neymar said Barcelona deserved “much more” than the current board of directors and added that it made him “very sad”.

On Tuesday, the Catalan club said they were chasing 8.5 million euros (£7.8million) in damages with a 10 per cent addition and, that if Neymar could not pay, PSG should.

The demand appears to relate to a payment made to Neymar when, in 2016, he renewed his contract with Barcelona through to 2021.

It was sent to the Spanish football federation on August 11 with a wish for it to be forwarded to the French federation and FIFA.

“Barcelona decided to take these actions in defence of their interests, after a unilateral termination of contract urged by Neymar Jr a few months after signing the renewal until the end of the year 2021,” a statement read.

PSG said in response the club were “surprised” by Barcelona’s statement.

The Ligue 1 side added in a statement:

“The club repeats that, along with Neymar Jr, it strictly respected all applicable laws and rules and can only regret, once again, the attitude of FC Barcelona.”

Despite his continuing troubles with Barcelona, life as a PSG player has started well for the 25-year-old, who scored on his debut and then added two more along with three assists in a stunning show against Toulouse on Sunday.

He has also clearly not fallen out with his old team-mates after posting a series of photos on Instagram featuring Gerard Pique, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez amongst others.

Barcelona’s twitter account hacked to ‘announce’ signing of Angel di Maria

Barcelona confirmed that their social media accounts were hacked after they had appeared to announce the signing of Angel Di Maria from Paris Saint-Germain.

“Welcome Angel Di Maria to FC Barcelona,” was posted on the club’s official Twitter and Facebook pages on Tuesday following reports in Diario Sport they are interested in signing the Argentina international.

It soon transpired it was a hack, though, when a group calling themselves OurMine claimed responsibility and encouraged people to get “#FCBHack” trending on Twitter.

The group have previously taken over the accounts of a number of companies, including Netflix, HBO and Playstation.

“Our accounts have been hacked,” the club confirmed.

“We’re working to solve the problem as soon as possible. Thanks for your patience.”

It is the second time the Catalan club’s social media channels have been hacked after activists claiming to be the Syrian Electronic Army managed to post a series of tweets in 2014.

Di Maria is one of the players linked with a move to Barca following Neymar’s €222 million transfer to Paris Saint-Germain earlier this month, although Borussia Dortmund’s Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho remain their two main targets.

Barcelona to sue Neymar for breach of contract

Barcelona are to sue former player Neymar for £7.8m over an alleged breach of contract in the wake of his £198m move to Paris Saint-Germain.

Having already said they would refuse to pay €26 million in bonus payments Neymar was due to receive this summer, Barcelona are now attempting to claim back money already paid to the player.

The Catalan club said on Tuesday they believe they are owed money that Neymar received as part of a renewal bonus when he signed a new contract last year, in addition to €8.5m in damages plus interest.

The amount of the renewal bonus the club are seeking was not immediately made public.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Barca said they had passed the complaint on to the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), having first filed the lawsuit in a Barcelona court on Aug. 11.

“FC Barcelona have sent a claim to be made against Neymar for breach of contract to the RFEF for it to be passed on to the French Football Federation [FFF] and FIFA,” the statement read.

“In the lawsuit, the club demands the player return the already paid sum for his contract renewal because he has not fulfilled his contract; €8.5m in damages; and an additional 10 percent in interest. The club also requests that PSG subsidise the amounts in the event that the player cannot take responsibility.”

Neymar put pen to paper on a new five-year deal at Camp Nou last October, and in addition to the bonus he was paid at the time, he was due to receive €26m more this summer.

However, after his world-record €222m transfer to PSG went through, Barcelona spokesman Josep Vives confirmed the club would not be making the payment because Neymar had not fulfilled his contractual duties.

“There were three conditions — one, that the player didn’t negotiate with another club before July 31; two, that he publicly expressed his decision to fulfil his contract; and three, the payment was to be made on Sept. 1 to ensure he didn’t go to another club,” Vives said.

“With these criteria not met, the club will not pay the renewal bonus. The money is no longer with a notary but back with the club.”

Neymar did not publicly say he was considering a move to PSG until Aug. 3, the day Barcelona terminated his contract and he signed with his new team.

Barcelona’s claim comes just days after Neymar blasted the club’s board.

“I do have something to say: that I am disappointed with them [the Barca directors],” Neymar said after PSG’s win over Toulouse on Sunday.

“I spent four years there and was very happy. I began happy, spent four years happy and left happy. But not with them. For me, they shouldn’t be in charge of Barca. Barca deserve much better, and everyone knows this.

“To see my former teammates unhappy makes me sad also, because I have many friends [there]. I hope that things get better for Barca. That they return to the team they were and become one that can compete with the others.”

Barcelona to pay tribute to terror attack victims by wearing special jerseys that feature the city name

The back of Barcelona’s shirts will feature the city rather than players’ names for Sunday’s game in homage to the victims of Thursday’s terrorist attack.

Thirteen people were killed and more than 100 injured when a driver in a white van mowed down pedestrians on La Rambla, a Barcelona boulevard popular with tourists and locals.

Barca announced hours after the attack that they would wear black armbands in Sunday’s La Liga opener against Real Betis, and on Friday revealed special shirts as well.

“Barcelona” will take the place of player’s names on the back of the shirts, with the hashtag #TotsSomBarcelona (“We’re all Barcelona”) on the chest next to the club crest.

Spain is holding three national days of mourning, while the weekend’s La Liga games will all feature a minute of silence before kickoff.

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said on the club’s website:

“We would like to show our solidarity with the victims and their families in these difficult times. We are here to help in any way we can.”

Club president Josep Maria Bartomeu and directors Pau Vilanova and Maria Teixidor were among thousands of people who attended a minute’s silence observed at 11 a.m. in the city’s Placa de Catalunya, near the scene of the attack.

Spain’s King Felipe VI and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy were also in attendance. Espanyol, also based in Barcelona, published photographs of their squad linking arms in a circle to pay their respects.

Real Madrid posted a picture of their first-team squad holding a minute’s silence at their training base, with Catalan club Girona, Granada, Levante and Real Mallorca showing similar images.

Former Barcelona and Manchester United goalkeeper Victor Valdes retires

Ex-Barcelona and Manchester United goalkeeper Victor Valdes has decided to retire from football, according to a report in El Mundo Deportivo.

Valdes, 35, had offers from Deportivo La Coruna, Real Betis and Las Palmas to continue to play after leaving Middlesbrough in the summer, but has opted to hang up his gloves and focus on his new TV production company.

Valdes’ agent Gines Carvajal would not confirm or deny the story when contacted by ESPN FC.

The former Spain international has set up Crazy4fun TV, which was launched on July 27, an international production company with bases in Barcelona, London and Abu Dhabi.

El Mundo Deportivo reports that Valdes will not only be behind the camera but is also expected to present a TV show that will feature former players that has already been sold to 12 countries.

Valdes left Middlesbrough in May after his one-year contract expired following the club’s relegation from the Premier League, making 28 appearances for the club.

Valdes was a huge figure in Barcelona’s success, playing 535 games and winning 21 titles, including six La Liga titles and three Champions League trophies in his 12 years at the club.

He left the Camp Nou at the end of the 2013-14 season and eventually signed for Manchester United in January 2015, but failed to impress at Old Trafford under Louis van Gaal and moved to Standard Liege on loan a year later.

As an understudy of Iker Casillas, Valdes made 20 appearances for Spain and was part of the squads that won the 2010 World Cup and the European Championship two years later.

Barcelona striker Luis Suarez out for one month; deals for Dembele and Coutinho ‘close’

Barcelona have suffered a blow on the eve of the new La Liga season after Luis Suarez was ruled out for a month with a knee injury.

Suarez was hurt during the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup against Real Madrid,which La Liga champions won 2-0 at the Bernabeu to clinch a 5-1 aggregate victory.

Suarez will definitely miss Barca’s league opener against Real Betis and further fixtures against Alaves and Espanyol, with the trip to Getafe on September 17 representing a potential opportunity to return to action.

A statement published on Barca’s website on Thursday afternoon said medical tests on Suarez had revealed damage to the back of his right knee.

Defender Gerard Pique, meanwhile, has injured an adductor muscle and could also miss Sunday’s meeting with Betis.

Reinforcements may be on their way, though, with Barca general manager Pep Segura on Wednesday claiming the signings of Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele, from Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund respectively, are “close”.

Spanish Super Cup Second leg – Asensio and Benzema strike as Real beat Barcelona to clinch Super Cup

Real Madrid 2-0 Barcelona (Agg 5-1)

Real Madrid produced a dominant display in the Spanish Super Cup second leg to beat Barcelona 2-0 on the night and lift the trophy after a 5-1 aggregate win.

Real Madrid were without their two most expensive players as Ronaldo began a five-game ban for pushing a referee and Bale was dropped to the bench to make way for 21-year-old Marco Asensio.

Marco Asensio, who also scored in the 3-1 first-leg win, gave them an early lead with an excellent 25-yard strike.

And Karim Benzema flicked up Marcelo’s cross and turned defender Samuel Umtiti to fire home a second with Barcelona rarely looking like coming back.

Real eased off in the second half, with the cup practically wrapped up, and Barca improved slightly as a result, with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez hitting the woodwork.

In less than two years in charge, Zinedine Zidane has led Real to two Champions Leagues, and the 2016-17 La Liga title.

Neymar completes £196m world record transfer to PSG

Paris St-Germain have signed Brazil forward Neymar for a world record fee of 222m euros (£200m) from Barcelona.

The 25-year-old Brazil forward, whose legal representatives on Thursday paid Barcelona the world-record fee to terminate the contract which tied him to the Catalan giants, has signed a five-year deal with the Ligue 1 club.

The deal smashes the previous record set when Paul Pogba returned to Manchester United from Juventus for £89m in August 2016.

PSG announced Neymar’s arrival on their website just hours after Barcelona acknowledged the receipt of 222 million euros (£200.6million), preceding the move’s confirmation with a video posted on Twitter that teased: “He’s coming.”

Neymar said he has joined “one of the most ambitious clubs in Europe”.

“Paris St-Germain’s ambition attracted me to the club, along with the passion and the energy this brings,” he added.

“I feel ready to take the challenge. From today, I will do everything I can to help my new team-mates.”

“I am extremely happy to join Paris Saint-Germain,” Neymar said in a statement after signing his contract.

“Since I arrived in Europe, the club has always been one of the most competitive and most ambitious.

And the biggest challenge, what most motivated me to join my new teammates is to help the club to conquer the titles that their fans want.

“Paris Saint-Germain’s ambition attracted me to the club, along with the passion and the energy this brings.

I played four seasons in Europe and I feel ready to take the challenge.

From today, I will do everything I can to help my new teammates, to open up new horizons for my club and to bring happiness to its millions of supporters around the world.”

“It is with immense joy and pride that we welcome Neymar Jr to Paris Saint-Germain,” PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi said. “Neymar Jr is today one of the very best players in world football. His winning mentality, strength of character and

Barcelona confirm payment of Neymar’s £198m release clause before PSG move

Barcelona have confirmed payment for Neymar’s £198m buyout clause has been received.

Neymar’s world-record transfer from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain had hit a stumbling block after La Liga refused to accept the release clause for the striker, but the Spanish giants have now confirmed Neymar is no longer contracted to the club.

A Barcelona statement read:

“On Thursday afternoon Neymar’s legal representatives visited in person the club’s offices and made the payment of 222 million euros in the player’s name with regards to the unilateral termination of the contract that united both parties.

“As such, the club will pass on to UEFA the details of the above operation so that they can determine the disciplinary responsibilities that may arise from this case.”

Former Barcelona president Joan Gaspart compares Neymar’s move to PSG to Luis Figo transfer to Real Madrid from Barcelona

Former Barcelona president Joan Gaspart has told Cadena SER he believes Neymar’s pending move to Paris Saint-Germain is comparable to Luis Figo’s departure to Real Madrid.

Figo was denounced as “a traitor” and “a money-grabber” when he crossed the Clasico divide in 2000 for a world-record fee, and had a pig’s head thrown at him on one return to Camp Nou.

Neymar’s move to PSG is unlikely to provoke the same levels of anger because it is not to Barca’s greatest rivals, but a backlash has began.

A poster calling him “a traitor” and “a mercenary” has been seen at various locations around Barcelona, while the club have already removed him from advertising.

“I’ve seen similar situations but Neymar is in the same boat as Figo, who was alone but now has Neymar for company,” Gaspart said.

“I’ve seen great players like [Diego] Maradona and Ronaldo, who were better than Neymar, also leave Barca because other clubs paid their clauses.

“But they went with dignity, without making so much fuss. I’ve not liked his [Neymar’s] attitude with the club, with the supporters and with his teammates.”

Gaspart also voiced disappointment that another former Barca president, Joan Laporta, had used Neymar’s departure to criticise Josep Maria Bartomeu and the current board.

“It hurts me that people I respect are using this to blame the club,” he added.

“Neymar’s the one to blame, full stop.

“It’s not Barca’s fault. It’s not the board’s fault. It’s not the players’ fault… they did everything for him to stay. It’s Neymar’s fault.”

On Wednesday, Barcelona said Neymar had missed training and informed them he wanted to go to PSG, releasing a statement which said the Ligue 1 club would have to pay his full €222 million release clause.

However, when the player’s legal team arrived at the La Liga offices to pay the clause on Thursday, they were turned away and the payment was refused.

La Liga president Javier Tebas said earlier this week that he would not accept the money, accusing PSG of “financial doping” and threatening to report them to UEFA and the European Union for breaching financial fair play (FFP) regulations.

Neymar agrees world-record £450m transfer from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain

Neymar has agreed a five-year deal with Paris Saint-Germain and is due in Paris within the next two days to finalise the most expensive transfer in world football history.

It is understood the total value of the deal is worth nearly £450m (€500m), which includes wages, bonuses and a buyout clause of £198m (€222m).

Neymar has been offered a basic salary of £26.8m-a-year (€30m) after tax, around £515,000-a-week.

That is more than current Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi, who signed a new deal worth a reported £500k per weekin July, and Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo’s £365,000 -a-week deal.

According to Forbes’ rich list,the Brazilian is currently the only footballer to earn more from his off-field endorsements than his playing contract at Barcelona.

Neymar’s sponsors include global brands such as Nike, Gillette, Panasonic and Beats by Dre and bring the 25-year-old in $22m (£16.6m) on top of his $15m (£11.3m) salary.

Barcelona confirmed the buyout clause will have to be “deposited in its entirety”.

Neymar is expected to join five Brazilian international teammates at PSG, including Dani Alves and Thiago Silva.

PSG has yet to confirm whether an agreement has been reached.

Barcelonal forward Lionel Messi bid farewell to Neymar ahead of world record transfer to PSG

Lionel Messi bid farewell to Neymar after Barcelona confirmed that the Brazil star has told the club of his desire to move to Paris Saint-Germain.

Barcelona confirmed today that Neymar had asked to leave the Catalan giants and he has already said his farewells to the squad, informing them of his decision to sign for Paris Saint-Germain.

Messi posted a message on his Instagram account, which read:

“Enormous pleasure to have shared all these years with you friend Neymar I wish you luck in this new stage of your life.”

The 25-year-old former Santos player has a contract with Barca until 2021 but PSG, deposed by Monaco as French champions last term, appear prepared to activate his release clause.

That would more than double the existing world-record fee of €105m, then worth £89m, that Manchester United paid Juventus for Paul Pogba last summer.

In his three seasons in Catalunya, Neymar has helped Barca win LaLiga twice, the Champions League once, the Copa del Rey on three occasions and the FIFA Club World Cup.

Barcelona grant Neymar permission to discuss with PSG ahead of world record move

Barcelona forward Neymar has been given permission to discuss a world record 222m euro (£198m) transfer with Paris St-Germain.

The Brazil international told his team-mates at training on Wednesday that he wanted to leave the Spanish club, and spent 40 minutes at Barcelona’s training ground.

He was then given permission by Barca manager Ernesto Valverde not to train and to “sort out his future”.

A Barca club statement read: “Neymar Jr, accompanied by his father and agent, has informed FC Barcelona this morning of his decision to leave the club in a meeting held at the club’s offices. “Faced with this position, the club has informed them they refer to the buy-out clause of his existing contract which as of 1 July totals 222million euros, which will have to be deposited in its entirety.

“Furthermore, in reply to the claim for the contract extension bonus, the club has once again made it clear that the amount remains deposited with a notary until the case is resolved. “The player remains under contract at FC Barcelona but with temporary permission to not take part in training sessions.”

The 25-year-old contract has a release clause set at 222m euros, which PSG are understood to be ready to pay.

The latest development comes two days after it emerged Barca were ready to push for a Financial Fair Play investigation if PSG signed Neymar.

That came after La Liga president Javier Tebas threatened, in an interview with Mundo Deportivo,a legal response against the former Ligue 1 champions if European football’s governing body failed to take action.

He also said PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi had been made aware of the Spanish league’s intentions.

Neymar flew back to Spain from Dubai on Tuesday following Barcelona’s pre-season tour in the United States, after attending a series of promotional events in China earlier this week.

One of Neymar’s agents, Wagner Ribeiro, has now arrived in Paris, according to his Twitter account.

A spokesperson for La Liga president Javier Tolbas told Sky Sports News they would not accept payment for Neymar’s €222m (£198m) release clause over “doubts that this money is in accordance with UEFA Financial Fair Play rules”.

However, UEFA sources have since confirmed that Neymar’s release clause cannot be blocked by La Liga.

Neymar moved to Barcelona from Brazilian club Santos in 2013 for £48.6m, and signed a new five-year deal with the 24-time Spanish champions in 2016.

The Brazilian has scored 105 goals for Barcelona, helping them to two league titles, three Copas del Rey and a Champions League crown.

Neymar agrees world-record deal to join PSG- tells teammates about his exit

Barcelona forward Neymar, 25, has told team-mates he is joining Paris St-Germain, with the French club pursuing a world record £196m transfer.
Neymar’s chances of leaving Barcelona this summer are “90%”, a source in Spain close to the player told Sky Sports News.

But Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde says stories linking Neymar with PSG are nothing but “rumours” and that they want him to stay.

 “This is a time of rumours, we understand that, but Neymar is with us and he is a player that we love a lot for his football and for what he brings to the dressing room,” he told press ahead of a friendly against Juventus. “I have not spoken with him about his future, we have talked about tactical questions. We count on him absolutely.”
Barcelona team-mate Javier Mascherano still thinks the La Liga side can count on Neymar, saying he is “the future of the club”.

Neymar met with Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu in New Jersey on Friday and reports suggest that after about 15 minutes the president left the room and didn’t speak to anyone. It’s expected the Brazilian forward told him of his intentions to leave, with the club asking him for time to address the situation.

Barcelona formalize the re-signing of Gerard Deulofeu from Everton

Gerard Deulofeu has officially completed his move back to Spanish giants Barcelona from Everton.

The 23-year-old forward passed a medical on Friday morning before signing a two-year contract tying him to the Spanish giants until June 30, 2019.

Barca last month activated the buy-back clause in Deulofeu’s contract with Everton to bring him back to the Nou Camp, where he came up through the youth ranks before moving to England in a permanent deal in 2015.

It has reportedly cost Barca £10.5million to re-sign the Spain Under-21 captain, who spent last season on loan at AC Milan.

Barca said on their website: “Deulofeu formalises return to Barcelona. The 23-year-old forward was at the club’s offices on Friday morning to sign the deal that brings him back to the team after four seasons with Everton, Sevilla, and AC Milan.

“Before heading to the club’s offices to sign the deal along with club president Josep Maria Bartomeu, Deulofeu underwent a pre-season physical at the team’s training centre with the rest of Barca’s internationals.”

Deulofeu spent 10 seasons in Barca’s youth academy before joining Everton on loan in 2013. He spent the following season on loan with Sevilla before returning to Everton in a permanent deal for £4.3m in 2015.

Lionel Messi agree new mouth watering contract extension at Barcelona

Five-times Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi has signed a new deal to keep him at Barcelona until the summer of 2021, and pumping his weekly wage up to an eye-watering £500,000. 

The Argentina superstar was contracted to the La Liga giants until 2018, but his extension by a further three years will keep the 30-year-old at the club for the foreseeable future and ends speculation he could be lured away from the Nou Camp.

In an astonishing career at the club, Messi, who recently turned 30, has won the La Liga title eight times, the Champions League on four occasions and collected a total of 29 trophies during his time at the club.
Yearly salary: £26.4m

Weekly wage: £500,000
Buy-out clause: £264m 

The club say the deal will be signed in the coming weeks as Messi returns for pre-season training.
“‘The club is very happy with both the renewal and the commitment of Messi, the best player in history, who has played his full professional career at Barca and has led the team to an era of extraordinary success, the likes of which has never been seen in world football,” said Barca in a statement.
Messi is Barcelona’s record scorer with 507 goals in 583 matches, and is also the leading scorer in La Liga history with 349 goals.
He netted 54 times in 52 appearances the season just elapsed.
The buy-out clause in Messi’s new deal has reportedly been set at €265million, some fee despite the Argentine’s advancing years.

Messi, who turned 30 last month, has spent his entire senior career with Barcelona and made his debut in 2004.
​“FC Barcelona and Leo Messi have agreed on a contract renewal that will keep the Argentinian at the club until June 30th, 2021.

“The deal will be signed in the coming weeks, when Messi returns to the team for pre-season training.

“The club is very happy with both the renewal and the commitment of Messi, the best player in history, who has played his full professional career at Barca and has led the team to an era of extraordinary success, the likes of which has never been seen in world football.

“Leo Messi has since gone on to break just about every record and has become the greatest player in the world.

“Now, at 30 years of age, Messi has completed 13 seasons with the first team and, with his new deal, will remain for a further four.

“But Leo Messi will not stop there – the Argentinian is in one of the best moments of his career and still has a lot more left to give, which is music to the ears of all Barca fans who will get to continue marvelling at his greatness for at least another four years.”

Neymar was too shy to speak to Messi when he joined Barcelona

Neymar has said that he was too shy to speak to Lionel Messi after arriving at Barcelona in 2013.

“I came into the dressing room, looked to one side and there was Messi, I looked the other and there was Xavi [Hernandez], [Andres] Iniesta, [Gerard] Pique, Dani Alves … I thought I was inside a video game,” Neymar said.

“One day I was playing with them on the console and the next I was there alongside them. The first month was the most complicated. I was ashamed to speak to Messi, [he and the others] were idols for me. I was the new arrival and the youngest more or less.”

I love AC Milan and FC Barcelona- Kobe Bryant 

When it comes to being a soccer fan, former NBA great Kobe Bryant says he has divided loyalties between Barcelona and AC Milan.

Bryant, a legendary basketball player for the LA Lakers who retired last year, says he still supports AC Milan — a result of having lived in Italy for seven years as a kid while his father, Joe Bryant, played professionally there.

But in recent years, he has also embraced Barcelona due to his friendships with former Blaugrana star Ronaldinho, and current icon Lionel Messi.

Speaking exclusively to ESPN FC via telephone while doing promotional work for the sports drink, BODYARMOR, Bryant said: “I still love AC Milan — though they don’t wear my brand of choice — and FC Barcelona. If you cut my arm open, man, you’d see four colors; blue and [garnet], and then you’d see red and black.”

At international level, there is no such conflict. Bryant says he supports the United States all the way, and is looking forward to the start of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, which starts in just over a week.
“It’s always exciting if you’re going to get a U.S. vs. Mexico matchup,” he said. “But I’m looking forward to it.

“The more we can have the best players in the world come here and play, and show their skills here in America, the more the game picks up, the more the understanding of the game picks up.”

Jeremy Mathieu near exit as Barcelona grant defender  permission to train with Sporting Lisbon

Barcelona have given defender Jeremy Mathieu permission to train with Sporting Lisbon ahead of a prospective transfer to the Portuguese club.

Mathieu, 33, has a year to run on his contract but sources have told ESPN FC the Catalan club would be prepared to let him leave for free this summer.

“FC Barcelona has granted permission for defender Jeremy Mathieu to train on a trial basis during his holidays with Sporting Club de Portugal,” a statement on the club’s official website said.

“Once this period is over, the two clubs and the Frenchman will make a decision on the player’s future.”

Mathieu joined Barca from Valencia in 2014 for €20 million and has made 91 appearances for the club.

However, his career has been blighted by injuries in the last 18 months.

He made just 16 appearances in all competitions last season and those injury problems, coupled with Samuel Umtiti’s impressive first season at the club and the signing of Marlon Santos, mean coach Ernesto Valverde is happy to let him leave.

Barcelona set re-sign Gerard Deulofeu from Everton

Barcelona have announced that they will re-signing Gerard Deulofeu from Everton on a two-year deal for 12 million Euros.

The Catalan side have activated a buy-back clause for the Spanish winger who signed for Everton on a permanent basis in July 2015.

Deulofeu fell down the pecking at Goodison Park following the signing of Yannick Bolasie from Crystal Palace and spent the second half of last season on loan with AC Milan.

The 23-year-old, who is a product Barca’s famed La Masia academy, is currently on international duty with Spain U21 and is expected to start Friday night’s European  Championship final  against Germany in Poland.
A statement from Barcelona said: “FC Barcelona have activated the buy-back clause for Gerard Deulofeu. In the following days, the terms will be agreed with both Everton and the player. Deulofeu’s contract will run until 30 June 2019.”

Barcelona’s Neymar top World’s Highest-Paid Under 25 athletes 

​Barcelona star Neymar is the highest-earning athlete in the world under 25, according to a study by Forbes.

Neymar, who is not 26 until next February, earns $37 million a year, ahead of golfer Jordan Spieth ($34.5m) and NBA duo Kyrie Irving ($29.9m) and Anthony Davis ($28.1m).

The Brazil international signed a new five-year deal with Barca last summer, worth $15m-a-year, but the report states he earns far more money away from the pitch thanks to his wide range of sponsorship agreements.

“The Brazilian wunderkind is the highest-paid of the 25 and under set,” Forbes said after naming the 100 highest-paid athletes in the world.

“The superstar’s current contract ties him to Barcelona until 2021. He is the only [football] player to earn more off the pitch than on it, including from sponsors Nike, Gillette, Panasonic and Beats by Dre.”
However, Neymar is only 18th on the overall list, which is headed by Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo, who boasts annual earning of $93m taking into account his salary and the money he receives from endorsements.

Basketball player Lebron James ($86.2m) is second on the list, followed by Barca’s Lionel Messi ($80m), with Neymar the next footballer to appear on the list after his club teammate.

Earlier this year, Neymar was the only football player to be named in Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people on the planet.

Lionel Messi to avoid 21-month jail sentence

Prosecutors in Spain say they are happy for Lionel Messi’s 21-month prison sentence for tax fraud to be replaced with a fine, a spokeswoman confirmed on Friday.

They said they are not opposed to the Barcelona star being fined €400 per day — a total fine of around €255,500 — for the duration of the sentence, an option also put forward by the player’s defence team.
Messi’s father, whose sentence was reduced to 15 months upon appeal, could also see the original punishment exchanged for a fine of around €180,000.

In line with what has been proposed by the prosecutors, a judge will now make the final decision.

Former Barcelona assistant coach Juan Carlos Unzue returns to Balaidos as Celta vigo coach 

​Juan Carlos Unzue has returned to Celta Vigo to succeed Eduardo Berizzo as boss, further narrowing the field of candidates for the vacancy at Barcelona.

Berizzo, who is expected to take over at Sevilla following Jorge Sampaoli’s imminent departure for Argentina, left Celta at the end of a season in which the Galicians reached the semi-finals of the Europa League and finished 13th in La Liga.

Unzue – the assistant to Luis Enrique at Barca until the pair left the Nou Camp this weekend – has signed a two-year deal at Balaidos, Celta announced on their official website on Sunday.

The 50-year-old former goalkeeper had been touted as a long-term successor to Enrique in Catalonia, but his appointment as Celta head coach would appear to leave Ernesto Valverde in the clear to take charge of Barca.

The Copa del Rey winners will announce their new manager on Monday and Valverde, who left Athletic Bilbao last week, is the front-runner with the likes of Sampaoli and Diego Simeone recently ruling themselves out of contention.

Ronald Koeman, Laurent Blanc and Arsene Wenger have also been linked.

Copa del Rey Final – Luis Enrique  sign off in style as Messi, Neymar and Paco Alcacer goals help clinch Copa del Rey title

Barcelona  31 Alaves

Luis Enrique ended his tenure as Barcelona manager in style with a 3-1 Copa del Rey final victory over Alaves at the Vicente Calderon on Saturday.

Lionel Messi opened the scoring with a sumptuous finish on the half hour, only to be usurped by Theo Hernandez, whose exquisite free-kick hauled Alaves level three minutes later.

But two quick-fire goals on the stroke of half-time from Neymar, in contentious circumstances, and Paco Alcacer turned the game firmly in Barcelona’s favour.

Enrique is leaving after three years in charge at the Nou Camp.

Messi, who struck the opener after exchanging passes with Neymar outside the penalty area, became the first player to score in four Copa finals (2017, 2015, 2012 and 2009) since Athletic Bilbao’s Telmo Zarra in 1950.

Neymar, who forced in Barcelona’s second when Messi played in Andre Gomes to cross low from the right, is the first man to score in three successive Copa finals since Ferenc Puskas, who achieved the feat with Real Madrid between 1960 and 1962.

The one major worry for Barcelona was a nasty head injury to Javier Mascherano, who was carried off on a stretcher after an early collision with Marcos Llorente,

He suffered concussion as well as a cut to his head, and an injury to his right knee that will need further tests, the club said afterwards.