Daniel Alves pushed to return to Barcelona last month
Juventus fullback Daniel Alves pushed to return to Barcelona last month, it has been revealed. According to El Mundo Deportivo, the 33-year-old defender contacted Barcelona directors during January transfer window about a return when learning they were concerned about their fullback options. Having only made the move last summer, Alves has struggled to settle in Turin and has battled with injury. The La Liga side chiefs thanked Alves for his offer, but assured him he was not needed and that it was best for both parties to continue their separate paths. This revelation came just a day after Alves took aim at Barca's board over the way his departure was handled.
Atletico Madrid vs Barcelona. PREVIEW
Spanish La Liga, week 24 February 26, 16:15 CET Venue: Vicente Calderon, Madrid, Spain Referee: Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz Overview on Forms Atletico Madrid → W_W_W_D_W Atletico are on a 10-match undefeated run in Spanish La Liga. Last time they lost a clash in any of the competitions was the Copa del Rey semifinal game against Barcelona themselves (1-2). Not only they show results, they also how a pretty attacking football recently. It is enough to mention that in three last clashes in all competitions the Madrid side scored at least three goals, also showing impressive away game against Bayern Leverkusen within the boundaries of Champions League round of 16 first-leg (2-4). Barcelona → W_L_W_D_W Barcelona, in turn, are undefeated in their last 16 La Liga clashes. Last time they lost in La Liga was back in October. However, those who are following Barcelona in all the competitions, would have noticed that Luis Enrique’s side do not show the game they used to show. Alongside with the horrible game collapse in Champions League game at Parc des Princes (PSG 4-0 Barcelona), Barcelona won their last La Liga clash against Leganes only due to luck in the face of last-minute penalty. Many believe that Barcelona’s lack of ball possession in the recent matches give high chance to Atletico Madrid ahead to the clash at Vicente Calderon. Head to Head Atletico Madrid and Barcelona have met three times during the season 2016/2017. First time they met in September at Camp Nou, where the teams did not reveal the stronger one (1-1). What is more important however, is the fact that these teams played a two-game tie within the boundaries of Copa del Rey semifinals. These games can be a good indicator for the current forms for the teams, as the clashes were played in the beginning of February. Barcelona was obviously dominating the first clash in Madrid (1-2), however failed to win at home (1-1). Important to note that Atletico Madrid’s home clash statistics against Barcelona are worse than that of the away games. The Madrid side lost four out of last five last Barcelona clashes at home, though the only one won was the game which led Atletico Madrid to the Champions League final of season 2015/16. Missing Players Both of the teams lack defensive forces ahead of the Sunday clash. Juanfran is still sidelined for Atletico due to injury, while Diego Godin is doubtful for the clash. A severe injury in ankle fracture injury picked up in Alaves clash (0-6) keeps Aleix Vidal off the squad. The full list of sidelined players is presented below: Atletico Madrid → Tiago, Juanfran, Obrak, Fernandez (all injured) Barcelona → Turan, Mascherano, Vidal (all injured) Probable Lineups
Negotiations over Messi’s new contract have stalled
Negotiations over Lionel Messi’s new contract at Barcelona have stalled, reports AS. Barca’s star player is out of contract in the summer of 2018 and the Camp Nou giants are no closer to tying him down to a new deal. The forward’s father Jorge Messi, who also acts as his representative, recently spent time in Spain but he has returned to Argentina, having not advanced contract renewal talks with Barca. Messi has made 34 appearances during this season, scoring the same number of goals.
Barcelona line up two defenders to replace the injured Vidal
According to Sport, Barcelona have lined up two fullbacks to replace the injured Aleix Vidal. The 27-year-old defender will miss the rest of the season after suffering a serious ankle injury against Alaves earlier this month and the La Liga side have already lined up two potential replacements. Barca have already contacted Malaga’s Roberto Rosales and Deportivo La Coruna’s Juanfran. Rosales’ buy-out clause is set at €6m, while Juanfran’s is set at €8m. Barcelona are expected to make a decision at the end of the week, and they are aware that they would be able to sell either player at the end of the season as both full-backs have suitors ahead of the summer transfer window.
Barcelona players back Luis Enrique
Barcelona defender Gerard Pique says the club’s players are behind under-pressure coach Luis Enrique. Barca’s 4-0 defeat at PSG last week prompted heavy speculation over Enrique’s future at the Camp Nou, with several reports suggesting the La Liga champions will look to replace the Spaniard at the end of the season. Pique has backed his boss, who led Barca to a domestic and European treble in 2014/15, and says the squad are behind him. "With Luis Enrique we came from the worst place and we won the treble,” he is quoted as saying in Sport. “I know football has no memory but I'd like us to look back and see all the work he has done with us. I don't understand how people have such short memories. Beyond that, everything he achieved as a player too. "We are with the coach to the death. Together we will all try to move forward."
Dani Alves opens up reasons of his Barcelona departure
Juventus right-back Daniel Alves has spoken to the Spanish newspaper ABC, revealing some shocking details of his Barcelona career and the reasons of leaving the club. "I like it when people love me. If they don't want me to be with them, I am leaving. It was a big lesson for me when I left Barcelona as a free agent. During my last year at the club I was just hearing that "Alves is going to leave". However, the directors didn't talk to me. They were wrong and disrespectful to me. They didn't respect me at all. They offered me a new contract only after FIFA transfer ban was imposed. It was then when I signed that new deal. Barcelona's current leaders don't understand how to treat their players," Alves said.
Iniesta reaches 400 game mark in La Liga
Barcelona earned a hard-fought victory against Leganes in the 23rd round match in La Liga. Barcelona captain Andres Iniesta, by his side, reached a notable mark in the Spanish league as he played his 400th game. The 32-year-old midfielder made his professional debut in La Liga for Barcelona in 2002. Since then, Iniesta spent 15 seasons at Barcelona and played 288 games as a starter, 191 of which he finished without a substitution. In his 400 La Liga matches, Iniesta helped Barcelona to earn 280 victories, draw 74 matches and only for 45 occasions they lost. To recall, Iniesta current contract with Barcelona expires in June, 2018, but the club is ready to offer a new deal to the playmaker.
David Villa sent off after VAR call
New-York City striker David Villa has been sent off the pitch during the game against Houston Dynamo. In the ending of the game, the Spanish forward was shown a red card after kicking the opponent with his arm. The referee showed him a yellow card first, but then he watched the replay after Video Assistant Referee call and decided to dismiss Villa.
Manchester City ready to bid for Messi
Manchester City are preparing a £100 million offer to lure Barcelona star Lionel Messi to the Etihad in the coming summer, according to the Daily Mirror. They claim City will aim to take advantage of Messi's contract situation at Barca, where he has less than 18 months remaining on his current deal. The Premier League side will reportedly offer the Argentine £500,000-a-week to bring him to England. This will see him earning €31 m annually, 11 millions more than he earns at Barcelona currently. Pep Guardiola will try to convince the Argentine star himself, as the pair has a good relationship since the time of working together in Barcelona.
Jurgen Klopp on Barcelona radar
Barcelona have put Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp near the top of their wish list to replace Luis Enrique, reports the Mirror. Enrique is under pressure following Barcelona’s 4-0 humbling to Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League. Klopp, as well as Merseyside rival and former Barca defender Ronald Koeman, are two potential options to replace the Spaniard should he leave at the end of the season. Luis Enrique's possible replacements' list also includes Sevilla boss Jorge Sampaoli who is considered as one of the best managers in the world at the moment. However, the Chilean has spoken to the media and said that he doesn't intend to join the Catalan side.