A lot has happened for former FC Barcelona star Deco in the last 12 months. He retired from the game just a month before being charged with doping, leading people to think the two events were related. But Deco took the doping issue to the Court of Sport Arbitration (CAS), had his sampled retested and in May this year was cleared of all charges with CAS finding no metabolic steroids or markers in the sample. The lab in Rio was further suspended by CAS for sloppy testing procedures.
Tonight Deco will be honored in a testimonial match held at FC Porto’s Estádio do Dragão that sees “Barça 2006″ take on “Porto 2004″, the two sides Deco lifted the Champions League with. To boot, both José Mourinho and Frank Rijkaard will manage the sides.
The one major absentee is Ronaldinho, who was refused permission to attend the match by his club Atlético Miniero. But there are still the likes of Lionel Messi, Samuel Eto’o, Carles Puyol and of course Juliano Belletti. The game kicks off at 20:30 CET. Full squads below.
Disgraced former FC Barcelona president Sandro Rosell gave his testimony in the Neymar proceedings on July 22 and it must be said he did nothing to redeem himself. For the most part it appears his declarations added next to nothing to the case. Rosell continued to maintain that the transfer fee for Neymar was 57 million euros and explained the difference to the total 86 million of the entire “operation” in exactly the same manner the club did in January (10 million – pre-contract, 2.5 million – agent commissions, 4 million – publicity payments, 2.5 million – charitable amounts, 7.9 million – options on three Santos players and 2 million – legal costs for Neymar’s father’s company). The baffling part comes after the jump.
The Spanish news agency EFE reported today that the appeal concerning the ban handed to Luis Suárez by FIFA has been accepted by the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS). Sport’s highest legal authority, according to unnamed sources, will review the case in the second week of August and a decision is expected around August 12th.
If the ban is upheld in its entirety, which I believe based on knowledge concerning EU labor law is quite unlikely, then Suárez will return for the weekend of October 25 and 26, coincidentally (not) the weekend of the first league clásico.
Updates on the case to be reported when available.
Sitting alongside Luis Enrique, Andoni Zubizarreta spoke to the media this afternoon to give some insight into what’s happened and what is to come. Let’s begin with what everyone is most interested in: the mystical center-back. “Last year we had four very good center-backs and still wanted cover. But these are long processes and some of them weren’t 100% in our control. We are working on this need, that of a center-back. But it’s a need [for center-backs] that 80% to 90% of the top clubs also have. We are all working on finding one and if you noticed, there hasn’t been any big news save David Luiz’s move to PSG. We are in the process of acquiring certain targets and we hope to reach agreements with them.” Barça’s sporting director additionally confirmed that FC Barcelona have made an official offer for Valencia’s Jérémy Mathieu and the ball is now in their court.
Zubizarreta was coy on the details but was continually pushed with questions on the subject. He said if there isn’t success with primary targets, the club will “look for alternatives” and that there is always the possibility to “look down [Barça B] and not forget the quality of players we have.”
More future plans from Zubi below.
In some worrying news just announced through FC Barcelona’s channels, an irregular heartbeat was found during medical testing in Adriano Correia. That is all the information thus far, besides him being ruled out of action for a seemingly arbitrary number of four to six weeks.
Just the mention of this condition should ring alarm bells and the club must act as cautiously as necessary. Players diagnosed with heart conditions have returned to action, including Antonio Cassano and Nwankwo Kanu, but it can as easily go the way of say Rubén de la Red or worse.
We wish Adriano all the best and hopefully this will be nothing more than a scare. The highest degree of care must be taken in these situations as the football world knows all too well what can happen with heart issues.
A bunch of juicy stuff from Josep Maria Bartomeu that gives fans a sneak peek into their favorite game of fantasy. “At the very least we must replace Puyol. Two or three defenders are coming. The total number of signings to come isn’t certain but at least two for sure.” Barça’s president then talks Xavi Hernández, Lionel Messi, Ivan Rakitic, Luis Suárez and more.
“Luis acknowledged his mistake, but that’s not an important aspect to FIFA. They are violating his right to work, and football should be worried. He can’t watch a game of football, train or do his job, it’s disgraceful. We hope they revoke this draconian, totalitarian and in all regards fascist sanction.“
You just can’t have both Alexis Sánchez and Luis Suárez. I’m a little surprised to even be writing this because it’s really rather obvious, but given the cacophony of disbelief, here we go. It comes down to simple math in a way. Suárez is a top five world footballer, Sánchez is a top twenty or thirty. If that’s too simplistic, let’s get into it.
FC Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu, director of football Andoni Zubizarreta and technical staff members Carles Puyol will all be present at the Maracanã Sunday afternoon to lend their support to Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano.
Of course, Puyol will be additionally involved that afternoon with ceremonial handing over of the trophy.
Uruguay and former Liverpool star Luis Suárez has as been expected for some weeks now completed his transfer to FC Barcelona. The official announcement does not include a price, but based on credible reports last week, Suárez signs for Barça’s record purchase and Liverpool’s record sale. The Uruguayan will do his medical, sign a five year deal and be officially presented next week.
While certainly a polarizing figure, though much of it misplaced and misunderstood, Barça have just signed THE world’s elite striker, an impossibly brilliant footballer. Come the end of his ban and Neymar’s recovery, Luis Enrique will have the unprecedented ability to send out Lionel Messi, Neymar Junior and Luis Suárez as an attacking trident. Inarguably the most fearsome attack of all time.
Earlier this afternoon, FC Barcelona announced that both parties agreed to mutually rescind the contract that kept Isaac Cuenca bound to the club until June 2015. Just ten minutes ago, RC Deportivo La Coruña, once again in La Liga, announced via their Twitter account the arrival of Cuenca to the Galician club.
Who knows how it might have worked out without the injuries (in my opinion, I always maintained it would have been no different), but it is better now that Cuenca moves on and finds a place to play regular football and make his name.
We at totalBarça wish Cuenca all the luck in the world and hope that he stay injury free.
As scheduled, FC Barcelona medical personnel flew to Brazil to collaborate with the Brazilian federation’s doctors regarding Neymar Jr. The club medics are in total agreement with the injury diagnosis as well as the recovery plan. Neymar will return to Barcelona on August 5th, three weeks after pre-season training has officially started and continue his recovery in Spain.
Former FC Barcelona utility player Gabriel García, known as Gabri, has returned to the club as one of Eusebio Sacristán’s assistants at Barça B. Gabri came through the La Masia system with Carles Puyol and Xavi Hernández, making his first team debut in 1999 under Louis van Gaal. In that season the midfielder, but also able to play in defense, scored six goals in 30 appearances across all competitions.
Gabri’s career was besmirched with injury and eventually a major knee injury saw him lose momentum at the club. He left in 2006 to Ajax, where he remained until 2010, before spending time in Qatar with Umm-Salal Sports Club and in Switzerland with FC Lausanne. Gabri quickly transitioned from the field to the bench, retiring in 2011 and going straight to work in 2012 as the assistant manager to Sébastian Fournier at FC Sion.
Welcome back Gabri!
“My dream isn’t over. It was interrupted by a play but it continues. I’m certain that my team-mates will do everything possible so that my dream, which is to be a champion, comes true. My dream was also to play in a World Cup final but this time it didn’t work out. I am sure they will win this cup and be champions, and I will be with them, and all Brazilians will soon be celebrating all of that.
“It’s a very difficult moment, I have no words to translate what is going through my head and my heart, I’d just like to say I will be back as quickly as possible, when you least expect it, I’ll be back.”
Lionel Messi makes appearance 91 in the albiceleste strip tonight, equaling the total of the great El Diego Maradona. At only 27 years old, Messi has a good shot of catching Argentinian cap record holder Javier Zanetti’s incredible total of 145. Despite well documented trials and tribulations with his home nation, Messi has already netted for his country 46 times (almost exactly a goal every other game!), which is eight more than Maradona (though it’s not a fair direct comparison based on several factors).
But there’s only one statistic that truly matters when Leo is put up against Diego, which for now reads 1-0.
Not long before Germany finished Germanying France, reports from both sides of the divide (England and Spain) are claiming a deal has been made with Liverpool FC for the transfer of one Luis Suárez. Spanish football insiders Guillem Balague and Graham Hunter are amongst those reporting, with the latter stating that the amount is 79.2 million euros (which agrees quite closely to other sources) and he would sign a five year deal. Indications are that the only area of disagreement remaining is the structure of paying the fee. There is a general consensus that the deal should be made official before the weekend is up.
Well Josep Maria Bartomeu said there would be “profound” changes. He wasn’t lying.
The deal has been happening for some weeks and now it is official that former FC Barcelona B defender Sergi Gómez is a Celta Vigo player, signing on until June 2017.
In a twitter message he said thank you and goodbye to Barça. “Today I begin a new era of my life in Vigo. I take with me memories and all that has formed me as a person and professional. For that I want to thank FC Barcelona and everyone who makes it “more than a club”.”