Ex-Barcelona defender Andreu Fontàs (24) is having a great season at Celta de Vigo. The player has the full confidence of manager Luis Enrique and this has triggered a clause in Fontàs’ contract. Because Fontàs has played a pre-determined amount of games, his contract with the Galician club is automatically prolonged until 30 June 2016.
Midfielder Cesc Fàbregas (26) spoke to Catalan daily Mundo Deportivo. He gives a comprehensive view of his feelings about the season that has passed so far, his opinion of Messi’s recovery and of Tata Martino’s role as coach, and looks ahead to the final matches and possible rewards the end of the season holds for Barça. Read the translation of the full interview after the jump.
25th September 2010: That’s the last time FC Barcelona managed to win a game in the Basque Country (Euskadi). On that day FC Barcelona had a 1-3 victory over Athletic Bilbao thanks to goals from Xavi Hernández, Seydou Keita and Sergio Busquets. From then on, Barcelona are on a seven game streak without a victory. Three draws and four losses against the Basque clubs is a poor balance.
FC Barcelona has, as of today, 54.1 million Facebook likes. Five million of those likes come from Indonesia which makes it the country with the most Barcelona fans.
Indosat, the regional sponsor of Barça in Indonesia, has certainly helped the club to promote itself. The telecommunications company is one of the major partners together with Head & Shoulders in Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.
This Saturday, for the league game against Valencia CF, the first team players will be wearing the Chinese symbol for horse on their shirts. The horse is the symbol of the New Chinese Year which begins January 31.
The shirt will only be used for this special occasion and will be worn on a day where the kick-off time is 16:00 which is convenient for Asian Barcelona fans. The game will be broadcast live on Beijing TV for China, Fox Asia will be airing in Indonesia & India, RS Sports will cover the game in Thailand, and WOWOW in Japan.
Ex-Barcelona midfielder Seydou Keita (34) will join Valencia CF until the end of the season. Keita will sign his contract, that has an option for one extra year, with the Valencian club later this afternoon after he has passed his medical tests. The Mali international who played for Dalian Aerbin FC in the Super Liga China was part of the Sevilla squad in 2007-2008 before joining FC Barcelona for four seasons.
It’s seems like the game against Barcelona will come too early for Keita as he is not part of Valencia’s match squad for the game this Saturday.
Josep Bartomeu, the new president of FC Barcelona, was a guest this morning on the radio show El matí de Catalunya Radio. He explained, “[Barcelona doesn't] have an agreement with a goalkeeper to replace Víctor Valdés yet but we’re close.” He also talked about renewing Lionel Messi’s contract and giving him a pay rise saying that, “The negotiations will be as discreet as possible.” Read more after the jump.
Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribéry (30) admitted that he was still disappointed that he didn’t win the 2013 Ballon d’Or ahead of Liga stars Ronaldo and Messi. He told the media that, “Cristiano’s victory was mainly due to politics.” Read more after the jump.
Marc Bartra (22), FC Barcelona’s young defender, was interviewed on Barça TV’s El Marcador earlier today. He is gradually becoming a usual fixture in manager Gerardo Martino’s line-up. “Things are working out,” said the centre back. “I know that I have to continue working in order to take advantage of the opportunities the manager gives me.”
Read more after the jump.
MESSI SCORES A HATTRICK
13,200 fans at the mini
The open training was an absolute success
Leo scores three goals and gives one assist in the training match
Messi: I feel good and I’m very happy to be with my teammates again
Emotions and gifts at the hospital: A day with ill children. Tata Martino and his players spend a couple of hours to bring happiness
Hard start for 2014: Two months that demand a lot. It’s possible Barça has to play 15 games in January and February
Coming back to Barcelona is always a moment of happiness for Thiago Alcántara (22). Normally, the Alcántara family travels back to Brazil to celebrate Christmas but not this year. This year the Alcántaras are staying in Barcelona. Thiago just won the Club World Cup for the second time in his career and even managed to score in the final. His first milestone for FC Bayern Munich. The player shared his first moments at home with Catalan newspaper Sport as he was doing a workout organised by “5-hour ENERGY”, an energy drink. Read the translation of his interview after the jump.
Sergi Samper (18) is one of the brightest talents currently playing for FC Barcelona B. The Barcelona-born Samper has been playing for the Catalan club since he was only 6-years-old and was thus the perfect guest for “DNA Barça”, a show on Barça TV.
Talking about his first games with the B team, Samper said, “The years at Barça have taught me both the values of the club and those as a person.” He added, “I’m lucky that my family always is by my side and also that I am a real Culé. There is no better club than Barça.”
After the draw for the Round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League, Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini talked about the upcoming games against FC Barcelona. He said: “They have to be very concerned that they are playing against us. They are not the team they were two years ago.”
This is the first time in Manchester City’s history that the club has reached the knock out rounds of the Champions League. Pellegrini stated, “If you want to win something important you have to defeat the best teams.” Their most recent result against Bayern Munich “gave us a lot of confidence,” he added.
Ex-Barcelona striker Henrik Larsson (42) will coach Falkenberg FF next year when they will play in Allsvenskan, the highest division in Swedish football, for the first time in their club’s history. It will be the first time “Henke” coaches a club in Allsvenskan after he previously managed Landskrona BoIS in the second division.
The FC Barcelona Foundation and the Neymar Jr. Project Institute, a social project in Brazil promoted by Neymar, have signed a contract to promote sports as a tool for social integration among young people. The agreement will benefit all children who are part of the Institute as well as the kids present in all South American countries where the Barcelona Foundation is active.
FC Barcelona youngsters Marc Bartra (22) and Sergi Roberto (21) attended the Catalan Football Federation’s presentation of its annual exhibition of the Catalan National Team. The traditional winter friendly will be played against Cape Verde on Monday, December 30 at 7 pm local time. The game will be broadcast live on Catalan station TV3.
FC Barcelona have finished their final training session ahead of tomorrow’s La Liga game against Athletic Bilbao.
Captain Carles Puyol (35) did not train because of a knock on his knee. Defender Dani Alves (30) who rejoined the group earlier this week had to leave practice early after he felt discomfort in his right leg. Alves will not play against Athletic as a precaution. Winger Cristian Tello (22) is still recovering from his injury after he sprained the ligaments of his ankle during the international break.
Click the jump for some good news.
FC Barcelona had a training session this morning and Brazilian defenders Dani Alves (30) and Adriano (29) have rejoined their team mates. They both have recovered from respective injuries and while not given the medical green light officially, it is expected both will be available for the match against Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.
Jordi Alba (24) is still working individually, while young winger Adama (17) is again training with the first team.
FC Barcelona returned to training on Sunday after the 4-0 victory over Granada. The most positive news was that midfielder Xavi Hernández (33) has received the medical green light for the game against Ajax Amsterdam on Tuesday. Defender Adriano (29) does not make the squad after he sprained the ligaments in his left ankle. The length of his recovery is not yet known.
José Manuel Pinto (38) has played more than 60 games for FC Barcelona since he joined the club in 2008 to replace Jorquera as the second goalkeeper. Since that time, Pinto has always been the back-up for the currently injured Víctor Valdés (31) and when he was needed he has always done well: 53 goals conceded in 63 games.
Brazilian defender Adriano Correia (29) is experiencing his best season at the club. For the first time since arriving at the Camp Nou in the summer of 2010 he has managed to play 10 consecutive games, something that was unthinkable in previous campaigns when the defender struggled a lot with muscle injuries. In an interview with Catalan daily El Mundo Deportivo, Adriano confessed some of his secrets. Read everything after the jump.
This week FC Barcelona will put the FCBEscola Camp Avea into operation. The Turkey based football school is sponsored by the club’s official partner, Avea, a Turkish telecommunications company.
The school is located in Antalya and is home for around 100 children coming from all over Turkey. Most of the children come from orphanages or shelters as the school is part of Avea’s and FC Barcelona’s social programme.
FC Barcelona have released an official statement concerning Lionel Messi’s (26) injury.
Messi has a tear in his left femoral biceps and will be unable to play for six to eight weeks which means he will miss, at least, eight games: Four La Liga matches (Granada, Athletic Bilbao, Villarreal, Getafe), the final two Champions League games (Ajax, Celtic) and the Copa del Rey games against Cartagena (which he likely may have missed anyway).
Ahead of the fourth round in the UEFA Champions League group stage, FC Barcelona is the only team of its group that has performed consistently in the last couple of games in their domestic leagues. With an overwhelming balance of eleven wins, one tie and zero defeats (34 points out of a possible 36), manager Gerardo Martino is doing a great job in his first four months at the helm of FC Barcelona. The same can not be said about Barcelona’s rivals in group H of the Champions League, as Barça was the only team winning their game over the weekend.