Ever since the 3-0 win against Eibar where Lionel Messi showed his evergreen class on the field, there’s been talks around the Argentine refusing Luis Enrique’s orders to be subbed off. No matter how many times the coach has denied this story and that these stories are only mind games from the Madrid media ahead of Saturday’s clásico, it didn’t stop many football figures from criticising Leo. However, Tuesday’s Champions League encounter against Ajax proved that the coach was right after the four-time Ballon d’Or winner was subbed off after 65 minutes into the game. Messi made it even more clear after the match when he said, “Lots of things have been said, but when the boss needs to take me off, he takes me off, no problem.” More from Leo after the jump.
The Barcelona first team is not the only club team in European action this week, as the club’s Juvenil A team (U-19s) face their Ajax counterparts in the UEFA Youth League on Tuesday afternoon at the Miniestadi. Speaking to the press, coach Jordi Vinyals issued a warning about Ajax’s quality and asked for a response by his players following a run of mixed results. Read Vinyals’ key comments after the jump…
Neymar was asked whether he would prefer to score against Ajax in the Champions League or against Real Madrid in Saturday’s clásico. But why choose? He wants to score in both games. And with the Brazilian firing in goals from all angles this season, there is no reason to believe that that won’t be the case. Read what he said in a press conference after the jump.
Claudio Bravo has been on a hell of streak of clean sheets. After Saturday’s 3-0 win against Eibar, the Chilean’s record goes further to 720 minutes without slipping in a goal. Bravo was a guest on Barça TV’s ‘El Marcador’ where he spoke about the importance of the team going forward. “The thing that makes me happiest is winning, although I’m not completely ignoring the shutout streak. My job is to keep the other team from scoring. Eibar almost got one tonight but we won a tough match.” More from Bravo after the jump.
FC Barcelona captain Xavi Hernández underlined after the 3-0 victory against Eibar. “I’m very satisfied. It was a good game overall. It was hard work to start with, but the first goal made it easier and we ended up enjoying ourselves.”
Xavi also said that he is looking forward to Tuesday’s game against Ajax, which could be decisive: “After the slip up in Paris, we have to take the three points.”
During his press conference on Friday, Luis Enrique talked about many topics and stressed that the team is ready to earn the three points against SD Eibar on Saturday at the Camp Nou. “I’m only worried about the next opponent, Eibar, and their potential. They’re playing well and could create problems,” said Enrique before adding that he only sees eagerness in his players eyes. “I haven’t seen anything like distractions or players relaxing. Not based on their training. One thing is whether or not they play well.” The coach then added that the players are “totally focused on getting the three points. Records will eventually fall, but we just want to win.” More after the jump.
“They [Eibar] are having a great season since being promoted to the first division. I like the way they play football. They have had some very good games away from home.” And that’s where any discussion on Eibar ended at Jordi Alba’s press conference yesterday as journalists wanted to get into talking about the clásico next weekend as well as focus on star players.
Regarding the enormous came coming up in Madrid, at least Alba showed some smarts with his spot on answer, “We have to think about Eibar first, because if we don’t win but Madrid do, then they’ll just be a point off us. We have to take it game by game because every match is like a final.”
Alba’s thought on Luis Suárez, Lionel Messi and Jérémy Mathieu after the jump.
Dani Nieto spent a quite fruitful season with Barça B in 2013-14, becoming the team’s first sub on the way to third place in the Liga Adelante. This weekend, the winger will be back to Can Barça, but this time he will be wearing Eibar’s colours. Dani Nieto, who was converted into Eibar’s record signing after leaving Barça B this summer, spoke to the FCB official website about his new team, their prospects in their first year ever in La Liga , as well as his views on Barça. Read the full translation of the interview shedding some light onto Barcelona’s unknown opponents after the jump.
FC Barcelona full-back, Dani Alves says he is counting the days to see Luis Suárez in action. Suárez is currently banned for biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini during the World Cup match of Uruguay and Italy. The Uruguayan striker will be available for Luis Enrique in time for the match at the Bernabéu against Real Madrid on the 25th of October.
If you have been a long time culé, or simply a Dane, the name Allan Simonsen would ring a bell. The former Danish international spent three years of his career in FC Barcelona. Born in 1952 in Vejle, Denmark, Allan quickly showed his potential as a footballer and by the age of 20 he signed a professional contract with Borussia Mönchengladbach, which resulted in three championships in a row. In 1977, Allan joined the company of players such as Johan Cruyff and Franz Beckenbauer by winning the Ballon D’or, the first and only Danish footballer to achieve this prize.
In the summer of ’79 Allan joined FC Barcelona and he quickly proved to be a fan favourite. With the same characteristics of some of today’s Barcelona players, Allan was named “El pequeño gran danés,” meaning the little big Dane. He was a small but quick footballer who wasn’t afraid of taking on defenders. In 1981, Barcelona won the Copa Del Rey and the year after, Allan scored the decisive goal in the 2-1 victory over Standard Liége to help Barça win the European Cup Winners Cup final. Barcelona brought in Diego Maradona that summer and because of the regulations on foreigners, Allan decided to leave the club. Allan Simonsen is said to have played some of his best football in the Blaugrana jersey and totalBarça had the opportunity to have a talk with the Danish hall of famer, or “the gentle man of football” as he is called back home. Read more after the jump!
Less than two weeks is left before Luis Suárez – Barça’s most expensive player ever – is finally eligible to play, and what better scenario for a comeback than playing in the biggest match in club football – El Clásico . The Uruguayan striker spoke to Barça magazine in depth about his four months away from football, expressing his excitement at being able to play once again with “spectacular players” such as Messi, Neymar, Xavi and Iniesta. Suárez also commented on La Masia and it’s facilities after visiting them, “I am amazed and surprised by the facilities” he said. “And the spaces where the children are looked after in every way, with their studies, their diet, their timetables. It’s all been a surprise for me, especially how well behaved the children are. I wish I had the chance to be raised like this.”
The magazine shows some exclusive old pictures of Luis Suarez visiting the Camp Nou museum with his wife Sofia back in the Ronaldinho era. Looking back at them, the 27-year-old now says, “I could never have imagined back then that one day I would be playing in such a magnificent stadium.” Words of a lifelong cule. Don’t miss out on Luis Suárez’ full interview, right after the jump!
Dani Alves takes the headlines again reminding people of his worth and his aim to leave a lasting legacy in Barcelona before moving on with his career. The Brazilian right back arrived to Barça during Pep Guardiola’s reign in 2008, and since then he’s won two Champions Leagues, four league titles and many more trophies besides. Last week he made it clear that this was his last season wearing the Blaugrana shirt. But Alves wants to leave on a high. “My wish this year is to have a great year with Barça. I’d like to leave with the feeling that I’ve given everything for this club to continue to be great and continue to write pages of history,” he told La Vanguardia. More from Alves after the jump.
Pedro Rodríguez is not a player you instantly think would be a talker. However, when the Canary Islander wants to speak his mind, he does so in style. During the press conference of the Spanish national team, the Barça forward made his opinion very clear about his ex-Barça teammate Cesc Fàbregas and the playing time he’s getting this year. Read more…
Gaizka Mendieta, Luis Enrique’s former FC Barcelona and Spain teammate, has admitted that he did not foresee the Asturian as a coach. “Luis has always been a big fan of football, but personally I don’t know if I’ve seen him as a coach.” Nevertheless, the Spaniard is convinced that Luis Enrique is the right man for the job. “He knows the place perfectly and his character, personality and level of coaching is needed.” Continue reading for more.
Gerard Piqué took the time to dismiss recent rumors that suggested the departure of the 27-year-old, assuring everyone that he’s extremely happy. “I’m at the best club in the world. I’ve always dreamed of playing here and have no intention of losing. I’ve just renewed my contract and want to finish my career at Barcelona, although you never know.” The defender believes that FC Barcelona is indeed more than a club, and that is why he loves it. “I love the club for its history, style of play, and identification with Catalonia.” Continue reading for more.
FC Barcelona broke the record for the best defensive record since the start of a Liga season and two of the men who made this record possible gave their views on the game shortly after the final whistle. Jérémy Mathieu praised the team’s collective effort, also expressing his will to play anywhere the manager asks him to play, in reference to being assigned to left-back in Vallecas. On his part, Claudio Bravo, the man who gets most credit for the record, expressed his pleasure at the record, but affirmed that he was only looking to do a job for the team rather than earning the record.
Additional commentary from Barça’s defensive stalwarts below.
After returning to the top of the league table yesterday, Luis Enrique said he was very pleased with the team’s reaction against an exciting opponent like Rayo Vallecano. “The players had the right attitude and performed as they had to against an awkward and hard-working opponent. They played with the required level of intensity.” The win came after a loss in the Champions League and was needed to get the players back on their feet. “The win has reinforced us.” Continue reading for more from the coach.
FC Barcelona switch their focus once again to La Liga after a difficult trip to Paris, and the upcoming opponent is one that Luis Enrique is very fond of. “Rayo is a team I especially like. They make things difficult and no how to move the ball. It’s a nice example of a team without a lot of money and that’s fun to watch,” Lucho said. “I really like the team and their coach.” As always, there’s more after the jump!
Lionel Messi spoke to the media on Thursday during the club’s new sponsor’s ‘Gillette’ presentation, and the Argentinean made it clear that he’s optimistic of the team’s options this season. “We’re working well in training and we are trying to carry that forward into the games. The team is growing and we are on the right track. There’s more to come once we take everything on board that the boss is asking of us.” Read More from Barça’s all time goalscorer after the jump.
Barça’s Gerard Piqué admitted in an exclusive interview with FourFourtwo that he feared former Manchester United player and current assistant manager of Aston Villa Roy Keane more than his former boss Sir Alex Ferguson back when the Catalan played for the Premier League giants. “I wouldn’t say I was scared of [Ferguson]. Roy Keane? Well, maybe that’s different!”
“I remember we were in the changing room at Old Trafford and my phone started vibrating. Keano could hear the vibrations and went crazy trying to find out who the phone belonged to. That’s who he was.
The first loss of the season came at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) at the Parc des Princes and Luis Enrique confessed that PSG were better in taking their chances. “PSG took their chances and made the most of our mistakes. … I’m not in the slightest bit bothered about losing the lead. I’m worried about getting back the good feelings for the next few games … We made mistakes getting the ball out and that gave away set pieces. When you’re behind in a game, it’s very hard to turn it around.” However, the loss is not the end of the world and it was coming sooner or later. Losing in the early stages of the season is better than losing at the end.
Andrés Iniesta, Javier Mascherano and Ivan Rakitic gave their views on the first loss of the season following the 3-2 result in Paris. Iniesta made it clear that at the highest level of football one “pays dearly for mistakes“. He conceded rightly that Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) were during “some phases the better side” but also correctly stressed that Barça “reacted when [PSG] scored” but just couldn’t find the equalizer. Still, this defeat means nothing in the grand scheme of things and there is no point dwelling on a defeat to one of Europe’s best squads. “It’s tough not to win but we have to keep going. t’s not easy to play here in the Champions League. But we need to carry on as we have done until now. Nobody gives anything away for free. We lost but we just have to press on.”
Additional commentary from Masch and Rakitic below.
FC Barcelona have responded to critics after a goalless draw against Málaga CF in magnificent fashion with a glorious win over Granada CF at Camp Nou, and now it is time for the season’s first big test against French champions Paris Saint-Germain (PSG). Luis Enrique said that he considers PSG one of the best in Europe and described them as “a fearsome and dangerous team. They have resources. They are a candidate to win the Champions League.” Continue reading for more.
FC Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu spoke to L’Equipe ahead of tonight’s game against Paris Saint-Germain, and addressed the rumors that surrounded Lionel Messi leaving the Catalan club. “It’s not true,” he insisted. “Never have we had this type of discussion about Messi. In April or May I said that we would make radical changes, but with Messi as the leader.”
“He’s under contract for the next four years and it won’t be the last [contract] with Barça. He’s still young and ambitious. For us, he’s the best player in the history of football.”
The president, who took power last January, also denied any knowledge that the French giants were after the Argentine before UEFA’s financial fair play rules brought down the club’s pursuit. “I have no information that Messi might have spoken to PSG. We’re opponents on the pitch but also off it, with regard to sponsors and players.”