Samper shines in dull Barça win over Apoel

Barça 1-0 Apoel Piqué goal 2014Luis Enrique took a risk tonight in his first Champions League game in charge of Barça, making nine changes to the team that beat Athletic on Saturday, but the gamble just paid off with Gerard Piqué scoring the only goal in a 1-0 victory over Apoel Nicosia. The most notable of the new faces was 19-year-old Sergi Samper who made his first-team debut with a composed performance in the defensive midfield position. Continue reading

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Barça’s road to Berlin starts with Apoel

Olympiastadion Berlin (C) Marcel Wenzel info@aktuellekamera.deBarça begin the 2014/15 Champions League with what appears to be a relatively easy game against the Cypriot team Apoel at Camp Nou. Luis Enrique will not name the squad list until after tomorrow morning’s training session but he has called up Sergi Samper, along with Munir El-Haddadi and Sandro Ramírez, from Barça B to train with the first team this week. Dani Alves has recovered from his knee problem but Thomas Vermaelen has still not received medical clearance yet. Barça will be looking for a comfortable victory to start this season’s tournament which will reach its climax with the final in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium on June 6. Continue reading

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Neymar late double maintains Barça’s 100% start

Barça 2-0 Athletic Neymar celebration 2014Barça had to work very hard for victory over Athletic Club at Camp Nou this afternoon but in the end Neymar Jr, who had again been left out of Luis Enrique’s initial starting XI, came on to grab two late goals to earn a desrved 2-0 win which keeps Barça top of La Liga with maximum points from three games. Continue reading

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Messi waits for medical clearance to face Athletic

Barça 2-1 Athletic 2014Luis Enrique will wait until after tomorrow morning’s training session before naming his squad for tomorrow’s league clash at Camp Nou against Bilbao’s Athletic Club (Saturday 4 pm). Leo Messi, along with Andrés Iniesta, Jeremy Mathieu and Thomas Vermaelen, trained again with the group today but all four players will have to wait until tomorrow for medical clearance though it expected that the first three at least will get the green light to play. The afternoon kick-off means it is going to be very hot (predicted temperature 27ºC) which with the humidity in Barcelona will make conditions very difficult for the high pressing game of both teams. Continue reading

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Sandro’s strike sinks Villarreal

Villarreal 0-1 Barcelona Sandro Ramírez celebrates winning goal 2014It was tight and at times it was frenetic, but Barça earned an extremely sweet three points tonight with a 0-1 victory at Villarreal thanks to an 82nd minute goal from 19-year-old substitute Sandro Ramírez. Barça’s victory was thoroughly deserved despite a terrific effort from the home team, the posts were hit twice at both ends in a magnificent contest but Barça had Leo Messi who was captain for the game and he provided Sandro with the late winner. Continue reading

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Song signs on loan for West Ham

?????It has been confirmed that Alex Song will return to London this season but instead of Arsenal he has signed a one-year loan deal with West Ham United (http://www.whufc.com/articles/20140830/hammers-go-for-a-song_2236884_4109049). It looks like this could be the last movement in the transfer market from Barça.

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Iniesta misses Barça’s trip to Villarreal

villarreal 2-3 barcelona 2014Luis Enrique has named 18 players for tomorrow evening’s game at Villarreal in the second round of La Liga 2014/15, but the Barça coach will have to make do without Andrés Iniesta who is reported to have some knee discomfort. Javier Mascherano also misses the game following his sending off in last week’s victory over Elche but Gerard Piqué and Neymar are both back in the squad. Ter Stegen, Vermaelen and Adriano won’t feature until after the international break as they continue recuperating from their injuries while new signing Douglas will also have to wait for his chance. With Luis Suarez still suspended Munir El-Haddadi and Sandro Ramirez continue with the first team. Alex Song doesn’t travel as he is still looking for a move before the transfer window closes. Continue reading

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Douglas Pereira signs for five years

Brazilian soccer player Douglas gives a thumbs-up next to an FC Barcelona crest at the club's offices in BarcelonaLast week’s news became official today when the 24-year-old Brazilian Douglas Pereira dos Santos signed a five-year contract to become Barça’s seventh signing of the summer. The fee has been reported as €4 million +€1.5 million in variables which will be divided between Sao Paulo where Douglas played 95 games scoring four goals in the last three seasons, and the company Traffic who owned part of the player’s rights. When this signing was originally revealed last week there was talk that Douglas would remain another year on loan at Sao Paulo but it now appears that the player is joining Barça’s first team squad immediately and that he will wear the number 16 shirt worn by Sergio Busquets until he switched to the number 5 this season. Continue reading

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Barça drawn with PSG, Ajax and Apoel in Champions League Group F

barcelona 1-1 psg ibrahimovic busquets 2013Barça have been given a relatively difficult group in this year’s Champions league after being drawn with Paris Saint Germain, Ajax and Apoel in Group F. PSG with Thiago Silva, David Luiz, Lucas Mauro, Pastore, Lavezzi, Cavani and of course Zlatan Ibrahimavic will no doubt provide a tough test for Luis Enrique’s men but Barça will also remember defeat to ten-man Ajax at the Amsterdam Arena in last season’s competition. Barça have never played Apoel before but the Cypriot team will no doubt be seen as the group’s whipping boys (Just remember what Costa Rica did in the World Cup!).

The full draw is as follows: Continue reading

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Messi leads ten-man Barça to victory over Elche

Barça 3-0 Elche Messi celebrates goal 2014Leo Messi had a complicated time last season. The Argentinian star suffered a drop in form that left many culés wondering if we would ever see him play again at the level that earned him four consecutive Ballon d’Ors. The best news of Barça’s 3-0 victory over Elche in Luis Enrique’s opening league game as first-team coach was the return of Messi to something approaching his best. There were twists and turns, blistering acceleration, hunger to fight for the ball and two goals straight from the Messi textbook to secure the three points. Continue reading

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