It 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
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.
Luis 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
Last 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
Barça 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
Leo 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
Luis Enrique’s Barça play their first official game tomorrow when Elche visit Camp Nou in the first round of the 2014/15 Liga (Sunday 9 pm). It will be a new look Barça with five players looking likely to make their league debut for the club. Rafinha appeared for the first team once in the Copa del Rey and twice in the Champions League before his year on loan at Celta but now looks set for his first Barça league game. New signings, Claudio Bravo, Jeremy Mathieu and Ivan Rakitic will probably start and there could also be some minutes for rising star Munir El-Haddadi depending on the fitness of Pedro and Neymar. Continue reading
News has just come in that Neymar Jr is doubtful for Sunday’s opening game in La Liga against Elche. The Brazilian forward has sprained his left ankle in training this morning and first reports suggest he will need a couple of days rest at least. With Luis Suarez suspended and Pedro doubtful with gastroenteritis this leaves Luis Enrique with a serious lack of forwards. Leo Messi looks certain to play and he could be accompanied by Rafinha and Munir El-Haddadi who continues to train with the first team along with Sergi Samper and Sandro from Barça B.
Apologies for the lack of posts over the last two weeks. I’m now back in Barcelona and with my batteries recharged I’m ready for the new season. There has been a fair bit of news since my last post so let’s start with the transfer stories. Continue reading
€12 million signing Claudio Bravo made an unfortunate start to his Barça career tonight when his mistake cost Barça a 1-0 defeat to Napoli in Geneva. Bravo had performed well, making one spectacular first-half save to deny Marek Hamsik, but in the 80th minute his poor kick fell to Blerim Dzemaili who fired the ball straight back from 30 yards and the Barça keeper allowed the ball to squirm through his hands for the only goal of the game. Continue reading