Barça brought down to earth in Vigo

Celta 4-1 Barça Nolito goal 2015Barça came unstuck tonight in Vigo, ripped apart by a splendid Celta side that demonstrated a greater desire for the victory. Barça transfer target Nolito curled in a brilliant goal in the 26th minute to put the Galician side in front before Iago Aspas doubled the lead four minutes later after a mistake by Gerard Piqué. Aspas grabbed his second of the night ten minutes after half-time to put Celta three up. Neymar Jr pulled back a consolation goal but Celta substitute John Guidetti completed Barça’s misery by making it 4-1 before the end. Continue reading

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Piqué returns for leaders Barça at Celta

Celta 0-1 Barça Pique Messi 2015Gerard Piqué returns to league action following his four-match suspension as Barça take on Celta de Vigo at Balaidos tomorrow night (Wednesday 8.00 pm). Without Piqué, the defending champions have begun La Liga 2015/16 with four straight victories and Luis Enriqué will be looking to extend the 100% record in order to maintain the early advantage over closest rivals Real Madrid who also play tomorrow at Athletic Club at San Mames.  Continue reading

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Barça see off Levante to stay top of La Liga

Bartra celebrates goal against Levante 2015Barça stay top of La Liga for another week after a 4-1 victory over Levante at Camp Nou tonight. Following a disappointing goalless first half, Marc Bartra broke the deadlock in the 50st minute before a goal from Neymar and a Leo Messi penalty made it 3-0 on the hour. Victor Casadesús pulled a goal back for the visitors after a Ter Stegen mistake and there was time for Messi to fire another penaty over the crossbar before the Argentinian completed the scoring with a fine individual effort. Continue reading

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Dani Alves set to return against Levante

Early league leaders Barça take on Levante at Camp Nou tomorrow evening (Sunday 8.30 pm) with the goal of maintaining the two-point advantage over closest rivals Real Madrid. Gerard Piqué will serve the last of his four-match suspension while Luis Enrique is also without the injured Claudio Bravo, Douglas, Thomas Vermaelen and Rafinha. The good news is that Dani Alves is fit again and should return at right-back. Gerard Gumbau from Barça B has been called up to the first team again to make up the 18-man squad for the game. Continue reading

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Rafinha out for at least six months

rafinha-despide-temporada-1442480576432The worst possible news was announced today when it was confirmed that Rafinha has a torn cruciate ligament in his right knee which will see the player out of action for a minimum of six months. Rafinha will undergo an operation soon and in the best of scenarios he will return to training at the end of March. The Brazilian midfielder was injured shortly after coming on in last night’s Champions League game at Roma after a tackle from behind by Radja Nainggolan. It is the second time this year that Nainggolan has seriously injured a player after he broke the leg of Chievo’s Federico Mattiello in a Serie A match in March.

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Barça tamed by Florenzi wondergoal

roma 1-1 barça luis suárez goal 2015Champions League defending champions Barça began the quest for back-to-back titles with a 1-1 draw at AS Roma tonight. Luis Enrique’s men got off to an excellent start when Luis Suárez headed in from Ivan Rakitic’s cross in the 21st minute. Barça looked well in control at this point but ten minutes later, out of the blue, Roma’s right-back Alessandro Florenzi scored a remarkable goal from 50 yards to equalize. The draw will not worry Barça as much as the knee injury suffered by Rafinha just a minute after coming on as a substitute. The young midfielder was stretchered off and could be out for months. Continue reading

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Champions League preview: AS Roma vs FC Barcelona

Seydou Keita Neymar Barça Roma Gamper 2015Barça begin their defence of the Champions League tomorrow night with a tough game at AS Roma at the Olympic Stadium in Rome (Wednesday 8.45 pm). No team has ever won back-to-back Champions Leagues which makes this season’s competition even more desirable for Luis Enrique’s men. Continue reading

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Papi Messi sinks Atlético

Atletico 1 Barça 2 Messi goal 2015Leo Messi celebrated the birth of his second son by coming off the bench to score Barça’s winner in a deserved 1-2 victory over Atlético Madrid. There was a big surprise an hour before kick-off when the teamsheets appeared with Messi only featuring as a substitute. Luis Enrique obviously felt that the experience of becoming a father again, on top of 17,000 kilometres of plane flights during the international break, would have jaded the Argentinian maestro. But with the score at 1-1 after Neymar’s free-kick had cancelled out Fernando Torres’s 51st minute strike, the Barça coach called for Messi who responded by grabbing the winner with 13 minutes to go. Continue reading

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Ter Stegen set for league debut at Atlético

Atlético 2-3 Barça 2015Barça return to action after the international break with the always tough trip to face Atlético Madrid at the Vicente Caldrerón (Saturday 8.30 pm). Luis Enrique is without the injured Dani Alves and the suspended Gerard Piqué, and his plans were further affected on Monday when Claudio Bravo injured a calf muscle which will see him sidelined for three weeks. German keeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen has already won the Champions League, the Copa del Rey and the European Supercup playing between the posts for Barça but Bravo’s injury has finally given him a chance to debut in La Liga. Continue reading

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Vermaelen unlocks Malaga to earn three more points for Barça

Barça 1-0 Malaga Vermaelen celebrates goal 2015Last season Malaga survived 180 minutes without conceding a goal against the might of Barça’s firepower. Tonight at Camp Nou it looked like Javi Gracia’s team might gain yet another clean sheet as despite the reunion of the Messi-Suárez-Neymar trident, Barça failed to break through until the final quarter of the game. It wasn’t the deadly threesome that finally beat Carlos Kameni in the Malaga goal but a 73rd minute strike from central defender Thomas Vermaelen who scored his first goal for the club to earn three very useful points. Continue reading

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