Marc-Andre Ter Stegen insists Barcelona are more than just Messi

Germany goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen has insisted that Barcelona are more than just Lionel Messi and the credit should also be given to the remaining 10 players for the Champions League win over PSV Eindhoven. The Blaugrana kick-started their European campaign with a comfortable 4-0 triumph over the Dutch champions and Messi was once more the standout performer for the Catalan giants after contributing his eighth hat-trick in the competition.

Speaking after the game, Ter Stegen admitted that Messi always turns up for the La Liga holders and nobody can compare him with any other player. However, the shot-stopper wanted respect for the other players within the squad and insists they were equally influential towards the final result on the night, he said: “Lionel Messi always turns up for us, everyone knows his level and nobody can compare to him. But while Leo always is fantastic, there are ten other players in our team who helped us in this victory too, we are a team and not just one individual.”
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Ernesto Valverde unsure whether Real Madrid would be weaker without Ronaldo

Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde has said that he is unsure whether Real Madrid would become a weaker opposition with the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese superstar made the surprise move to Juventus during the summer transfer window after spending nine seasons with the European champions.

Since then, there have been question marks whether Los Blancos can continue challenging for major honours but Valverde does not believe it could be the case, he said: “I do not know if it will make them weaker. We were in a similar situation last year [with Neymar] and in the end the team grew and became stronger.”
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Thomas Vermaelen Keen to Stop Kylian Mbappe in World Cup Semi-Finals

Barcelona and Belgium defender Thomas Vermaelen claims that Kylian Mbappe is the biggest threat for France in the upcoming meeting between the two teams at the World Cup 2018. The PSG youngster has been a revelation so far in the tournament. Even though the competition started with the expectation that the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, or Neymar will be able to shine, there has been an unexpected progress from Kylian Mbappe, who is about to become one of the world’s most expensive players when his loan move from PSG transforms into a £ 166 million permanent deal.

After ripping off several teams earlier in the competition,Mbappe is on course to making history by getting France into the finals. France are one of the teams unbeaten in the competition but they have been reliant on a handful of players in order to do the job. Vermaelen is aware of this element and he knows that Kylian Mbappe needs to be stopped in order to prevent France from having any tilt at the World Cup final. The Les Blues are hopeful of winning the competition for the first time since 1998 and there has been an effervescent mood within the camp. Vermaelen, though, has identifiedMbappe as the biggest threat for France and the primary job for the Belgian defenders will be to stop the youngster from playing his natural game.
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New Barcelona signing Clement Lenglet fancies Adrien Rabiot at Camp Nou

New Barcelona recruit Clement Lenglet has admitted that he would fancy working together with Adrien Rabiot at the Camp Nou. The France international has been linked with a potential move away from Paris Saint-Germain this summer after being frustrated with his national team snub for the summer World Cup.

 

Speaking to reporters, Lenglet admitted Barcelona were always his first-choice despite him receiving interest from a number of Premier League clubs including Manchester United, he said: “I chose Barcelona because, for me, they’re the biggest club [in the world] and they play in Spain, which is the best league in the world. I want to win trophies and I think I am at the best possible club to do that.
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SHOULDN’T SOUTHGATE CONSIDER POTENTIAL OPPONENTS AHEAD OF BELGIUM CLASH?

With Belgium and England through to the next stage of the World Cup, there are few worries ahead of their dead rubber game on Thursday. The only concern for the managers would be which players to give opportunities and which to rest ahead of the knockout stages.

Both teams would be seeking to finish top of the group for sake of pride. However, there is another issuethat the managers could consider. With Japan and Colombia potential opponents from Group H, we know who we’d rather face.
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Sky Sports pundit updates on Ousmane Dembele’s situation

Sky Sport football expert Guillem Balague believes Barcelona could consider the departure of Ousmane Dembele on a temporary basis for the 2018/19 season. The French footballer has witnessed a stop-start season with Barcelona – which has been hampered by injuries – but he has still managed to make France’s squad for the summer World Cup.

Recent reports have suggested that Dembele could find himself out-of-favour at Camp Nou next term with the Blaugrana keen on acquiring the signature of Atletico’s Antoine Griezmann. As such, Balague feels Dembele could leave the Catalan giants, though it may only be on a temporary basis, he said: “My understanding of the situation is they will let him go on loan. Right now, who is going to pay 100m euros for him anyway? As I said, they will let him go on loan though.”
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Thomas Vermaelen: Lionel Messi is better than ‘world-class’ Eden Hazard

Barcelona defender Thomas Vermaelen has said that Lionel Messi is on a different level to Eden Hazard despite the latter becoming the go-to player in the Chelsea ranks. The former Arsenal man is set to return to London this week when the Catalan giants face-off against the Blues in the Champions League round of 16 first-leg.


In an interview with The Guardian, the experienced centre-back was asked to compare the individual abilities of Hazard and Messi. Though he initially admitted that there are similarities in their style of play, the 32-year-old stressed it is difficult to place him into the calibre of Messi, who has five Ballon d’Or titles to his name.
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Thomas Vermaelen confident injury problems are behind him

Belgium international Thomas Vermaelen is looking forward to contributing towards Barcelona’s success after having overcome his concerns with regular injuries. The former Arsenal man started the campaign as the fourth-choice defender, but injuries to Javier Mascherano and Samuel Umtiti have enabled him cement a regular role in central defence alongside Gerard Pique.

In an interview with Mundo Deportivo, Vermaelen is pleased to have gone unscathed for more than a year, and he is aiming to integrate into prove his worth to the Catalan giants, he said: “I understand that people had doubts about my physical condition because in recent years I have had a few physical problems. But since November 2016 I have not had any more problems and I’ve been feeling good for a year. I know I have a reputation as a player made of glass, but I have managed to overcome that. I knew I had the ability to play for Barca but in previous years, due to injuries, I had not been able to show what I am capable of.”
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Ernesto Valverde calm over Antoine Griezmann speculation

Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde refused to discuss the possibility of signing Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann in the New Year. The Catalans had been hot on the trail of both Philippe Coutinho and Angel di Maria during the dying stages of the summer transfer window, but a deal could not materialise for either player.

Ahead of the Leganes clash, Valverde admired the qualities of Griezmann and revealed that the club have not closed the door on pursuing fresh recruits in January, he said: “Griezmann is a great player, one of the names being talked about but for now I have the players that I have. In the future, we will see. Of course, the club, like all clubs, is open to doing business in the January window, even though we’re happy with what we already have. We’re not going to close the door on anything.”
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Inter Milan set sights on signing Thomas Vermaelen

Inter Milan have reportedly set their sights on signing Barcelona defender Thomas Vermaelen as they look to bolster their central defensive department in the New Year. The Nerazzurri currently have Milan Skriniar, Joao Miranda, and Andreas Ranocchia as the only senior centre-backs in the club’s ranks.

According to TMW, Luciano Spalletti’s side have earmarked Vermaelen as their top defensive target for January as they look to maintain their strong start to the campaign. The San Siro outfit are currently just two points adrift of league leaders Napoli, and the manager is hoping to add more options to the defence in order to avoid burnout in the second half of the season.
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