Andres Iniesta doubts whether Barcelona need to sign Neymar this summer

Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta has said that Antoine Griezmann and Neymar are two of the best individual players in the world but does not believe they can play together at the Camp Nou. The Blaugrana have strengthened their attack with the arrival of Griezmann this month but there have been reports suggesting that they may also be interested in re-signing Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain.

Speaking to DAZN, Iniesta hailed the qualities of Griezmann and Neymar but admitted that he is unsure how they could play together at the Camp Nou next season, he said: “They are two of the best in the world individually, and they would be amazing signings, but it’s another question if the two are necessary, or how the team would gel, or what Barça really want.”

Elsewhere, Iniesta was asked about Eden Hazard’s move to Real Madrid and he happened to speak positively about the Belgium international, who is expected to orchestrate Los Blancos’ attack next season, he continued: “He’s a player who makes a difference. He’s extremely complete: right, left, dribbling, speed, he’s strong… he has brutal quality to be an important player for Real Madrid, and I always liked him.”

The Blaugrana are expected to depend on Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi once more next season and alongside them, Griezmann could feature in a front three. In this case, Philippe Coutinho, Ousmane Dembele among others may have to settle for a bench role and it does not make any sense to move for Neymar at the present point of time.

Still, a few departures could sort the concern and Coutinho and Malcom have been earmarked as potential candidates, who could leave the club. Malcom has been tipped to make the move to Zenit St Petersburg this summer. On the other hand, Coutinho has been linked with numerous elite European clubs but no offers have been made to land his signature to date.

De Jong speaks on Van de Beek’s prospects of joining Real Madrid

Barcelona star Frenkie de Jong has said that Donny van de Beek is a great player and he would be really happy for him, should he make the move to Real Madrid. Ajax have witnessed a mini exodus this summer with the departure of the likes of De Jong, Matthijs de Ligt and Lasse Schone, and they now appear on the verge of parting ways with van de Beek.

Speaking to ESPN FC, De Jong told that he would prefer van de Beek to remain with the Dutch champions but he cannot influence the player’s decision. He added that the midfielder appears at an advanced stage to join Los Blancos and deserves the chance of playing for one of the world’s elite footballing clubs, he said: “I would prefer him to stay at Ajax because I wouldn’t have him as an opponent and Ajax would stay strong. But, no, of course, when it’s all settled, and if he moves to Madrid, I am really happy for him. I think he deserves it. He’s a great player. Then I will go see him in Spain!”

Earlier last month, Ajax manager Erik ten Hag confirmed that Donny van de Beek had been tempted by the challenge presented from Los Blancos and the midfielder has since acknowledged that he has begun discussions with the Madrid giants. Still, the move has yet to be made official and the next few days should provide the idea whether a transfer agreement can be reached.

Meanwhile, Ajax performed above their expectations last season as they won a domestic double as well as reach the semi-final stage of the Champions League. A repeat of the same seems unlikely with the departure of key players but they have recruited a few young talents to reinforce the squad for the current season.

Divock Origi reacts after penning new contract with Liverpool

Belgium international Divock Origi has expressed his pleasure after penning a new long-term deal with Liverpool. The striker’s previous contract was due to expire at the end of the upcoming season but he has now put pen-to-paper on a fresh four-year deal after contributing towards the club’s Champions League success last term.

Speaking to the club’s official website, Origi was pleased to have inked a new contract with the Merseyside giants. Origi is also looking forward to something special in the forthcoming years with the club, he told: “I’m very happy to be able to sign this contract and it gives you a boost at the beginning of the season, as well as the end of the season last year.

“When we had to make the decision I just wanted to speak with the club first and my entourage, but the feeling was always that I wanted to stay and extend my contract. It’s an amazing club, we have a good group, the staff are amazing. Even coming into Melwood, the people that work here and everything, you feel there is something special going on here.”

Origi was barely in contention for a starting role during the opening half of the previous campaign whereby Daniel Sturridge was regarded as the back-up option to Roberto Firmino upfront. Nonetheless, he became a cult-hero with an injury-time winner against rivals Everton while starring during the final phase of the Champions League where Firmino was struggling for fitness.

Despite the positivity, Origi would be aware that he has no assurances of starting games next season, but he has the chance to change the manager’s stance with consistent performances off the bench. Origi’s bright run of form during the backend of the season contributed towards Sturridge’s departure on a free last month. The striker has been touted to make the move to Major League Soccer.

Ter Stegen pays tribute to Cillessen after the Dutchman’s Barcelona exit

Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen has praised the professionalism of goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen following his departure from the Catalan giants. The Dutchman spent the past three seasons with the Blaugrana but he was largely the back-up shot-stopper with Ter Stegen commanding the regular role between the sticks for the league and European duties.

A tweet on Ter Stegen’s official Twitter account read: “A serious professional, good teammate and friend. I enjoyed working together these past 3 years with you Jasper, always hard work and successful memories. Good luck with your new challenge and I look forward to playing against you next season.”

Cillessen had made it clear that he would be leaving the Catalans at the end of the season, but he had expressed a concern that the club may not accept anything less than £52m to sanction his sale. However, they appear to have eventually accepted to lower the valuation and reports claim that Valencia have paid up a fee of around £31.5m for the former Ajax man.

Meanwhile, the La Liga champions are expected to recruit a new back-up goalkeeper after the departure of Cillessen and reports have claimed that Neto could be the choice. The Brazilian is set to drop down the order after the arrival of Cillessen at Los Che and he could be tempted to accept a bigger challenge with the Blaugrana this summer.

Barcelona have made two signings for the summer with Frenkie de Jong and Emerson joining them from Ajax and Atletico Mineiro respectively. They are likely to continue the spending spree with the focus on the attack and Antoine Griezmann could be one of those making the move to the Camp Nou from Atletico Madrid. Griezmann has already confirmed that he would be leaving Atleti during this summer’s transfer window.

Xavi opens up on the possibility of managing Barcelona in the future

Barcelona legend Xavi has said that he has the vision of managing Barcelona at some point in the future. The former Spain international has recently called time on his playing career with Al-Sadd and he is looking forward to gaining valuable managerial experience in Qatar before making the comeback with the Blaugrana in some coaching capacity.

Speaking to Efe, Xavi revealed that he has the ambition of making the highest level of management at the Catalan giants but he would prefer to start from the grass roots to build his coaching reputation, he said: “Now I start my career at zero, I can’t start with a Ferrari or a transatlantic ship, I have to start with a small boat, a small car, test myself, gain experience, and yes, it’s true that the objective is to return to Barcelona, but I’m calm. The idea is to start as a coach in Qatar, where there is not as much pressure, to test myself and to gain experience, and the objective is to return to Europe and most of all to Barcelona.”
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Valverde wants La Liga crown before Champions League semi-final

Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has acknowledged that he would prefer the Catalans sealing the La Liga title before the Champions League semi-final stage. The Blaugrana are set to tackle Liverpool across two legs of the elite competition at the beginning of next month and Valverde seems keen on sealing the title by then.

Speaking in a press conference, Valverde said that any team would prefer to seal the title at the earliest and they are optimistic of doing so this month, he said: “A lot of people ask me if we want to get La Liga boxed off and that’s what anyone would want to do. We want to win La Liga, whenever that may be and we’ll see if we can get that done. It looks easy on paper: a win here, a draw there, we win it on a certain day but we have a lot of good teams to face with a lot to play for and things aren’t easy.”
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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sends warning to Barcelona ahead of Champions League clash

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said that the Red Devils can spring a surprise on Barcelona during the second leg of the Champions League quarter-final at the Camp Nou. The Red Devils suffered a slender 1-0 during the first leg at Old Trafford last week, but they produced an impressive performance which kept the Blaugrana attack at bay.

Speaking in a news conference, Ole said that United’s main threat comes from the attack front and the club will be hoping to utilise the same to outwit the Spanish champions, he said: “You look at the quality of those players and that gives us a threat. We carry a goal threat and of course what we did against PSG as a team must give everyone a huge confidence boost. We will use the PSG [match], we will use the Juventus away. We have beaten some good teams away from home this year, and played against some great players.”
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Barcelona defender insists Antoine Griezmann is content at Atletico Madrid

Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti has revealed that his French compatriot Antoine Griezmann is content with the proceedings at Atletico Madrid despite the constant speculation regarding his future. The France international was heavily tipped to join the Spanish champions last summer but he decided to snub their advances to sign a new long-term deal with Atleti.

Since then, things have not gone as planned with Atleti failing to compete for silverware and this has recently spread the gossip that Griezmann could pursue a fresh challenge. Amidst this, Umtiti has clarified that the forward has no sort of concerns regarding his position and remains ‘very happy’ with the happenings at the club.
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Neymar’s father drop transfer update on the attacker amid Barcelona link

The father of Neymar has stressed that the ongoing speculation linking the Brazilian with a potential return to Barcelona is false. The attacker only joined Paris Saint-Germain in a world-record move from the Camp Nou 20 months ago but there have been numerous occasions where he has been fancied to make a comeback with the Spanish champions.

In a report covered by Sport, Neymar’s father has revealed that there has been no contact whatsoever with Barcelona regarding a probable comeback and the recent speculation over the same can be deemed false. He added that the Brazilian is content with the proceedings at Paris Saint-Germain despite experiencing frustrating injuries over the past two years.
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Pep Guardiola compares Manchester City’s desire with Barcelona’s on the field

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has said that the Citizens are showing the same desire as Barcelona on the field after they were clinical during their recent Premier League game against Chelsea. The Citizens were anticipated to have a tricky game on their hands against Chelsea but nothing of that sort happened as they rolled them over with a comfortable 6-0 scoreline.

Speaking after the game, Guardiola spoke about the team’s desire to continuing winning with every gameweek and compared their ambition to Barcelona’s, he said: “The desire to want to do the best is incredible and similar (to that at Barca). For us to get 100 points, break all records and continue to push them and push them… these guys work a lot. The only way I know is the more you win, the more you have to work.”
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