Saturday 14 June 2008

Meeting on Trezeguet next week

Italian sports paper Tuttosport claims that Barcelona officials, amongst which Barcelona economic vice president Ferran Soriano, will travel to Turin next week to meet with Juventus representatives and to make a formal offer for Juventus forward David Trezeguet (30). Barcelona would plan to launch a first bid of 12-15 million euro°.

New Barcelona manager Josep Guardiola would be pushing the club to sign the Frenchman but Juventus doesn't seem willing to let Trezeguet go. Trezeguet, who knows Spanish which would make it more easy to adapt to the city and the club, would like the idea of teaming up with his former team-mate Thierry Henry.

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Crosas could stay in Lyon

Asked about the situation of Olympique Lyon midfielder and Barcelona loan out Marc Crosas (20), Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas said to journalists that no decision will be taken until Lyon has appointed a new manager:

"It's possible that the player will stay with us. He had a good half season at the club and people like him. We were satisfied by his performances and when we've taken a decision on the new coach, we'll see if he can continue with us. "

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Euro 2008: Sweden-Spain (Group D)

1-2. The winning goal in extra time was deserved for Spain, who started the game in a convincing way with good football and an early goal. In the second part of the first half, Sweden took over and Ibrahimovic scored the equalizer. Without Ibrahimovic, the Swedish team played to prevent a second Spanish goal after the break. Spain didn't seem to find the gap until Villa showed up.

Puyol, Xavi and Iniesta started the game. After 25 minutes, Puyol got injured and was replaced by Albiol. At the hour, Xavi and Iniesta were replaced by Cesc and Cazorla.

Xavi picked up his good performance from the first match and was perfect in his role as playmaker during the first twenty minutes, later he was marked more closely and with the Swedes going forward he had to do some more dirty work. Iniesta didn't play a good game, had again problems coming into the match and particpated very little. The defence missed Puyol as a leader when he had to leave the pitch.

Read everything about Barcelona at the Euro 2008 here

Moutinho hoping to catch Barcelona train

Asked about the rumours linking him with a summer move to Barcelona (read more here), Sporting midfielder and Portuguese international João Moutinho (21) has suggested to journalists that he hopes the transfer could go through: "Barcelona is one of those trains that only pass once in a lifetime."

Catalan sports paper Sport states that the player's buyout clause of 25 million euro° expires tomorrow, leaving the negotiations on a transfer fee totally open from that moment on.

Read more:

Villa prefers Barcelona

During a commemoration event, Barcelona sports director Txiki Begiristain has admitted that Barcelona is interested in Valencia forward and Spanish international David Villa (26) but said that a transfer will be difficult because of the high transfer fee (read more here).

Valencia president Agustín Morera said earlier this week in an interview with Spanish radio station Cadena Ser that the club doesn't have any intention to sell Villa: "He and Silva are untransferable and this is the official position of the club. They are symbols, icons of Valencia. I hope Villa will end his career with us. He is very involved with the club and would like to continue. And I don't want to talk about prices but if Barcelona has paid more than 30 million euro for Alves, I think that it's clear for everone that Villa is worth much more."

Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo claims that Villa, a known admirer of former Barcelona forward Luis Enrique, would prefer a move to Barcelona, a club that he has always supported beside local club Sporting Gijón. Despite the firm statements from the club, Valencia would have accepted the fact that Villa will leave the club.

Catalan sports paper Sport claims that Valencia would be asking 40 million euro° for the striker. With the probable transfer of Ronaldinho, Deco and Eto'o, that fee shouldn't be a problem. Villa is at this moment Barcelona's first option for the centre forward position.

Read more:
Tough and expensive Villa race coming up
Looking for a new Larsson
Barcelona keeping an eye on Valencia duo

Ex-Barça: Henk ten Cate to Panathinaikos

Two weeks after he had been dismissed as Chelsea assistant coach (read more here), former Barcelona assistant coach Henk ten Cate (53) was yesterday appointed as the new Panathinaikos manager.

The statement on the official Panathinaikos website reads as follows: "Panathinaikos announces the hiring of the Dutch Henk ten Cate as Head Coach. Mr. ten Cate signed a 2 year contract and he will arrive in Greece at the end of June for his official presentation from the club."

In a first reaction to the Greek club's official media, Ten Cate showed his satisfaction about the move: "I'm delighted to have reached an agreement with Panathinaikos FC. In my career I have been used to working at the highest level of competition and that's one of the reasons why I consider this new step to be a great challenge. Panathinaikos' organization, history, ambition and attitude towards football in general match those of the greatest football clubs in Europe, so I'm confident that we will achieve our goals. I'm looking forward to coming to Athens and meeting my players."

Henk ten Cate was the first assistant of Barcelona manager Frank Rijkaard between 2003 and 2006. He arrived from Dutch club NAC Breda where he was head coach. Three years later, Ten Cate left Barcelona to become the manager of Ajax Amsterdam. With Barcelona, Ten Cate won two consecutive Spanish league titles in 2005 and 2006, one Spanish super cup in 2005 and one Champions League in 2006.

Read more:

Read all ex-Barça stories here

Inter interested in Xavi

Catalan sports paper Sport claims that new Inter Milan manager José Mourinho would like to bring Barcelona midfielder and Spanish international Xavi Hernández (28) to Inter.

Mourinho would have put the name of Xavi forward during a meeting with Inter president Massimo Moratti earlier this week (read more here). Mourinho would even have personally contacted the entourage of the player to sound him out on a possible transfer, but a move doesn't seem to be an option for Xavi.

Despite that negative response, Inter could consider to keep on pushing for the Catalan midfielder, since Deco seems on his way to Chelsea and Lampard could be staying at the English club. Xavi would be valued at 40 million euro°.

The paper says that Mourinho already wanted to sign Xavi during his time with Chelsea but a personal meeting between the manager and the player didn't lead to a transfer because the player made clear he dreams about retiring at Barcelona (read more here).

Asked by the paper about the rumours, Xavi's agent Iván Corretja confirmed the interest of several clubs in the player but said that Xavi has no plans to leave Barcelona:

"Xavi is a player who is followed by a lot of clubs because he is playing very consistently on a high level. But the fact that we receive offers, doesn't mean that we will listen to them because he intends to stay with Barcelona. I didn't even inform him about the last proposals because with the Euro now is not the time to talk about these things. Xavi is very motivated to be part of the new project of Guardiola."

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Hleb meeting with Arsenal in London

Catalan radio station Catalunya Ràdio claims that Barcelona sports vice president Marc Ingla travelled to London yesterday to negotiate with Arsenal on the transfer of Arsenal midfielder and Belarussian international Alexander Hleb (27).

Despite the fact that Arsenal seems to firmly hold on to Hleb (read more here), whose contract expires next year, the meeting could mean that a final deal is near. Barcelona would be ready to pay maximum 15 million euro° for the player and is pressuring Arsenal with the wish of the player to join Barcelona (read more here).

Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo confirms that Hleb still is the next main transfer objective of the Barcelona technical department. Barcelona sports director Txiki Begiristain would have been holding constant telephone talks with Arsenal officials over the last week trying to reach an agreement.

Read more:
Difficult negotiations with Arsenal on Hleb
Deal with Hleb
Wenger wants Toure to replace Vieira

Friday 13 June 2008

Euro 2008: Netherlands-France (group C)

4-1. Second great win by the Dutchmen although when they score the 2-0, France had the pressure on for half an hour and deserved the 1-1. And a clear handball from Ooijer should have been a penalty. Together with that first goal against Italy, Holland seems to have the champion's luck. Three excellent goals in the second half. Best team of the tournament so far. Again very inadequate substitutions by the French coach. And how can you leave Trezeguet out for Gomis or Anelka? Apparently because he doesn't have the right zodiac sign. No joke.

Thuram, captain, and Henry, returning from injury, played the whole match. Abidal was replaced by Evra at the left back position, which could be questioned with Kuijt being the opponent on that wing.

Thuram didn't really make big mistakes but because of his lack of speed he always pulls back too easily and when you're 1-0 behind that's not what you need. Henry had a difficult first half. It seemed to change with a good move and shot just before the break, was more involved in the second half, but then an awful miss in a one-on-one with Van der Sar. Good goal afterwards (but was he on side?), nice touch. Seeing him with a big smile one minute after the end of the match, you can ask if this guy still has the hunger and motivation to go for it every game during a whole season.

Read everything about Barcelona in the Euro 2008 here

With Zambrotta officially on his way out, I won't comment the Italy games anymore (well for this once: Zambrotta again had an Old Trafford moment this evening, although he did well in general, excellent going forward)

Transfer summer 2008: Overview


Seydou Keita
former club: sevilla
age: 28
country: mali

official announcement: monday 26 may
contract duration: 4 years
transfer fee: 14 million euro
note: barcelona pays the buyout fee

Gerard Piqué
former club: manchester united
age: 21
country: catalunya, spain

official announcement: tuesday 27 may
contract duration: 4 years
transfer fee: 5 million euro (+ 2 million euro variables)

José Manuel Pinto
former club: celta vigo
age: 32
country: spain

official announcement: friday 30 may
contract duration: 2 years
transfer fee: 0 euro
note: the contract can be cancelled by both parties after one year, pinto played for barcelona on loan since january, when barcelona paid celta 500 000 euro

Martín Cáceres
former club: villareal (on loan to recreativo huelva)
age: 21
country: uruguay

official announcement: wednesday 4 june
contract duration: 4 years
transfer fee: 16,5 million euro


José Edmílson
new club: villareal
age: 31

country: brazil

barcelona player since: 2004
barcelona contract until: 2008

official announcement: friday 23 may
contract duration: 2 years
transfer fee: 0 euro
note: the contract of the player expired

Giovani dos Santos
new club: tottenham
age: 19
country: mexico

barcelona player since: 2002
barcelona contract until: 2009 (?)

official announcement: friday 6th june
contract duration: 5 years
transfer fee: 6 million euro (+ 5 million euro depending on the player’s appearances during his five years of contract)
note: when the player is transferred barcelona receives 20% of the fee during the first two years or 10% after that

Gianluca Zambrotta
new club: ac milan
age: 31
country: italy

barcelona player since: 2006
barcelona contract until: 2010

official announcement: friday 13th june
contract duration: 4 years
transfer fee: 9 million euro (+ 2 million euro depending on the qualification of AC Milan for the Champions League during the next four years)

new club: chelsea
age: 30
country: portugal (brazil)

barcelona player since: 2004
barcelona contract until: 2010

official announcement: monday 30th june
contract duration: 3 years
transfer fee: 10 million euro

OFFICIAL: Zambrotta to AC Milan

Barcelona has announced the transfer of Barcelona right back defender Gianluca Zambrotta (31) to AC Milan.

Zambrotta, whose contract with Barcelona expired in 2010, will sign a four-year contract with Milan.

Barcelona receives 9 million euro° plus 2 million euro° depending on Milan qualifying for the Champions League in the next four years.

AC Milan already announced the deal on the 31st of May.

Zambrotta arrived in Barcelona from Juventus two years ago in a package deal with Lilian Thuram (14 million euro for Zambrotta, 5 million euro for Thuram). With Barcelona, Zambrotta won one Spanish Super cup in 2006.

pep's opinion:
good transfer price. for me the most disappointing transfer since i can remember. he arrived here probably being at the same time the best right back ànd best left back defender in the world, we had a problem for years at the right back position (and maybe at the left back postion too), so the transfer looked a sure winner but in two years he added almost nothing to the team. i'm nevertheless quite sure he'll be back to a decent level in the serie a. thanks and good luck to him.

Read the whole Gianluca Zambrotta transfer story from the first rumours until the official confirmation

El FC Barcelona y el AC Milan han cerrado, este viernes, un acuerdo definitivo para el traspaso del jugador Gianluca Zambrotta al club italiano.

Gianluca Zambrotta, de 31 años, firmará un contrato con el club italiano hasta el 30 de junio del 2012. El precio de la operación es de 9 millones de euros fijos más 2 variables en función de la clasificación para la Liga de Campeones del AC Milan durante las 4 temporadas siguientes.

PSG offers Thuram two-year contract

French sports paper L'Equipe claims that French club Paris Saint-Germain will offer Barcelona central defender and French international Lilian Thuram (36) a contract for two years with a net year salary of 1,5 million euro° (read more here).

The player is considering the proposal of joining the Parisian club and has frequent contacts with PSG officials. Despite interest from Monaco, Galatasaray, Los Angeles Galaxy, Fluminense and some Qatari clubs, PSG seems like the logical destination for Thuram who wants to be closer to his family.

The contract of Thuram at Barcelona expires at the end of this month and with Barcelona not planning to offer the Frenchman a renewal (read more here), the player is free to negotiate with other clubs.

Read more:

Deal with Brazilian international Hernanes

Brazilian sports site Lancenet claims that Barcelona has reached a deal with São Paulo attacking midfielder and Brazilian international Hernanes (23). The duration of the contract and the salary would have been agreed upon.

Barcelona would already have made a first bid of 11 million euro° for the player (read more
here) but the offer was rejected by São Paulo, who is asking 20 million euro°. It is expected that the Brazilian club will drop that asking price. The player's rights are owned by São Paulo, sports marketing agency Traffic and Hernanes' agent Joseph Lee.

Brazilian football site Blog do Boleiro claims that São Paulo sports director Marco Aurélio Cunha met last week with Traffic representative Frederico Penna, who informed the club that he had the authorization to start the negotiations which could lead to Hernanes joining Barcelona.

Traffic offered São Paulo 8 million euro° for 75 per cent of the transfer rights on the player but the club didn't even want to discuss the possibility of selling the player. Hernanes would have a São Paulo buyout fee of 16 million euro°.

Asked about the rumours linking him with a summer move to Europe, Hernanes said to journalists that he can only wait and see what will happen: "I wait for a statement by São Paulo. Without that, there's no transfer."

Catalan sports paper Sport claims that Barcelona sports director Txiki Begiristain will travel to Brazil next week together with Barcelona head scout for South Amercia Pep Costa to watch the game between Brazil and Argentina and to talk directly with São Paulo officials.

Read more:
Offer for Brazilian international Hernanes

Sergio Garcia unaware of Barcelona interest

Asked about the rumours linking him with a return to Barcelona (read more here), Zaragoza forward and Spanish international Sergio García (24) said at a press conference that he's calm about the whole matter:

"The truth is that I don't know anything, but I think that it's always an honour if a club like Barcelona could be interested in transfering you. If something comes out of it, it would be great but at this moment nobody has said me anything. I have to be calm and don't loose focus, so I'm very relaxed about it and I'm only thinking about the Spanishh national team at this moment."

Read more:

Ezquerro close to joining Olympiacos

Catalan sports paper Sport claims that Barcelona left winger Santiago Ezquerro (31) is close to signing a deal with Greek champions Olympiacos, the new club of former Espanyol manager Ernesto Valverde (read more here).

The contract of Ezquerro at Barcelona expires at the end of this month and with Barcelona not planning to offer the wing attacker a renewal (read more here), the player is free to negotiate with other clubs.

Read more:

Thursday 12 June 2008

Difficult negotiations with Arsenal on Hleb

Several sources in England and Spain report that the negotiations, started on Tuesday, between Arsenal and Barcelona on the transfer of Arsenal midfielder and Belarussian international Alexander Hleb (27) are not advancing as well as expected before by Barcelona.

British tabloid The Daily Mirror claims that Barcelona launched a first bid of 10 million euro° which is far below what Arsenal would want to receive for Hleb.

British tabloid The Daily Star claims that Arsenal is asking at this moment 25 million euro° and more concretely translated this in demanding 5 million euro° plus Barcelona defensive midfielder and Ivory Coast international Yaya Touré (25) in exchange.

Barcelona would have rejected the option to include Touré in the deal (read more
here). Barcelona sports director Txiki Begiristain is quoted by the tabloid as saying: "We want Yaya to stay with us and he is not on the market. Guardiola considers him to be an important player in his new project." Catalan sports paper Sport confirms that this plan has clearly been rejected by Barcelona.

Although Bayern Munich would be preparing a 20 million euro° bid, Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo says that Barcelona is calm and patient because they already have a personal deal with Hleb (read more
here). And the experience shows that a player normally ends up playing with the team of his choice.

Hleb said earlier this week in an interview with German sports magazine Kicker that the rumours about his future are making him nervous: "All that paper talk is annoying. I have not signed anything with Bayern or Barcelona or any other club for that matter. There's so much speculation and so much talking. While I just want some peace and time to sit down with my closest friend and agent Niki Spilevski to make up my mind about my future."

Read more:
Hleb looks to be next
Swap deal including Toure and Hleb looked at
Deal with Arsenal on Hleb close

Portsmouth manager confirms Gudjohnsen interest

British local newspaper The News claims that English Premier League club Portsmouth is considering to launch a bid for Barcelona attacker and Iceland international Eidur Gudjohnsen (29) if the negotiations with Liverpool on England international Peter Crouch would fail (read more here). Gudjohnsen is thought to be available for a transfer fee of around 5 million euro°.

Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp said to the paper that Gudjohnsen could be an option: "Eidur is a good player, a proper player. It does look like he is leaving Barcelona. If that's the case he'd definitely be the type of player we'd be interested in. He's someone I know and he's good friends with my son Jamie. He's a good lad and a top player."

Asked about the matter, the player's agent and father Arnor Gudjohnsen confirmed the interest to British sports site Setanta Sports and said that a return to the Premier League is a serious option for his son although nothing is certain at this moment: "I am a little bit aware of the Portsmouth interest, it was there in January as well. Eidur is not rushing into anything at the moment, we haven’t actually been speaking to any clubs, we just know about interest in him from a few clubs.

I think Eidur is definitely looking at options to maybe go away from Barcelona. It is not definite, but football-wise he has to ask himself a few questions. Is it better for him to leave the club or to stay? I think England is strongly in the picture because he knows English football and has been there for a long time."

Read more:

Tough and expensive Villa race coming up

Catalan sports paper Sport claims that Barcelona will enter the race for Valencia forward and Spanish international David Villa (26) and will have to compete with clubs like Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham and Real Madrid (read more here).

With the transfers of Lyon forward Karim Benzema and Inter Milan forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic looking very difficult and with the club expecting to receive high transfer fees for Ronaldinho and Eto'o, Barcelona could have turned its attention to the expensive Spanish striker.

Villa, who took breakfast yesterday with his father and his agent, is aware of the interest and will take his time to make a decision about his future. The player said at a press conference that he's now fully concentrating on the European championship.

Asked about the rumours linking the players with Barcelona, Villa's agent José Luis Tamargo didn't want to enter the issue during an interview with Catalan radio station Ona FM: "I don't want to talk about the future. We've decided not to comment on who has called us or who is interested until the end of the Euro. David and I are now totally focusing on the national team. If one day something has to happen, it will happen and that's it."

Valencia sports director Juan Sánchez said to journalists that the club is waiting what's going to happen: "At this moment Villa is a Valencia player and nothing more. He's a great player, so the longer he can stay with us, the better. If some offer arrives in the future, we'll look at it then. We're not yet thinking about a transfer fee."

Catalan sport paper Sport claims that Valencia will ask 40 million euro° for Villa. Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo claims that the price was at least 25 million euro° for before the start of the European championship and that the price is been going up after the player's hattrick against Russia.

Scolari will take Deco with him to Chelsea

Portuguese sports paper Record claims that Portuguese national team coach and newly appointed Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari will take Barcelona midfielder and Portugal international Deco (30) with him to Chelsea (read more here).

British tabloid The Sun claims that Scolari has been given 125 million euro to spend during the summer. The Brazilian manager would start by signing Deco for 12,5 million euro° from Barcelona.

Asked by journalists about his future club, Deco didn't want to comment on the issue after his game at the European championship yesterday (read more here): "In a few days I will talk about my future, but now is not the time to do that."

Read more:

Palacio only wants to move to Spain

Argentinian sports paper Olé claims that Boca Juniors and the player have rejected a formal 14 million euro° offer from Lazio Roma for Boca Juniors forward and Argentinian international Rodrigo Palacio (26).

Boca wants a higher transfer fee and the player, who has been linked with Barcelona over the last weeks (read more here), would have let his club know that he only will accept to leave for a Spanish club (read more here).

Although Palacio is not really pushing for a move to Europe, Boca Juniors nevertheless thinks now is the time to sell the player because of his age and the fact his salary of 650 000 euro° is weighing on the club's budget.

Read more:

Thuram close to joining Paris Saint-Germain

French newspaper Le Parisien claims that Barcelona central defender and French international Lilian Thuram (36) is a priority of French club Paris Saint-Germain, who wants the French national team captain to become the key figure of their new project (read more here).

After a terrible season, the French club thinks that the signing of Thuram could bring some calm inside and outside the club.

Thuram will be offered to sign a contract for one, two or even more years and would after that be able to stay with the Parisian club, as member of the technical staff or as some kind of ambassador. Because of personal reasons Thuram would be ready to accept an offer (read more here).

Thuram, whose contract with Barcelona expires this summer, would already have held long talks about a possible transfer with PSG manager Paul Le Guen three weeks ago and with new PSG president Charles Villeneuve last Tuesday. The paper claims that French president Nicolas Sarkozy even raised the subject when meeting with the French squad on Monday. A new meeting with the PSG president is scheduled in the coming days.

Read more:

Pirlo in case Hleb fails

Catalan sports paper Sport claims that Barcelona is eyeing AC Milan midfielder and Italian international Andrea Pirlo (29) in case the transfer of Alexander Hleb would fail (read more here).

New Barcelona manager Josep Guardiola would strongly favour the Pirlo option. The Italian midfielder could be included in a deal on the transfer of Barcelona forward Samuel Eto'o.

Read more:

Giovani presented in Tottenham

Former Barcelona right wing attacker and Mexican international Giovani dos Santos (19) passed a medical and signed his contract with English Premier League club Tottenham earlier this week.

In an interview with the club's official website, Giovani says to be excited about his move to England: "It is a dream for me to come to a big club like Spurs. I've come here to further explore my qualities and give my all for my new team. As a young player I have come to a club where I feel there are many opportunities for me.

I have been made to feel very welcome since arriving at Spurs and everyone has been very friendly. This is clearly a big club with a lot of ambition, and I can see it growing in the future. It is great to see Spurs fans wearing the shirt on the streets of London. I came here because of the passion of the fans as well as the size of the club, and I'm very much looking forward to playing in England."

Tottenham manager Juande Ramos is looking forward to working with the player: "If Giovani progresses as we hope he will be a terrific player. This is a young player with a lot of potential, whom I have watched for some time and I am delighted he has joined the squad. For us it is an exciting signing because he has excellent quality, he operates well in different positions and, above all, is technically excellent."

And Tottenham sports director Damien Comolli is convinced the club has made a great transfer: "Giovani possesses a great combination of physical power and explosivity, along with fine technical skills. He is someone who can create and score goals. He is young but not without experience and will be a great asset for the Club. The fact we have a Spanish speaking coaching staff will help him adapt, settle quickly and I believe he has the skills to be successful in England."

Read more:

Euro 2008: Czech Republic-Portugal (group A)

1-3. The Czechs were better than you could have expected after their poor first performance against Switzerland but the individual class of the Portuguese decided the game. Moutinho was less present than during the first game.

Deco did not have the easiest game being closely followed by Polak, but he was decisive by scoring the first goal, giving a magnificent assist for the second and smartly setting up the third. Class performance. That should be 20 million euro in our books.

Read everything about Barcelona in the Euro 2008 here

Wednesday 11 June 2008

Alves will sign four-year deal

Asked about his transfer to Barcelona, Sevilla right back defender and Brazilian international Daniel 'Dani' Alves (25) reconfirmed the transfer to journalists in Brazil(read more here): "I hope to have the same success with Barcelona like I had with Sevilla the past five and a half years. I think I couldn't leave Sevilla in a better way after having won everthing with the club.'

Alves said that he will sign a four-year deal with his new club. The Brazilian will travel to Barcelona in the beginning of July to put his signature under the contract.

Read more:

Villa is Barcelona target

Catalan sports paper Sport claims that, with several other targets like Benzema, Ibrahimovic or Adebayor not being available, Valencia forward and Spanish international David Villa (26) is at this moment one of the main options of Barcelona to replace striker Samuel Eto'o (read more here).

Although Valencia officially doesn't want to let the player go, it is clear that they won't be able to keep Villa if he gets an financially interesting offer from a European top club. Barcelona is willing to push hard for the Spanish international.

Read more:

Chelsea or Inter for Deco

Asked about his future, Barcelona midfielder and Portugal international Deco (30) said in an interview with Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo that he has offers from two clubs:

"Everybody knows that at this moment I have only two options: Chelsea and Inter. No deal has been signed yet. I have excellents relations with José Mourinho and of course that has an influence. But with Ricardo Carvalho and Paulo Ferreira two of my friends play at Chelsea, where you also have Hilario and now Bosingwa. But there are a lot of other things you have to take into account."

Deco excluded there is still a chance he could stay at Barcelona (read more
here): "There is no way back. The club and I have taken the decision together, although it certainly wasn't me who asked for it. I was very comfortable in Barcelona. I always gave everything. But things are how they are and we'll leave it that way. My time with Barcelona has been incredible and I'll never forget it, but it's already history."

At a press conference Deco said that he still has two years left on his contract and that he will make a decision after the European championship.

Read more:
Deco chooses Chelsea over Inter
Deco announces his exit
Ex-Barça: Henk ten Cate

Chivu will stay with Inter

Asked about the rumours linking him with a summer move to Barcelona (read more here), Inter Milan central defender and Romanian international Cristian Chivu (27) has said at a press conference that he doesn't think about leaving Inter this summer:

"It is fantastic to hear that Pep Guardiola likes the way I play, but the truth is that at this moment my plan is to stay at Inter. I do not have news from the club or from my agent that Barcelona has made an official move for me. In the end it's gonna be José Mourinho who will decide and from the statements he made I think that the new coach counts on me. I am really looking forward to working with him."

Read more:

Guardiola and Txiki don't agree on Sergio Garcia

Catalan sports paper Sport claims that the Barcelona technical department is divided on the possible transfer of Zaragoza forward and Spanish international Sergio García (24) (read more here).

While Barcelona sports director Txiki Begiristain wouldn't be very convinced that bringing back the Barcelona youth product could be a good idea, new Barcelona manager Josep Guardiola thinks that Sergio García would be a great addition to the squad.

Sergio García has a buyout clause of 20 million euro° but Zaragoza would be willing to start talking for a transfer fee of around 12 million euro°. The player is delighted about the idea of returning to Barcelona.

Read more:

Abidal wants to stay

Asked about the rumours linking him with a move to AS Roma (read more here), Barcelona left back defender and French international Eric Abidal (28) said at a press conference yesterday that he doesn't plan to leave Barcelona in the summer:

"I will stay with Barcelona. I have signed a contract for four years, so I have three left. The press says that Abidal will go to Italy. I think that won't be the case. I will stay."

Read more:

Contact with German international Gomez

German weekly sports paper Sport Bild claims that Barcelona is interested in Stuttgart forward and German international Mario Gómez (22).

Barcelona sports director Txiki Begiristain had a positive meeting with Gómez' agent Uli Ferber last month.

New Barcelona manager Josep Guardiola would go and watch the player next week at the European championship in Austria and Switzerland.

In a reaction to the paper, the agent admitted the contacts: "Yes, they have contacted me. Mario is also in Barcelona a well-known player. They are interested but we didn't really negotiate yet because of the European championship."

Gómez, whose contract with Stuttgart expires in 2012, has a Spanish father and the double German-Spanish nationality and is a true Barcelona fan. Sport Bild claims Stuttgart plans to hold on to the striker and will certainly not let him go for a transfer fee below 30 million euro°.

Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo claims that Gómez is indeed one of the centre forward Barcelona is looking at. Because the German was last year already close to joining Barcelona, the negotiations can be picked up where they were left. Last year there would already have been a pre-agreement on a four-year deal.

Asked about the rumours surrounding him, Gómez said yesterday at a press conference that he's not thinking about at transfer right now: "Before the European championship I already said it and I can only repeat it: I will not speak and not even think about the issue. The Euro is too important for me and I cannot be busy with other things. I won't speak about club matters until the end of the tournament."

Read more:

Euro 2008: Spain-Russia (group D)

4-1. Great start by the Spaniards. Aragonés decided at the last moment to change his 4-1-4-1 by leaving out Cesc and putting Villa next to Torres and it worked. Although the Spanish defence looked sometimes unsecure and you should see what this could mean against a stronger opponent.

Puyol, Xavi and Iniesta started the game. The first two played the 90 minutes, Iniesta was replaced after one hour.

Xavi was impressive, he just ruled the whole midfield, certainly in the first half. Iniesta had to play from the right in a 4-4-2, he seemed somewhat unsettled in the beginning but when he and Xavi started to switch positions he came into the game and gave a wonderful assist for the second goal. Puyol was the best defender for me, was quite agressive and concentrated.

Read everything about Barcelona in the Euro 2008 here

Tuesday 10 June 2008

Eto'o prefers to stay

Asked about the rumours linking him with a summer move to Tottenham or Inter Milan, Barcelona forward and Cameroon international Samuel Eto'o (27) has said in an interview with Cameroonian television station CRTV that his first option still is to stay with Barcelona:

"Tottenham, and I hope the English fans will forgive me, are a club in mid-table and I need more. I cannot exclude the option of Inter, but I want to repeat that I still feel I am a Barcelona player and don't feel pressured to leave. I will think about my situation during the coming weeks. I'm aware of all the rumours surrounding my future but I insist that I have a contract with Barcelona until 2010 and that I feel great at the club."

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Pinto's first interview

Renewed Barcelona goal keeper José Manuel Pinto gave an interview to Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo last week. Some quotes:

You expected the renewal?
"There were some indications and I always kept hoping. When you give everything you can give, sooner or later you'll be rewarded for that. From the start I knew that if I worked hard, I would have a chance to stay here a little longer."

The club explained you why your contract was renewed?
"Sure. They said that they were very satisfied with my motivation, my work and my attitude, a bit of everything."

Do you think about becoming the first choice goal keeper?
"My goal is to live day by day, to live every day to the fullest. Making plans for the future is waisting the present. I give one hundred per cent in every training session, I don't worry about the rest. I'll be ready if I'll have to play."

You spoke with Jorquera?
"Of course, he was very happy for me, he congratulated me with the contract. It's gonna be a nice competition between the three goal keepers."

How is your relationship with Valdés?
"We connected very well from the start. There was a bound very soon, which isn't difficult if you're dealing with a good person. So as a team-mate, everyting is really fine. And as a player, he has great qualities. One always has things he can get better at and I try to learn from every player with whom I'm training. I've learned a lot of things from Víctor."

Read the first interview of Pinto when he came to Barcelona in January here

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Possible deal with Moutinho

Portuguese sports paper A Bola claims that Barcelona could already have reached a secret deal with Sporting midfielder and Portuguese international João Moutinho (21).

Barcelona will now contact his Portuguese club and would be preparing a 20 million euro° bid for the player (read more here). Moutinho has a buyout clause of 25 million euro° but that clause would expire on the 15th of June.

Catalan sports paper Sport claims that Barcelona will send an official to Lisbon to negotiate with Sporting officials after that date, hoping to be able to close a deal for less than the current buyout fee.

Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo claims that Sporting wants to agree on a new and higher buyout fee as soon as possible.

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Meeting with Roma on Mancini scheduled

Roma football site La Roma Siamo Noi claims that Barcelona sports director Txiki Begiristain will meet later this week with his AS Roma colleague Daniele Pradè later to discuss the transfer of Roma winger Amantino Mancini (27).

Asked about the rumours linking the Brazilian player with a move to Barcelona (read more here), Mancini's agent Gilmar Veloz didn't want to enter the issue during an interview with the site: "You need to ask Roma. I don't know what's going on with Barcelona, you should ask the clubs. I can only talk about Mancini and say that he has a contract until 2009."

Read more:
Deal with Mancini
Roma wants to swap Mancini for Abidal
Mancini alternative for Alves

Euro 2008: Netherlands-Italy (group C)

3-0. Great display by the Dutch team (together with Portugal the most convincing performance so far), although that first goal was just off-side (I know there's an interpretation that says it was not, but it's ridiculous if it's not, Panucci did not deliberately stay behind the line) and was probably decisive.

Zambrotta started as left back defender and ended the game as right back defender. Got booked. Had a tough first half against Kuyt but did well and added a lot of depth to the team going forward. This was the Italy Zambrotta, not the Barça Zambrotta. Former Barcelona left back defender Giovanni Van Bronckhorst probably played the match of his life.

Read everything about Barcelona in the Euro 2008 here

Euro 2008: Romania-France (group C)

0-0. Poor start by the Frenchmen. The team lacked creativity and it's really incredible that the coach held on to two defensive midfielders during 90 minutes. Benzema didn't convince.

Lilian Thuram (captain) and Eric Abidal started the game and played the whole match. Henry has been injured and didn't play.

Solid defensive performances by both Barcelona players. Thuram again showed that his problem at Barcelona wasn't his age but the system. Abidal added very little in attack.

Read everything about Barcelona in the Euro 2008 here

Monday 9 June 2008

Gudjohnsen wants to join West Ham

British tabloid The People claims that Barcelona attacker and Iceland international Eidur Gudjohnsen (29) has decided that he wants to move to West Ham and would have revealed that last weekend to Icelandic journalists (read more here).

With Newcastle also very interested in the player (read more here), Gudjohnsen would prefer West Ham because he is keen to return to London and because he has a good relationship with West Ham's Icelandic president Björgólfur Gudmundsson.

Gudjohnsen, who joined Barcelona arriving from Chelsea in the summer of 2006 and whose current contract expires in 2010, would be able to leave Barcelona for a transfer fee of 5 million euro°.

Catalan sports paper Sport claims that, besides Oleguer (read more here), former Barcelona assistant coach Henk ten Cate would be interested in bringing Gudjohnsen to Panathinaikos.

It is nevertheless little probable that the Greek club can compete with the financial power of the interested Premier League teams. Gudjohnsen also wouldn't be willing to move to Athens and wouldn't even exclude to stay another year in Barcelona.

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