Saturday 27 June 2009

Video of the day: Xavi

Car of the day: Audi Q7

Barcelona has decided that, as an additional reward for the treble, the Barcelona players will be able to keep the car they were able to use this season. Barcelona is sponsored by Audi and most players chose the Q7 model although some are also using the A3 or A4 model.

Quote of the day: Iniesta

I'm a fan of Real Madrid.

Andrés Iniesta, Barcelona player,
when he was eleven years old

Possible future friendly game in Kuwait

Catalan sports paper Sport reports that a Kuwaiti delegation visited the Camp Nou offices on Friday morning.

The men said they had an appointment with Barcelona president Joan Laporta. The paper suggests that they came to negotiate some business deal or to talk about a friendly game in the Arab country (read more here).

Read more:
There won't be a post-season tour
Possible tour in Asia before end of the season

Deportivo rejects bid for Filipe

Deportivo La Coruña president Augusto César Lendoiro has said at a press conference that his club has rejected an 8 million euro° bid by Barcelona for Deportivo left back defender Filipe Luis (23):

"There's no deal. I've informed the agent of the player and an intermediary that if the player would decide to leave for another team, this issue should be solved immediately. We don't want to let him go because it's difficult to find a substitute on the market."

Lendoiro had yesterday evening a dinner with the player's agent José Carlos Lages, who had arrived earlier that day from São Paulo, to discuss the situation of the Brazilian left back defender.

Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo claims that Lendoiro told Lages that he's only willing to let Filipe go for the buyout clause of 20 million euro°. The agent will now reportedly inform Barcelona about the meeting and the two clubs are expected to directly talk with each other from now on. Barcelona would want to offer 10 million euro° plus a player.

A Coruña local newspaper La Opinión A Coruña, that says that intermediary Juan Figer also took part in the meeting, claims that Deportivo wants to hold on to the player and that he will only leave for the buyout clause or a fee close to that. Atlético Madrid, Olympique Lyon and Juventus would also be interested.

Madrid sports paper
As claims that Lages made clear that Filipe prefers to join Barcelona. While Deportivo would be willing to drop to 15 million euro°, Barcelona would have offered 10 million euro°. A deal could be found around 12-13 million euro°. Deportivo would have offered to include Barcelona players Pedro (21) or Víctor Sánchez (21) but Barcelona manager Josep Guardiola would count on the players, especially on Pedro, for next season.

Catalan sports paper
Sport claims that it's Figer, one of the two agents of Filipe, who is most involved in the talks since Deportivo still has to pay him 700 000 euro from Filipe's transfer. Barcelona would have offered 8 million euro°, while Deportivo has asked for 10 million euro° plus the loan of one player. Catalan television channel TV3 claims that Barcelona has put a limit of 9 million euro°.

Read more:
Filipe could sign five-year deal on Monday
Barcelona has been in contact with 22 players
Deportivo asking too much for left back Filipe

Piqué: "I hope to become a symbol"

Barcelona player Gerard Piqué gave an interview to Catalan sports paper Sport.

One year ago you joined Barcelona. You've already realized what happened since then?
It's difficult. It has been a fantastic year. We've more than reached all of our goals. The team has again connected with the fans. When you think about all that, you feel proud to be part of this, but you cannot stop. You have to take into account that another year is coming with six titles to play for.

What has been your best memory of this season?
There are a lot. The goal of Iniesta in the 93rd minute will always be remembered, the 2-6 and all the trophies, with the finals in Rome and Valencia. Chosing one thing is not easy, but I'll stick with the goal of Andrés.

It seems that, on the other hand, you didn't have any bad moments.
I sure had some. Losing against Espanyol at home was a serious blow. I remember that, despite the fact that we kept on being leaders, losing a derby is always hard. The 4-3 in the Calderón also hurt, but it's true that I would like to have as few bad moments like that each season.

How do you deal with the fact that you're already something of a Barça symbol?
Well, a symbol is somehow exaggerated. It's true that from the start I connected well with the fans. Being a culé since I was little allows me to understand the importance of FC Barcelona. But that doesn't mean I consider myself as being a symbol. Puyol and Xavi are symbols, they can already look back at a long career. I hope to become a symbol in the future.

Maybe the fans like you so much because they can imagine you celebrating with them at Canaletes?
Before, I often went to Canaletes to celebrate, but now I have to celebrate with the team... At the beginning, nobody believed in us but we surpassed all expectations and we deserved everything we won.

You can now only do better by winning the Champions League at the Bernabéu?
That's a goal. We're the current champions, so we will start as favourites. Playing the final at the Bernabéu is something to take into account, something special, it adds something extra, but you have to go step by step.

You agree that winning 2-6 at the Bernabéu is the same as winning a trophy?
Some people did see it that way. Although it's only three points in a league game, it gave us a mental push so we started the last series of games with a lot of strength. After the 2-6, there was the Chelsea game, that we won in minute 93. There were so much emotions that the team couldn't stop to think about the result in Madrid until now.

You're aware that people will talk about this 2-6 for many years, like people are for example still talking about the 0-5?
History is based on very important events and 2-6 is one of those. I feel proud to have been in the starting eleven and to have contributed.

You pulling your shirt after the sixth goal was the summary of the game.
It can't get much better than that. The goal didn't give us the victory because the game was over already, but it make the result even bigger.

this was the first part of this interview, you will be able to read the second part kin the coming days.

Read more:
Pique: "Classical music makes me fall asleep"
The merging paths of Pique and Busquets
Pique rejected Madrid offer

Palmeiras and Keirrison confirm Barcelona interest

Everything seems to indicate that Palmeiras forward Keirrison (20) will join Barcelona in the coming days (read more here).

Brazilian club Palmeiras yesterday announced in an official statement that Barcelona has made a concrete bid for the player on Friday morning. Although the negotiations are still ongoing, Keirrison won't take part in this weekend's leage game against Santos and won't return to action until his situation is clear.

The player confirmed in a statement on his official website yesterday that he won't play with Palmeiras on Sunday because of the concrete and formal interest of Barcelona to sign him. As long as the negotiations with Barcelona are ongoing, the player will train on his own.

Palmeiras manager Wanderlei Luxemburg has meanwhile been dismissed, supposedly because he had been talking about the negotiations on his blog and had said on his twitter account that Keirrison wouldn't play anymore for Palmeiras, even if the transfer to Barcelona in the end wouldn't go through.

Read more:
Deal on transfer of Keirrison
Barcelona has been in contact with 22 players
Barcelona could include Keirrison in Villa deal

Spain wants to give up Barcelona style

Del Bosque:
Master, we've made the tiki-taca Spain with the Barcelona dwarfs fail.

Now you can start calling-up Raúl, Guti and Michel Salgado...

(click the cartoon to enlarge)


see more cartoons here

Stage new U2 tour revealed at Camp Nou

Yesterday, the stage that will be used for the new world tour of Irish rock band U2 was revealed to the press. U2 will open their new "360°" tour at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on Tuesday 30 June.

The stage will be located in the centre of the stadium and there has been tried to create a 360º vision, which is unique in an open-top location and has involved extraordinary engineering difficulties. The stage is 78 metres wide and 50 high, weighing 180 tons in total. The stage architect, Mark Fisher said he feels honoured that the lines of his creation have been compared to Catalan architect Gaudí.

Eto'o holding talks with Manchester City

Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo claims that Barcelona forward and Cameroon international Samuel Eto'o (28) has started negotiating with Manchester City (read more here).

Eto'o would have rejected to talk with the English Premier League club for months but would now see that he hasn't a future at Barcelona anymore. Eto'o, whose current contract with Barcelona expires in 2010, has reportedly asked for a four or five-year contract.

Manchester City would have offered a transfer fee of 30 million euro° and while Barcelona had initially valued the player at 35 million euro, they would be willing to accept the bid.

Madrid sports tabloid As nevertheless claims that it looks like Eto'o will stay because he don't want to join Manchester City, which is the only club who is ready to pay what Barcelona and Eto'o ask, since the English club won't play European football next season.

Barcelona site Pelikano claims that Eto'o isn't happy with the attitude of Barcelona because Barcelona president Joan Laporta has said several times over the past weeks that the club wants to renew the player while on the one hand he didn't yet receive any renewal offer and on the other hand the club seems to have been offering the player to several clubs.

Read more:
Barcelona hopes Eto'o will retire at the club
Top players want to know about their future
The report of Txiki (3) : 60 million for Eto'o

Youth: Barcelona signs Las Palmas talent Alejandro

Spanish football site Airfútbol claims that Barcelona has signed Las Palmas Cadete B attacking midfielder Alejandro Rodríguez (born in 1994).

Alejandro has travelled to Barcelona with his parents and his agent Abián Moreno to see the installations of the club. In August, he'll return to Barcelona to close the four-year deal. Real Madrid was also interested in the player.

Read more:
Youth: Barcelona signs Georgian talent Giorgi
Youth: Five-year old will be testing next month
Youth: Barcelona following Napoli talent Marciano

Watch a video of Alejandro here:

Guardiola agrees with Caceres loan to Zaragoza

Madrid sports tabloid As claims that Barcelona manager Josep Guardiola has yesterday given the green light for the loan of central defender and Uruguay international Martín Cáceres (22) to Zaragoza.

Zaragoza reportedly wants to officially announce the transfer next week. After the deal with Barcelona, the newly promoted club will have to hold a last meeting with the player's agent Daniel Fonseca, who will travel from Italy to Spain in the coming hours.

The contract is expected to be signed on Tuesday or Wednesday. A buy option won't be included in the loan deal, also beause Zaragoza doesn't have the financial means to sign the defender.

Aragon regional newspaper El Periódico de Aragón claims that Barcelona is still not excluding to including Cáceres in the transfer of Valancia forward Villa (read more here
) but that everything nonetheless indicates that the defender will join Zaragoza on loan. Cáceres would have agreed with the move.

Read more:
Agent Caceres confirms Zaragoza interest
Barcelona president makes new bid for Villa
Caceres rejects Marseille interest

[2008] Heart problem could cause end of Thuram's career

this post was published exactly one year ago:

While the French media believed a transfer would be made public, Barcelona central defender Lilian Thuram (36) has announced today at a press conference in Paris that during the medical tests prior to the player signing for French club Paris Saint-Germain (read more here) the doctors have detected a problem with his heart:

"When I'm holding this press conference, it's sadly not to announce my transfer to Paris Saint-Germain, but to tell you that the doctors have found a heart malformation. It seems like it could be the same problem my brother had and which has cost him his life on a basketball court."

Thuram will now wait for the complete results of the tests, which will be available in one month time. After that the Frenchman will decide if he will continue his career or not.

Read more 27 June 2008 news:
Russian energy company considering Messi bid
Caceres presented
Guardiola convinced Marquez to stay
Eto'o wants to talk with Guardiola

Barcelona presidential candidate working on Cesc transfer

Madrid sports tabloid As claims that former Barcelons sports vice-president Sandro Rosell, who will be a candidate in next year's presidential elections, is working on the transfer of Arsenal midfielder and Spanish international Cesc Fàbregas (22).

Rosell would be discretely negotiating on possible transfers and Cesc would be one of the main names on his list. The Catalan midfielder, whose contract at Arsenal expires in 2014, would like to return to Barcelona after the World Cup in 2010.

Then vice-president Rosell worked hard back in 2003 to get a first option on Cesc if Arsenal would decide to sell the player (read more here).

Read more:
Cesc wants to continue at Arsenal
Possible next Barcelona president wants Aguero
Cesc rejects Madrid because of Barça dream

Melo is still an option to strengthen midfield

Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo claims that Barcelona is still monitoring the situation of Fiorentina defensive midfielder and Brazilian international Felipe Melo (25).

Barcelona wants to sign a midfielder this summer and Melo is, besides Liverpool player Javier Mascherano and AS Roma player Daniele De Rossi, the third name on the list (read more here).

Inter, Juventus, Arsenal, Manchester City and Real Madrid would also be interested in melo, whose contract with Fiorentina expires in 2012 and whose transfer fee would at least be 20 million euro°.

Read more:
Montolivo dismisses Barcelona rumours
Guardiola talks with Mascherano
Agent Frey dismisses Barcelona interest

Friday 26 June 2009

What Barcelona Should Do This Transfer Summer

With La Blaugrana's transfer kitty of 30-35 million euros and sporting director Txiki Begiristain's assertion that he intends to buy three or four quality players, it seems it is going to be a summer of both entries and exits at the Camp Nou.

Last season, we had seen a strenghtening of the full-back and defensive midfield areas with the signings of Dani Alves and Seydou Keita respectively. Both these players went on to perform well and contributed in no small part to the treble success.

However, the other two signings of Aliaksandr Hleb and Martin Caceres can mildly be called "flops", with neither of the two players really able to contribute on the pitch.

As a treble winning team, it seems difficult to envisage that Barcelona have any weak links. But over the course of last season, careful observation reveals the following chinks in Barcelona's armor:

Defense: This season's major concern for Barcelona has been the lack of defensive cover, especially in the left back area, where Abidal and Sylvinho are the only players that Barcelona had.

With Milito injured and Caceres unpredictable, there were only three reliable candidates for the CB role, Pique, Puyol and Marquez. And with Marquez injured and Alves suspended for the Champions League final, it was left to Yaya Toure and Pique to fill in the CB slots while Puyol covered in for RB.

Luckily Alves never got injured last season, but Barcelona cannot rely on luck for another year. The defense has to be strengthened in this window, and it is the absolute priority.

Eto'o: Pichichi runner up and scorer in the Champions League final. With that on his CV, it seems hard on Eto'o to call him a weak link. But it is true, that for the last three months of the season, the only way Eto'o seemed to be able to score was if the goal was handed to him on a platter.

Sorry, that sort of finishing cannot be acceptable at this level. Particularly poor games of his include the 2-1 away defeat against Mallorca, during which his performance was atrocious. Barcelona need to get rid of him, and quickly.

The left flank: Henry has been really good this season, no doubt about it, none at all. But once again, what happened when he got injured? Barcelona shifted Iniesta to LW and had to shuffle around the strongest midfield in Europe. Not ideal.

Which brings us to whom Barcelona have to buy. With the first eleven looking pretty strong, it is my belief that Barcelona should focus mainly on buying a quality striker, a brilliant left back, and one player to cover in midfield. The ideal candidates for these roles are:

David Villa (striker): Villa is a consistent striker with lots of goals in him. Despite being in an average club like Valencia, he managed to get himself to third on the scoring charts. A top draw buy for a club that has two aging strikers in Eto'o and Henry. Price: 50 million euros plus Bojan, Caceres (loan).

Yuri Zhirkov (Left Back/Wing): "Russian Ronaldinho", enough said. Zhirkov is a brilliant player and would solve Barcelona's left wing woes. He can play at left wing or at left fullback.

Having him would have another advantage because then Alves on the right flank could be given a few games off while Zhirkov would create havoc, similar to what Alves creates, down the left wing, and also keep to Barca's style of having one wing back patrolling up and down and the other three defenders sitting back to cover him. A great purchase for 25 million euros.

Filipe Luis (Left Back, second option): In case CSKA Moscow are unwilling to let Zhirkov leave this summer, Filipe is a good replacement. He is a Deportivo La Coruna left back, Brazilian, 23 years of age.

The disadvantage of having Filipe is that Alves would have to work far harder throughout next season, because he is not a wing back, but a purely defensive player. Nevertheless, he would be a good purchase for less than half the price of Zhirkov. Price: 10-12 million euros.

Javier Mascherano (Midfielder): A brilliant signing in all respects. Masch can play as a DM or a CM. He would provide the perfect fall back plan during the month long African Cup of Nations which will see Yaya Toure and Seydou Keita away on national duty.

He also provides a lot of rotation options for midfield, without actually weakening it in any way. But a hurdle, and a major one at that, is his price. Rafael Benitez is refusing to let him go for less than 50 million.

Players out:

Samuel Eto'o: Sorry, but with his inconsistent form, refusal to sign a new contract and ridiculous behaviour on and off the pitch, he has to leave. Txiki Begiristain has recently placed a tag of 60 million on his head, but I think a more realistic figure would be 25-30 million euros.

Aliaksandr Hleb: Done nothing of note at all. It would be a big risk to keep him. His role at the club is so insignificant now, that he was not included in the Champions League final lineup. Youth players Muniesa and Botia were selected ahead of him, so his time is definitely at an end. Price: 10-15 million euros

Eidur Gudjohnsen: His peak has been reached, and now he is no more than a squad player really. He has also made barely any contribution this season. There is no real chance of him having any future at the club.

Jorquera: No future at the club, with Valdes renewing his contract and Pinto doing very well in Copa games.

Bojan and Caceres (loan): Bojan on loan is reportedly the reason why Valencia are willing to accept the deal for David Villa.

By: Anurag

Deal on transfer of Keirrison

Catalan television channel TV3 claims that there's a deal on the transfer of Palmeiras forward Keirrison (20) to Barcelona.

Barcelona would have used the first option they had to buy Keirrison and paid a transfer fee of 13 million euro° plus 3 million euro° incentives. The Brazilian stiker would sign his contract in the coming days.

It's nevertheless not yet clear what the final destination of Keirrison will be since Barceloan is expected to try to include the player in another transfer deal, which means the Brazilian could end up at Valencia (Villa), Atlético Madrid (Forlán) or Porti (Bruno Alves).

(full story tomorrow)

Watch a video of Keirrison:

OFFICIAL: Toure renews until 2012

Barcelona has today officially announced that Barcelona defensive midfielder and Ivorian international Yaya Touré (26) has signed this evening a contract renewal that will link him to the club until 2012. The buyout clause of the player is raised from 60 to 100 million euro°.

Barcelona president Joan Laporta, the player's representative Dimitri Seluk, Barcelona sports vice-president Rafael Yuste, Barcelona economic vice-president Joan Boix, Barcelona sports director Txiki Begiristain and Barcelona general director of football Raül Sanllehí assisted the signature of the player.

Yaya Touré, whose current contract expired in 2011, joined Barcelona in the summer of 2007 arriving from French club Monaco.

Read more:
OFFICIAL: Busquets renews until 2013
OFFICIAL: Xavi renews until 2014
OFFICIAL: Bojan renews until 2013

Ex-Barça: Saviola to Benfica

Portuguese club Benfica has officially announced the transfer of former Barcelona forward Javier Saviola (27).

The Argentinian striker will sign a three-year contract with an option for another year at Benfica, who will pay 5 million euro for the transfer. Real Madrid has offically confirmed the transfer.

Javier Saviola joined Barcelona in the summer of 2001, arriving from Argentinian club River Plate. During the 2004-2005 season, he played on loan at Monaco, the next season at Sevilla. He left Barcelona on a free transfer in 2007 and joined Real Madrid.

Read more:
Transfer history: Saviola
Ex-Barça: Cruyff to Valletta
Ex-Barça: Rijkaard to Galatasary

Deal on renewal Toure

Dimitri Seluk, the agent of Barcelona defensive midfielder and Ivorian international Yaya Touré (26), has told journalists after a meeting with Barcelona sports director Txiki Begiristain this afternoon that a deal on a contract renewal has been reached.

Seluk, who travelled from Monaco to Barcelona earlier today, said that he will return later today to the Camp Nou offices together with Touré to sign the new contract.

Catalan sports paper
Sport claims that, besides a considerable pay rise, the contract of the Ivorian will be extended for at least one more year. Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo claims that the current duration, until 2011, will not change.

Read more:
Total deal on contract renewal Toure
Meeting on Mascherano in Barcelona
Manchester United wants to sign Toure

Filipe could sign five-year deal on Monday

Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo claims that Deportivo La Coruña left back defender Filipe Luis (23) is expected to travel to Barcelona on Monday.

It is believed that Barcelona sports director Txiki Begiristain and Barcelona director of football Raúl Sanllehí and Deportivo president Augusto César Lendoiro will find a deal on the transfer in the coming days.

Filipe would then undergo the medical tests and sign a five-year contract on Monday and be presented the next day.

Read more:
Deportivo asking too much for left back Filipe
Barcelona has been in contact with 22 players
Filipe: "I'm totally prepared for the pressure"

Cesc repeats he wants to stay at Arsenal

Asked about the new rumours linking him with an exit (read more here), Arsenal midfielder and Spanish international Cesc Fàbregas (22) has said in an interview with his club's offical media that he has no intention of leaving:

"I'm not sure how many times I need to talk directly about my commitment to Arsenal as I continue to say the same thing over and over again, but it appears that every time I have spoken to the Spanish media recently, my words have bounced back to England, leaving question marks about my future.

So, for anyone who is unclear or may have misunderstood what my position is, let me make myself absolutely crystal clear. I am wholeheartedly committed to Arsenal and my future lies with this great Club.

It is a fact that we have not won a trophy for four years and yes, I am angry about that, but that anger stems from the deep deep desire I have to win things with Arsenal. I care about this Club and believe in this team. I am proud to captain this team and proud to wear the shirt.

It really upsets me when people express my thoughts otherwise. The spirit in this squad is fantastic and we have the ability and mentality to compete on all fronts for silverware. Make no mistake, we are focussed and determined to show that we are capable of achieving great things together."

Read more:
Cesc wants to continue at Arsenal
Barcelona wants Cesc and four other players
Cesc wants to start winning titles

Seven Juvenil players promoted to Barça B

Catalan sports paper Sport claims that seven Juvenil A players will be promoted to Barcelona Atlètic next season:

central defender Marc Muniesa (17), left back defender Planas (18), defensive midfielder Oriol Romeu (17), midfielder Polaco (19), attacking midfielder Jonathan dos Santos (19 - picture), winger José Luis (18) and centre forward Rubén Rochina (18).

The paper claims that Barcelona manager Josep Guardiola is closely following Muniesa and Jonathan, the brother of former Barcelona player Giovani. Besides the seven mentioned players, three other players would start the pre-season with the B-team and might stay depending upon their performances: right back defender Martín Montoya (18), midfielder Maestre (18) and wing attacker Ilie (18).

Read more:
Barcelona's Spanish U-17 Stars
Barça B: An introduction to Ruben Rochina
English and Italian clubs monitoring Barça youth

Michael Jackson performed at the Camp Nou

On 9 August 1988, American pop singer Michael Jackson performed at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona.
With 90 000 fans, it was the most attended concert of his "Bad" World Tour.
Jackson was at the top of his career at that point. Yesterday, he died in Los Angeles at the age of 50.

International: Alves qualifies Brazil for final

Brazil qualified yesterday for the final of the Confederations Cup. Barcelona player Dani Alves came in ten minutes before the end of the game and scored the winning goal.

Agents Ashley Young confirm Barcelona contacts

Catalan sports paper Sport claims that the agents of Aston Villa winger Ashley Young (23) have confirmed that there have been contacts with Barcelona (read more here).

Barcelona would have turned to Young when the transfers of Ribéry and Robinho became unlikely. Aston Villa is nevertheless asking too much for the English winger and with Barcelona not willing to pay the 30 million euro° fee, they are now looking at other options.

Read more:
Hleb could be included in Ashley Young bid
Four English clubs ask for Gudjohnsen
Ashley Young another option for the left wing

Aston Villa wants to sign Gudjohnsen

Catalan sports paper Sport claims that Aston Villa is the English Premier League club that is most interested in Barcelona attacker and Iceland international Eidur Gudjohnsen (30), whose contract expires next year (read more here).

Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill reportedly thinks that Gudjohnsen could be a key figure in his new project and asked his club to go after the player. Aston Villa believes they could sign Gudjohnsen for a fee of around 3,5 million euro°.

Read more:
Besiktas considering an offer for Gudjohnsen
Gudjohnsen still thinking about future
Four English clubs ask for Gudjohnsen

Barcelona rules the planet

(click the cartoon to enlarge)


see more cartoons here

[2008] Formal offer for Arshavin

this post was published exactly one year ago:

Asked about a possible summer transfer of Zenit Saint Petersburg forward and Russian international Andrei Arshavin (27), Zenit sports director Konstantin Sarsania has confirmed in an interview with Russian sports paper Sovietski Sport that Barcelona has launched a first bid:

"Barcelona has made a formal proposal to Zenit for the transfer of Arshavin. But we will only discuss it once Andrei returns to Zenit." The paper claims that Zenit would agree on letting Arshavin go for 15 million euro°.

Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo even claims that an agreement between all parties was already found back in April. The deal will be made public after the European championships. Barcelona would pay Zenit 15 million euro°.

Since Barcelona talked directly to the player, the only remaining problem could be that agents or intermediaries show up. Arshavin reconfirmed yesterday to the paper that he would like to join Barcelona and that the Liga is his favourite league.

Asked about the rumours linking Arsahavin with a summer move to Barcelona, Barcelona economic vice president Ferran Soriano admitted in an interview with Catalan radio station RAC 1 that Barcelona has been interested in the player for a while now:

"It's true that we are interested in Arshavin. But our interest hasn't started recently since we're already following the player for several months in a discrete way. We watched him against Bayer Leverkusen back in April and then we thought his best position was in the centre. But now it has been proven that he can play on the wing and that's exactly the profile we're looking for. But since all teams want him now, I don't think it will be easy to sign him."

Catalan sports paper Sport claims that during a yesterday meeting of the so-called Comisión Delegada (a club committee consisting of the most important board members and the highest ranked management representatives) the transfer strategy for the next weeks has been established.

Arshavin is, together with Adebayor, the main objective but Barcelona sports vice president Marc Ingla and Barcelona sports director Txiki Begiristain won't move until Russia has been eliminated from the Euro. The club would nevertheless already have information about the transfer fee asked by Zenit and the salary asked by the player.

Barcelona would already have been following Arshavin for several months, namely since Zenit manager Dick Advocaat talked about the player with Barcelona assistant coach Johan Neeskens which lead Barcelona manager Frank Rijkaard to ask the club for scouting reports on the Russian.

Dennis Lachter, the presumed agent of Arshavin, denied during an interview with Catalan radio station COM Ràdio that he has already talked with Barcelona: "It's very unlikely that Arshavin will continue with Zenit. At this moment we have received seven proposals and we'll see what will happen after the Euro. Despite everything that has been talked about in the last days, I didn't hear anything from Barcelona."

In an interview with Spanish television station La Sexta, Lachter said: "The time has come for the player to look for new challenges and this could be his big chance to leave Russia. And it doesn't only have to do with money or with great clubs. That's important but it's also important who his coach will be, how the coach wants him to play, where the coach will put him, which other players are there in the squad for his position. Andrei will take all of that into consideration.

Nobody has called me for now, not even Barcelona. And Zenit wants to hold on to the player since he's their most important man. They won't have any problem to offer him the same as the big clubs will do. A transfer to Barcelona will mainly depend on the interest of Barcelona and the will of the player to play there.
If he leaves, I think the transfer fee could be around 25 million euro°."

Russian player's agent Alexei Safonov gave his view in an interview with Russian radio station Business FM: "Zenit has received more than five proposals from England and France, but Arshavin wants to go to Spain cause the football there is suited for him. His transfer price is around 20 million euro°."

Both main Catalan sports papers meanwhile agree that it looks like the Barcelona attacking line could next season well look like (from right to left): Messi - Adebayor - Arshavin.

Read more 26 June 2008 news:
At least three more transfers coming up
Sao Paulo holding on to Hernanes buyout fee
Keita presented

Henry could join New York Red Bulls in 2011

Asked about the rumours linking him with a move to Major League Soccer team New York Red Bulls (read more here), Barcelona forward and French international Thierry Henry (31) told journalists that this could be an option in a few years time:

"You can never know but the truth is that it's very likely. I think it will be. You never know but yes, I think it will be. I have a contract for four years. I have more years on my contract, so I was always staying for now. I was never leaving. But it might be possible in 2011. I will stay at Barcelona for the two more years I have left and then I will leave."

Read more:
Manchester City working on Henry transfer
Henry could be put for sale in the summer
Can pay rise convince Henry?

Agent Caceres confirms Zaragoza interest

Asked about the rumours linking Barcelona central defender Barcelona central defender and Uruguay international Martín Cáceres (22) with a loan move to Zaragoza (read more here), the player's agent Daniel Fonseca said in an interview with Aragon regional newspaper El Periódico de Aragón that this could be an option:

"I know about the interest, but there's not only Zaragoza, also other teams are interested. I want to wait until he comes back from holidays on 10 July. I can then talk calmly with him and with Barcelona. We're not in a hurry.

Martín needs to play and he will play. If Guardiola cannot find him a place in the team, we'll look at other options. Zaragoza would sure be a nice place for him. Because of the history and the possibilities, it's a great club and I'm happy they have returned to the Liga."

The paper claims that Cáceres, who would prefer to stay in Spain, has also been sounded out by Galatasaray, Celtic Glasgow and Sporting Gijón.

Read more:
Zaragoza wants Caceres on loan
Galatasaray interested in four Barcelona players
Caceres doesn"t want to leave on loan

Barcelona could include Keirrison in Villa deal

Catalan radio station RAC 1 claims that Barcelona could try to include Palmeiras forward Keirrison (20) in the transfer of Valencia forward and Spanish international David Villa (28).

Barcelona would have a first option on the Brazilian striker and would be considering to sign the player to include him afterwards in the deal on Villa. Valencia would nevertheless not be interested in the player.

Catalan sports paper Sport claims that Barcelona sports director Txiki Begiristain met yesterday with André Cury, the head of sports marketing agency Traffic that owns the transfer rights of Keirrison. A transfer fee of between 10 and 15 million euro° would have been put forward.

Asked about the rumours, Palmeiras sports director Toninho Cecílio said in an interview with Brazilian sports paper Lance that a transfer is not an option at the moment: "We shouldn't be answering this type of questions the whole time. We know how to deal with this, we know that is normal because he's a very good player, but the club wants to win trophies and the sale of Keirrison isn't an issue for now. He has signed for four years and we plan to keep him. We will only sell when the club and his agency think it's a good deal. Our president Belluzzo has to sign too and that's not close to happen at this moment."

Read more:
Barcelona met with Keirrison last week
Barcelona makes new bid for Villa
Principal agreement with Keirrison

Thursday 25 June 2009

Messi: "I never dreamed of all this"

Barcelona player Lionel Messi gave an interview to Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo.

What sporting wish would you like to make for your birthday?
There are two. On the one hand, for Barça to make people happy again with more titles. And on the other, for Argentina to win this World Cup everyone wants so much.

Can you see yourself celebrating your 23rd birthday as the best player in the world, having retained all three trophies with Barcelona?
I can see myself being part of a team doing well in all competitions and wanting to keep making history.

In other words next season there’s the dream of winning even more than the triplete...
We can dream of another triplete, although it will be very difficult.

How much of what's happened to you did you dream of ten years ago, when you were still fighting against your growth hormone deficiency?
To tell the truth, I never dreamed of all this, although I always wanted it to happen.

Relaxing, surrounded by a loving family: is that the best way to recharge the batteries after such a demanding season?
I spend as much time as possible with my family. There aren't many things that make me that happy. They support me, look after me and give me the care I need to go back in the best condition possible. This year I'll spend as much time with them as I can.

Changing topic slightly, do you think it’s immoral paying 94 million for Cristiano Ronaldo?
There's a club that sells, and another club that buys, and that's it. I'm not going to enter into the debate because it's not my business, I just play football.

How did you react when you found out?
No big deal, I’d never heard of that kind of money for a player before, but like I already said, it’s not my business.

This amount of money would tempt anyone. Not you?
This amount of money goes to the selling club, not the footballer. So however tempting the sum may be, the player doesn't feel it.

Who will be better, the Barça of the triplete or the Madrid of Florentino's chequebook?
We'll see. It looks like Madrid will have a great group of players, but so do we, and we will next season too.

Who's better, Kaká or Iniesta?
They're different, they have different skills. Andrés is a 'crack', and Kaká the same, but in his own way.

Would you like to play with Mascherano next season?
Hey, who wouldn't like to be on the same team as great players like Javier? I would love for him to come.

Does it worry you that Barça still hasn't signed anyone?
No, not even slightly. We have a team that's won three trophies, which is not exactly a small achievement, right? That means we are one of the best and so far no one can deny that.

translated by: iniestar

Barcelona makes new bid for Villa

Several Spanish media report that the interest of Barcelona in Valencia forward and Spanish international David Villa (28) is back on and that the player wants to join Barcelona next season.

Spanish radio station Onda Cero claims that Barcelona has made a bid of 35-40 mlillion euro°. Barcelona president Joan Laporta, Barcelona sports director Txiki Begiristain and Barcelona manager Josep Guardiola would also all three have contacted Villa to say that they were counting on him and asking him to be patient.

Catalan sports paper Sport claims that Barcelona will offer 42 million euro° plus 3 million euro° in incentives. There would have been intense contact with the player's agent José Luis Tamargo over the last days and there is reportedly a deal on the basic elements of a contract.

Catalan spotrs paper El Mundo Deportivo claims that Barcelona will start with an offer of 40 million euro° but would be prepared to raise that to 45 million euro°, while Valenica is at this moment asking 50 million euro. Valencia regional newspaper Las Provincias claims that Barcelona has made an offer of 42 million euro°.

Madrid sports tabloid Marca claims that Barcelona has made a bid of 43 million euro°. Barcelona president Joan Laporta would have offered the fee last Friday. Villa and Barcelona would already have a principal agreement since December last year when Barcelona sports director Txiki Begiristian and Barcelona director of football Raúl Sanllehí met with the agent of the player.

Read more:
Villa is not for sale
The report of Txiki (3) : 60 million for Eto'o
Guardiola wants Villa

Xavi: "The Liga will be the best in the world now"

Barcelona player Xavi gave an interview to Madrid sports tabloid As.

This year you were chosen as the best player in the two most important games of the year, the final of the Europeans championships and the final of the Champions League: you deserve the Ballon d'Or.
Well, thanks a lot. I won't lie: it would be great to get recognized by getting a trophy like that. But it's even more important to win titles with Barça or the national team. That's what keeps me going. I need my team-mates, I'm at my best as member of a team. In fact, my thing is help others wins than Ballon d'Or, rather than winning it myself.

Don't be so modest. People agree that you're the best player in the world at your position.
Individual trophies almost always are given to players who can decide a game with one single action, players like Messi, Cristiano or Fernando Torres. I can also do that now and then, but I'm better at assisting others. My thing is to connect with others and that's possibly why it's harder to win those prizes.

How is Iniesta doing?
His injury is going well and we miss him.

What is it about Iniesta?
He has everything. He makes a team play and he's also capable of doing what the others do that I've mentioned before. Andrés is also a candidate for the Ballon d'Or. He's my companion, I always look for him on the pitch and he's the one I most like to link up with.

What will Kaká and Cristiano add to the Liga?
With them and Barça, the Liga will be the best league in the world. It's a good thing for everyone. For us, we're going to have more competition now, for the fans, for the press. Next season will be exciting. I'm preferring Iniesta and Messi but Cristiano and Kaká aren't bad either...

Barça will go for another treble?
We'll try to again win trophies. We have three more titles we're competing for: the World cup for clubs, the Spanish super cup and the European super cup.

You would pay for Villa what has been paid for Kaká?
Without any doubt. David Villa bleeds goals and that's worth a lot. He should go where he will be happy although I would like it if he would end up at Barça.

How much is Xavi worth?
There's no price because Barça won't sell me and I don't want to leave. This is my home and my club.

Read more:
Xavi, Barcelona's pass master
Xavi: "I want to stay at the club of my life"

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