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Bartomeu has vowed today that Leo Messi will continue to lead the club

April 19, 2014 – 21:03 | Comments Off

Josep Maria Bartomeu
The Barça president claims that the club is looking to improve Messi’s conditions “in adaptation to the current situation in football”

“There won’t be a revolution, just in-depth restructuring” he said with regard to the squad, which shall remain the duty of Andoni Zubizarreta

He added that “there will be no elections because this board was voted in until 2016 and is enthusiastic about its progress”

Josep Maria Bartomeu has every belief in the leading role of Leo Messi at Barça. Speaking to TV3, the club president insisted that the club is looking to improve the Argentinian’s contractual conditions, as well as commenting on several other issues.

“I think people are being unfair to Leo Messi” he commented. “He has led us to so many wins in recent years. He has led the team, and done so very well and we have no doubt that he will continue to lead the club into the future. He’s a young player, the best in the world and we have every faith in him.

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The president spoke about a ‘modification’ to Messi’s contract, saying that “he has a contract until 2018 but we want to make him an offer because we need to adapt to the current situation in football.”

Full support for squad and staff

Josep Maria Bartomeu also confessed that the club is already thinking about changes for next season. “Some decisions have been made and there are others to be made” he said. “But this is not the time to announce them because we are still playing in a competition. There will be time for that in a few weeks, when we’ll be announcing things as they happen. A lot of work has been done and it has all been good work … There won’t be a revolution, but there will be in-depth restructuring of the football team”.

Bartomeu also spoke in defence of the players, the coaches and the rest of the people working at the club. He confirmed that “Zubizarreta will be leading the process of restructuring the team … And we have a lot of respect for Martino, we still have five games left in the league and it is our responsibility to be competitive and keep up the pressure on the leaders. A few days after that, I’ll be speaking personally to Tata Martino about other things”.

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The president also spoke about his board, insisting that “there won’t be resignations and there won’t be elections. This board was voted in in 2010, and the project we have been implementing all this time ends in 2016. We have two years left and we’re excited about going forward with this. So there will not be any elections“.

Messi has led the team for many years, and done so very well. We have no doubt that he will continue to lead the club into the future
Zubizarreta will be leading the process of restructuring the team, and we’ll be announcing things as they happen
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FC Barcelona News »

Bartomeu has vowed today that Leo Messi will continue to lead the club

April 19, 2014 – 21:03 | Comments Off

JMB1000x410.v1397947755 Bartomeu has vowed today that Leo Messi will continue to lead the club
The Barça president claims that the club is looking to improve Messi’s conditions “in adaptation to the current situation in football”

“There won’t be a revolution, just in-depth restructuring” he said with regard to the squad, which shall remain the duty of Andoni Zubizarreta

He added that “there will be no elections because this board was voted in until 2016 and is enthusiastic about its progress”

Josep Maria Bartomeu has every belief in the leading role of Leo Messi at Barça. Speaking to TV3, the club president insisted that the club is looking to improve the Argentinian’s contractual conditions, as well as commenting on several other issues.

“I think people are being unfair to Leo Messi” he commented. “He has led us to so many wins in recent years. He has led the team, and done so very well and we have no doubt that he will continue to lead the club into the future. He’s a young player, the best in the world and we have every faith in him.

[[CITA_1]]

The president spoke about a ‘modification’ to Messi’s contract, saying that “he has a contract until 2018 but we want to make him an offer because we need to adapt to the current situation in football.”

Full support for squad and staff

Josep Maria Bartomeu also confessed that the club is already thinking about changes for next season. “Some decisions have been made and there are others to be made” he said. “But this is not the time to announce them because we are still playing in a competition. There will be time for that in a few weeks, when we’ll be announcing things as they happen. A lot of work has been done and it has all been good work … There won’t be a revolution, but there will be in-depth restructuring of the football team”.

Bartomeu also spoke in defence of the players, the coaches and the rest of the people working at the club. He confirmed that “Zubizarreta will be leading the process of restructuring the team … And we have a lot of respect for Martino, we still have five games left in the league and it is our responsibility to be competitive and keep up the pressure on the leaders. A few days after that, I’ll be speaking personally to Tata Martino about other things”.

[[CITA_2]]

The president also spoke about his board, insisting that “there won’t be resignations and there won’t be elections. This board was voted in in 2010, and the project we have been implementing all this time ends in 2016. We have two years left and we’re excited about going forward with this. So there will not be any elections“.

Messi has led the team for many years, and done so very well. We have no doubt that he will continue to lead the club into the future
Zubizarreta will be leading the process of restructuring the team, and we’ll be announcing things as they happen

Saturday training session in photos #photos #pictures

April 19, 2014 – 17:38 | Comments Off

The preparation of the match against Athletic in pictures.
Check the pictures!

Tata Martino has told the press that as long as there is still hope, the team will keeping battling

April 19, 2014 – 13:12 | Comments Off

Gerardo 'Tata' Martino spoke frankly in today's press conference / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
The FC Barcelona manager said that “we have suffered three tough blows in a few days, but it is our duty to keep fighting until the end”

He declared himself an admirer of Sunday’s opposition, Athletic Bilbao, “a team that has been developing for a long time”

The Argentinian was also self-critical, saying that he was not happy with his work because “the results have not been coming”

After going out of the Champions League and losing the Spanish Cup Final, all that is left for Barça is la Liga, where they are no longer in such a strong position either. But Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino insisted today that “the team will not give in.” He acknowledged that “we have suffered three tough blows in a few days, but it is our duty to keep fighting until the end”. Barça need a win against Bilbao on Sunday (9.00 PM CET) to keep alive their title aspirations, especially after leaders Atlético beat Elche 2-0 on Friday night to move seven points clear of the Catalans, and so “our only option is to get the maximum points from the five games we have left.

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The Argentinian knows that these are not comfortable times for his players. “It is hard to keep our spirits up because we are not used to things like this” he said. “Nobody should think that this is something easy to get over … It is up to us to get the fans feeling enthusiastic about our football again and sticking with the team”.

Martino described Bilbao, a side that is strongly poised for a Champions League berth next season, as “a team with a strong hierarchy. And we are going into the game after an awful week. We have to overcome both things … The Bilbao team has been developing for a long time, both under Bielsa and now with Valverde”.

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Tata Martino was also self-critical in today’s press conference, saying that he cannot feel pleased with his work “because the results haven’t been coming … But right now we just have to keep working because we still have a chance. My strength and energy have to be focused on this season, and no further.”

We have suffered three tough blows in a few days, but it is our duty to keep fighting until the end
The Bilbao team has been developing for a long time, both under Bielsa and now with Valverde

Sergi Gómez has been included in the squad of 18 to face Athletic Bilbao

April 19, 2014 – 12:12 | Comments Off

Gómez i Bartra, a l'entrenament d'aquest dissabte. FOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB.
The reserve team centre back is included, while Puyol is left out and Sergio Busquets is suspended

The squad for Sunday’s game against Athletic Bilbao: Pinto, Olazábal, Montoya, Fàbregas, Xavi, Pedro, A. Iniesta, Alexis, Messi, Mascherano, Bartra, Song, Afellay, Tello, Adriano, Dani Alves, Sergi Roberto & Sergi Gómez.

Further information to follow shortly.

Tata Martino press conference

April 19, 2014 – 12:00 | Comments Off

Tata Martino pre-game press conference ahead of FC Barcelona – Athletic Club (Spanish League)

FC Barcelona are chasing European titles in four different sports

April 18, 2014 – 15:05 | Comments Off

The Palau Blaugrana has witnessed many successes over the years / PHOTO: FCB ARCHIVE
All four of FC Barcelona’s professional ‘sections’ will be challenging for European titles over the next few weeks

The futsal team are first, with their third consective Final Four in Baku next week

If the handball team beat Rhein-Neckar Löwen in the quarters, they’ll be into their fourth Final Four in five years

FC Barcelona may have been knocked out of soccer’s Champions League, but all four of the other professional teams are still in contention for their continental titles, and there is plenty to look forward to over the next few weeks. The roller hockey and futsal teams are already into their Final Fours, and the basketball and handball teams are both close to qualification for the same stage in their own sports.

Euroleague Final Four beckoning

Barça are 2-0 in their best-of-three Euroleague quarter final with Galatasaray of Turkey, and a win on Sunday will confirm their presence in Final Four in Milan. That game is at the Palau Blaugrana, and even if they lose, they’ll have two further chances, with game four, should it be required, also being played in Barcelona, and game five in Istanbul. It would be the fourteenth Final Four for two-time champions Barça.

Barça Alusport first up

The futsal team will be the first to play its Final Four. The venue is the Azerbaijani capital, Baku, where they’ll face host club Araz Naxçiva in the semi-final on Thursday 24 April (6.00 PM CET). If they win, they’ll face either Dynamo Moscow (Russia) or Kairat Almaty (Kazakhstan) in the final on Saturday 26.

This is be the third consecutive Final Four for the futsal team, who won the trophy for the first time in UEFA Futsal Cup in the Catalan city of Lleida, but last season went out in the semi-finals to Kazakh side AFC Kairat, 5-4.

Roller hockey on May 3 & 4

Barça’s roller hockey team are also well on course for yet another European crown. The side coached by Ricard Muñoz are into the final stages of the European League after comfortably beating Portuguese outfit Valongo in the quarters. At a venue as yet to be decided, Barça will face another side from Portugal, Benfica, in the semis-finals, the team that put FCB out of the competition in a penalty shootout at the same stage twelve months ago. If they manage to avenge that loss, in the final eight-time champions Barça will play the winners of another Catalonia v Portugal clash between Vendrell and Porto.

Rhineland challenge for handball team

Xavi Pascual’s handball team has the two legs of a quarter-final against Germany’s Rhein-Neckar Löwen to navigate in order to reach the Final Four of the EHF Champions League. The first is in Germany this Sunday (7.15 PM CET), and the return at the Palau will be on Saturday 26 (8.15 PM CET), for which a big turnout from the fans would a major boost to the team’s hopes.

FCB have already won the Spanish Liga Asobal withour losing a match to date, and are seeking their fourth Final Four in five years. In 2009/10, Barça lost the final against Kiel of Germany, and a year later won the title by beating fellow Asobal club Ciudad Real. In 2011/12, Barça missed out of the Final Four when they lost to Copenhagen in the quarters, and in last season’s final, they lost in overtime to Hamburg.

On Sunday FC Barcelona host Athletic Bilbao, who haven’t lost on the road since January 5

April 18, 2014 – 14:14 | Comments Off

Susaeta and Cesc featured in the game between the two sides at the Camp Nou / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB
On Sunday FC Barcelona host Athletic Bilbao, who haven’t lost on the road since January 5

Points from the Camp Nou would boost their bid for the fourth Champions League berth

Camp Nou is the venue for the game of the coming weekend (9.00 PM CET), as third placed FC Barcelona face fourth placed Athletic Bilbao, who have been exceptional away from home this year.

In fact, over the last three months the Basques have as good a record on the road as they do at their new San Mamés stadium. They haven’t lost away since January 5, when they were beaten 2-0 by Real Sociedad in the local derby. Since they have gone unbeaten on six away trips, to Osasuna (5-1), to Celta (0-0), to Betis (2-0), to Valencia (1-1), to Villarreal (1-1), to Elche (0-0) and to Levante (2-1).

In total, Athletic Club have six wins, five draws and five losses in away league fixtures, while at home they have registered 12 wins, 3 draws and 2 defeats, enough to put them in contention for a place in next season’s Champions League qualifying round.

The side managed by Ernesto Valverde are six points ahead of their nearest challengers, Sevilla, and need points at the Camp Nou to maintain that relatively comfortable position. But the ‘Lions’ will be missing the injured Ekiza, Gurpegui, Ibai and Kike Sola, and the presence of Mikel Rico is still in doubt.

Historic challenge

But the Camp Nou is not a happy hunting ground for Bilbao, who have lost on 21 of their last 25 visits to the FCB stadium. They haven’t taken all three points there since a 2-1 win in 2001/02, during Valverde’s earlier stint on the Bilbao bench.

There are five games left for the three title challengers: Atlético Madrid, Real Madrid and FC Barcelona

April 18, 2014 – 11:07 | Comments Off

Iniesta starred in Barça's 4-3 win away to Real Madrid. PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB.
Atlético Madrid, Real Madrid and FC Barcelona are all in contention in the hottest Liga title race for years

After going out of the Champions League and losing the Spanish Cup Final, the only title Barça can still win this season, in addition to the Spanish Supercup, is the domestic league. There are three teams that still have chance of winning the crown, and with the standings currently Atlético Madrid (82), Real Madrid (79) and Barça (78), the Catalans need to win their games and hope the other two drop points somewhere along the way.

The two Madrid teams also have the Champions League to focus on, which might work in Barça’s favour, and leaders Atlético have three away fixtures left, while Real and Barça have just two. And the final game of the season sees Atlético travel to the Camp Nou for a potential title decider:

  Atlétic de Madrid Real Madrid FC Barcelona
J34 ELCHE (H) VALLADOLID (A) BILBAO (H)
J35 VALÈNCIA (A) OSASUNA (H) VILLARREAL (A)
J36 LEVANTE (A) VALENCIA (H) GETAFE (H)
J37 MALAGA (H) CELTA (A) ELCHE (A)
J38 BARÇA (A) ESPANYOL (H) ATLÉTICO (H)

*Home matches in bold type

FC Barcelona – Galatasaray: 2-0, and one away from the Final Four (84-63)

April 17, 2014 – 22:44 | Comments Off

Sada vs Galatasasay. PHOTO: GERMÁN PARGA-FCB.
Barça defeated Galatasaray in the second game of the quarter-final series, they are one victory away from reaching the Final Four

MATCH FACTS

FC BARCELONA, 84
GALATASARAY, 63

FC Barcelona: Huertas (12), Navarro, Papanikolaou (10), Lorbek (7), Tomic (11) –starting five-, Pullen (2), Dorsey (6), Sada (5), Abrines (13), Oleson (14), Lampe (2) and Nachbar (2).

Galatasaray: Arslan (10), Erceg (9), Hairston (4), Markoishvili, Aldemir (5) –starting five-, Atsur, Akyol (3), Mensah-Bonsu (4), Macvan (7), Guler (4), Dudley (6) and Domercant (11).

Only one victory away from the Final Four in Milan. All this thanks to Barça second victory over Galatasary at the Palau Blaugrana in the quarter-final playoffs of the Euroleague. The team managed by Xavi Pascual put in a very complete performance, with the exception of their slow start to the second half.

The start of the match was nothing like Tuesday’s game. Barça started full of confidence, while Galatasaray appeared to be disconnected due to the absence of their leader, Carlos Arroyo. The Turkish team were misfiring while Barça were scoring.

The Blaugrana practically didn’t have any opposition, they were serious on defence and they were enjoying themselves on offense. The first three pointer was scored on the 15 minute mark by Abrines (34-15), while Galatasaray has scored two of their eleven three point attempts. The half came to an end with 43 to 25 on the scoreboard.

After the break, Barça were unable to score in the opening three minutes of the half, and Galatasaray took advantage of the opening. Arslan led his team to nearly a ten point run, leaving Barça up by eleven points. However, two consecutive three pointers from Sada and Oleson killed off the Turkish team’s hopes (52-35).

The lead gave Barça a tranquility in the fourth quarter. Dorsey got the fans out of their seats with impressive dunks, while Sada was running things in the point guard position. The game came to an end with 77 to 56 on the scoreboard.

Neymar Jr, four weeks out of action

April 17, 2014 – 18:55 | Comments Off

Neymar / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
The player sustained a contusion with caused an edema in the fourth metatarsal in his left foot

He will be sidelined for four weeks

Neymar Jr picked up an injury in the Copa del Rey final against Real Madrid. The player sustained a contusion that caused an edema in the fourth metatarsal of his left foot.

The player will begin treatment and will be out of action for four weeks. If Neymar will be able to participate in the last match of the season, against Atlético Madrid, if recovers in the estimated time.

This is Neymar’s second injury this season. He sustained a tendon sprain in the 1/8 round of the Cup, against Getafe.

Jordi Alba out of action for 3 to 4 weeks; Bartra doubtful

April 17, 2014 – 18:50 | Comments Off

Jordi Alba / PHOTO: Arxiu FCB
The left back sustained a muscle tear in the hamstring of his right leg

The first team trained at the Ciutat Esportiva, they were joined by Barça B’s Sergi Gómez, Planas, Ié and Bagnack

The first team returned to training this afternoon after yesterday’s Cup final in Mestalla, and they did it without Jordi Alba. The player picked up a muscle tear in the biceps femoris of his right leg and will be out of action between three to four weeks. If he recovers in the estimated time, he’ll be fit to play against Atlético Madrid in the last game of the season.

One of the protagonists in the Cup final, Marc Bartra, was also unable to take part in the training session due to a strained hamstring. The goalscorer worked apart from the group and his availability for selection for Sunday’s match against Athletic Club depends on his recovery.

The coaching staff called up four defenders from Barça B to train with the first team. Thus Sergi Gómez, Carles Planas, Edgar Ié and Frank Bagnack trained with Tata Martino’s men.