Replacing Andres Iniesta as captain of Barcelona is no small task. The shoes to fill in terms of leadership both in the locker room, on the pitch, and in the public eye is a pretty large responsibility. There are a few candidates that are obvious picks and an underdog that may have a shot of replacing the Spaniard as captain of FC Barcelona.
The favorite to replace Iniesta is certainly Lionel Messi. He has the tenure, experience and composure, as well as being the best player on the planet. So he has that going for him. But adding to those obvious qualifications is how well he connects with fans of the club and the players themselves. This isn’t a strange situation where the best player has a strange presence within the team, Messi is well liked and it shows. He’s certainly the favorite and would make a fine Barcelona skipper.
One of the more stereotypical moves would be to give Pique the captaincy. The defender shows the grit and grind to be a very solid captain. He has the looks (not that it matters but it’s certainly worth mentioning), experience, and he’s a defender; so who doesn’t love a good centre-back captain.
In my mind, Busquets is the least likely of the four to get picked. There are better reasons to pick the other three on the list and Busquets is the simplest choice on the list.
So maybe that makes him the favorite, who really knows. I certainly don’t.
Marc–Andre ter Stegen
The underdog. Ter Stegen really has a shot in my mind. He’s certainly an outside pick, but has shown support of team-mates when he certainly doesn’t have to in the media, made clear his feelings for the club, and is a great young part of Barcelona’s future. If you’re a betting individual, it’s worth a bit of an underdog bet.
I find Ter Stegen the most fun pick. Having a strong German goalkeeper be the captain of Barcelona would be fascinating and fun to watch. He’s one of my favorite players to watch at Barcelona and seeing him take the mantle of captain would be fascinating.
What do you guys think?
Premier League champion and former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola is reportedly interested in bringing Andrés Iniesta to England in order to bolster the Manchester City midfield.
The rumors have been pointing to an Iniesta exit to China in order to finish out his career and cash a few checks, but the temptation of teaming up with Guardiola one last time might be enough to sway Iniesta’s decision making.
The decision, whatever it may be, is in Iniesta’s hands. Amidst his last contract renegotiation a reportedly key part of the deal was Iniesta’s agreement with the club that his exit would be on his terms and to the team he desired.
Now that it seems that both PSG and Manchester City have both entered the fray for the midfielder, it’ll be interesting to see if they can change Iniesta’s mind.
Sergio Aguero’s father made some news this week when asked about the knee operation that will keep his son out for a bit of time. He also spoke about his future playing football and where that might be. Aguero had his knee operation in Barcelona and the location of the operation only helped lead along the conversation with his father.
“It was urgent, nothing was programmed. Club medics recommended who should do the operation. I spoke with Sergio and he told me it all went well. My wife sent me a message in the morning and he told her he was in the hospital to be operated on,” said his father.
”He will be out for a month. Depending on how things go he should arrive (at the World Cup) in decent shape.”
Then he was asked if he could see his son playing with Argentinian team-mate Lionel Messi at Barcelona.
“In the coming year a lot of players will change clubs.”
Sports fathers are just the best. I mean, I’d love for my son to play with Christian Pulisic on the United States men’s national team but I’m not a source of information. Granted, my son isn’t Sergio Aguero.
However, in the days of LaVar Ball we apparently take athlete’s fathers very seriously. Perhaps this will become something valid and Aguero may move to Barcelona as Pep Guardiola further instills Gabriel Jesus as the main forward in his system. Or, perhaps this is simply a father that wishes to see his son play with the greatest footballer of all time and at one of the biggest clubs in the world.
Time shall tell.
Christian Eriksen moving to Barcelona seems far off to most in the sporting world, except those in the Danish media. Newspaper BT has made a few days worth of stories purely from such rumors. Despite the move making some sense it’s mostly gone untouched from most publications over the last year.
Michael Laudrup’s agent Bayram Tutumlu is now the lead in Eriksen to Barcelona stories, featuring a wonderful tale about going to Eriksen’s home and discussing moving to a different club.
“I was invited to see Christian Eriksen in London in September, even though he was having a renovation of the house, and here he asked me what to do to get to a bigger club.
“I told him that a bigger club wants him. When I visited Barcelona with my associate Evren Sahin and Brøndby’s owner Jan Bech Andersen, Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu said that Christian Eriksen became the next big player from Denmark after Michael Laudrup. So I told Eriksen that Barcelona wants him.
“I also told Christian Eriksen that Barcelona is looking at more things when buying a player, not just his football qualities. And it ended with the fact that they bought Coutinho instead. This is because alone, his agent (Martin Schoots) has destroyed it for him.
“But I’m still talking with Christian Eriksen, and I’ve told him that if he wants a bigger club, it’s not going to happen through that agent. I do not want to mention his agent’s name because it hurts me as much as he has ruined Christian Eriksen.
“Fortunately for Christian Eriksen, his father is a good guy who does not interfere in his career, such as Kasper Dolberg’s father does. Everything was ready for Kasper Dolberg to switch to a big Spanish club, but his father destroyed it. His father hurt him a lot. But I have warned Christian Eriksen to not make the same mistake as Daniel Agger.
“It may be that the football world is huge for you, but it’s just a handful for me. I can find him a good club, as I have done with Michael Laudrup. I have also met with Tottenham’s chairman Daniel Levy a month ago, so I know what it takes for Christian Eriksen to move on.”
Bayram Tutumlu | Source
It’s worth remembering that at this point that Tutumlu is not Eriksen’s agent, that role goes to Martin Schoots. I suppose this is news purely because of who is involved. However, at the same time this feels like a quick coffee with Daniel Levy led Tutumlu to a solid story in Denmark.
There were rumors that after Barcelona’s difficult loss to Roma in midweek that Lionel Messi and Gerard Pique had confronted manager Ernesto Valverde about the game. Valverde has dismissed the rumor and talked about Barcelona’s reaction to the loss and how they’re moving forward.
”I have nothing to say about that [Messi and Pique asking for explanations] mostly because nothing like that happened,” he said.
”The team have reacted well since the game.
”We are in a difficult moment, possibly our second worst of the season after August [and the Supercopa de Espana defeats].
”We lost and we’re out of a competition that we were very excited about and do feel sorry for ourselves and the fans.
”But if we continue to dwell on that game and think about, we will keep losing.”
Ernesto Valverde | Marca
The club have the chance to continue their unbeaten run in La Liga this weekend against Valencia. The quick chance against Valencia to get over the Roma loss will in a small way be key for the club.
It didn’t take Rafinha Alcantara long to settle in over at Inter Milan this year. Barcelona loaned the Brazilian to the Serie A side in January due to a lack of playing time for the midfielder and the move has paid off nicely for Rafinha. He’s had a real chance to settle into life in Italy and get some solid playing time for Inter.
He was recently asked about his time at Inter and whether or not he would wish to stay in Italy.
“I wanted to come to Inter from the very first moment and now I want to stay here.”
Rafinha | Source
Inter and Barcelona still have yet to make the deal complete, and part of that probably depends upon Inter’s ability to qualify for the Champions League. Making the move permanent would seemingly be good for Rafinha, who’s enjoyed his time playing under Inter manager Luciano Spalletti.
Barcelona returned to training on Thursday ahead of their next La Liga fixture against Valencia on Saturday. This particular training session featured some bright news for Barcelona supporters after a tough midweek Champions League loss as Lucas Digne has returned after three weeks of working through a thigh injury.
Digne suffered the injury while playing with France on international duty and has been out since. He’ll be a welcomed addition to the Barcelona side, adding some much-needed depth to the left-back position for the La Liga leaders.
Before suffering the thigh injury, Digne had done a good job at filling in at left-back for Barcelona and has made 15 appearances in all competitions this season. His return willl be particularly welcomed with the squad having shown real signs of fatigue the last few weeks.
Neymar seemed a bit bored being out of the spotlight recovery from a fractured foot. On Sunday he tweeted a photo of himself and former Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi saying that he and Messi had some sort of announcement.
“When me and my friend #LeoMessi get together great things happen! I’ll be telling you more very soon, stay tuned!”
Neymar | Twitter
Let’s be very clear here, the likelihood of Messi and Neymar playing together again is low. The likelihood that the story of it happening would be broken by Neymar posting a photo of the two saying they had an announcement is even lower.
However, after seeing this the first thing I thought of is what sort of ridiculous announcement this could end up being and I wanted to see what you guys thought. Personally, I see this ending up in the arena of a breakfast cereal advertising campaign.
Gerard Pique has received some high praise from one of the best defenders in Barcelona and football history. Carles Puyol came out in an interview recently and had some high praise when asked about Pique.
“Right now, Pique is the best centre-back in the world,” said Puyol. “He’s the perfect age and physically he is in great shape. He’s always been very intelligent, but you notice it more now.
”The same with his leadership, which he’s always had but now he’s in complete control on the pitch, especially at the back. That’s a plus.
”His positioning has improved as well. He hardly ever loses his position and he knows how to read the game and to anticipate what’s going to happen. He never loses his head. He seems more responsible, too, something which comes with time and age.”
“Now he picks his moments [to join in attacks] much better,. Maybe he will only go forward once in a game now but he has a gift, something intangible that very few players have. It’s called goal-scoring instinct and that allows him to be in the right place at the right time. It happened against Roma, he went forward once and he scored.”
Source | La Vanguardia
After some gritty and impressive performances as of late, the 31-year-old Pique is reaching new heights with his defensive instinct and ability to sense when attacking is the right move. Some deserved praise from Puyol is a nice cherry on top for Pique.
Of all the strange things we could expect after Barcelona’s dominating win over Roma midweek in the Champions League, a charge of “throwing of objects” was not one of them.
The celebrations apparently went to a level they it shouldn’t have gone to in the Camp Nou when the fans allegedly began to throw objects during the match.
The specific charge is under Article 16 (2) of UEFA’s Disciplinary Regulations. The decision will be made on May 31st whether or not the charge is valid and what the punishment will be.
The punishment for Roma throwing the match has yet to be determined (I joke, I joke).