Barça Trying to Make Dembélé Comfortable

Including a personal chef

FC Barcelona wants to make Ousmane Dembélé comfortable as the player continues to settle into his first year after arriving from Borussia Dortmund.

The pressure of the huge transfer fee paid for him, as well as his injuries, have complicated matters. Players and coaches see he’s playing with a “block” and are trying to motivate and cheer him on, according to Mundo Deportivo.

The club has assigned a personal chef to keep vigilance over his nutrition. Apparently, sometimes he’s had fast food when his friends were over. The club wants him to not be stressed and be in optimal shape, to prevent injuries and keep him in the correct mental state to win matches.

Dembélé played a few minutes in the 0-0 draw with Getafe. He missed training earlier in the week due to a stomach problem but he should be all set to take part in this weekend’s clash with Eibar.

Samuel Umtiti Renewal Talks Underway – Report

The defender wants to get paid six million euros net per year

FC Barcelona does not want to lose Samuel Umtiti. The French defender has a relatively low release clause and plenty of suitors, such as Manchester City and Manchester United.

This has forced Barça into action because the young defender has been playing at an extremely high level. A report in Diario SPORT today says the defender wants six million euros per year, net, which matches the offer made by Manchester United.

The report also says the club had originally hoped to renew him next year, midway through his original contract, as it happened for Marc-André Ter Stegen. But the situation has forced Barça to react quickly.

The hope is to agree a deal before the World Cup, even it does not become official until after the summer.

Yerry Mina Adapting Well But Still Learning at Barcelona

The locker room leaders have welcomed him and are trying to guide him

Yerry Mina made his league debut for FC Barcelona last weekend in the 0-0 draw with Getafe. He put in a good performance, although at times he was imprecise, especially early on. But as the game wore on he seemed to shed his nerves and improve.

A report in Diario SPORT today says that Mina is adapting very well to the locker room, to the point that he’s already “just another guy in the Barcelona family.” His humility and happy personality have made him a popular figure.

The veterans have apparently started giving him advise, hoping to help him cut down on mistakes he has made. The report stresses they did not rebuke him, but rather, they feel the need to protect him and help nurture him because they recognize his potential. They say a good start to life at FC Barcelona is crucial, and are hoping he can continue to impress.

Mina has reportedly been very keen on listening to the others’ advice and has insisted he’s at Barça to learn from the best.

[POLL] Do Culés Want Real Madrid or PSG to Advance?

The UEFA Champions League tie should be really interesting

Real Madrid versus Paris Saint-Germain. Cristiano Ronaldo versus Neymar. Zinedine Zidane versus Unai Emery. Who will win? No one knows for sure between those, but in any case, Barça fans will feel like winners, too.

The first leg kicks off today in the UEFA Champions League, with a special interest for Barcelona fans. Of course, culés are no lovers of Real Madrid. But PSG, and especially Neymar, have morphed into European rivals as well.

Barcelona have eliminated PSG often in the past, quite memorably last year with a breathtaking 6-5 comeback over two legs. Last summer, PSG activated Neymar’s release clause, which led to accusations that the Brazilian was a “snake” or “traitor.”

Suffice it to say, Barça fans do not like either team. But is this newfound rivalry with PSG enough to overcome the historical rivalry with Madrid?

Do you want Madrid to show PSG their place in Europe, and start crushing the dreams Neymar has of winning the Ballon d’Or?

Or do you want Madrid to be eliminated, destroying the chance for a third straight title, and ignite the possibility of Zidane getting sacked?

Whoever loses, Barcelona fans can say they’ve won too.

Coutinho: “Suárez and Messi Made me Feel Welcome”

“They are two great idols.”

Philippe Coutinho has spoken out about how he’s getting along following his record-breaking move from Liverpool to FC Barcelona. Does he feel pressure being Barça’s most expensive signing ever?

“No,” he said in an interview with Mundo Deportivo, “for me it’s an honor and a point of pride. But it’s something to leave aside. I need to dedicate myself to playing and doing it the way I have always done. I have to improve and do well on the pitch to help the team achieve the things that they hired me to do.”

The Brazilian also spoke of how Paulinho and Luis Suárez helped talk him into wanting the move:

“It’s true that I spoke often with Luis and Paulinho and they explained to me how things worked. And everything is as they say… The quality in the whole squad… it’s incredible how training goes, but the most surprising thing is the group in the locker room They’re a calm group, they made all the new players feel welcome.”

He highlighted Suárez and Lionel Messi in particular:

“They made me feel welcome. They are two great idols and forming a part of the team with them is a very good feeling. But it’s not just them, also Andrés Iniesta and the rest. For me, it’s very special to be with them in the dressing room, during matches. For me, it’s a great experience and a great opportunity to be able to be at this club.”

WATCH: Yerry Mina Did a Good Job in League Debut

The Colombian showed a lot of poise

Yerry Mina did well as he made his league debut for FC Barcelona in their 0-0 draw with Getafe. The Colombian, signed from Palmeiras in the winter window, had previously only played a few minutes in the Spanish cup with Barça.

Mina was making his first start more or less by force, as Samuel Umtiti was suspended, Thomas Vermaelen was injured, and Gerard Piqué was not fully fit. Mina was the only centerback left, and fullback Lucas Digne had to partner him in defense.

Despite the disappointing result, the centerback pairing cannot really be blamed. They kept a clean sheet, after all. True, Ernesto Valverde instructed his players to hang back a bit to help their novel centerback pairing, but you’d think a team with Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez, and Philippe Coutinho would score against Getafe at home even then.

Let’s take a look:

Of course, Mina was not perfect. Ernesto Valverde frequently was giving him instructions on how to handle situations. The defender did make a really poor pass in the first half that almost led to an opening goal for Getafe.

But he showed a lot. He wasn’t overly timid and some of his passing did start some good attacking moves. He’s not Piqué-level yet, but he could get there.

In the air, he used his impressive height to win many duels. He won five in the air, only Sergio Busquets had more, with six. It’s a shame he couldn’t score, he came reasonably close on more than one occasion from finding the net off a set piece.

His pass accuracy was a tidy 94%, only Digne had a better one. He had three tackles, tied for most for Barça with Digne. He also made two interceptions (only Jordi Alba had more) and one block (no one had more.)

Perhaps on the negative side, he did commit the most fouls (three) and earn himself a late booking.

His biggest highlight was a block he made on a shot by Ángel Luis Rodríguez. The forward had broken through and was one-on-one against Mina. Ángel is not a big number 9, but a clever, quick player. He tried to fool Mina and get him to overcommit, then place a shot past Marc-André Ter Stegen.

Mina defended it admirably, not biting for any of the fakes, and putting the slightest of deflection on the eventual shot with one of his telescopic legs, which caused the ball to drift narrowly past the post for a corner.

Overall, Mina showed a lot of promise, especially given the tricky circumstances (for example, the lack of an established CB to partner him.) He even picked up a few people’s choice for the best player on Barcelona’s side. There is a lot of optimism that Barça have unearthed another gem in defense.

OFFICIAL: CDR Final at the Wanda!

Valencia’s Mestalla was the other choice

The Copa del Rey final will be held at Atlético Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano on April 21st. The trophy will be contested by FC Barcelona and Sevilla.

Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu was once again be discarded as an option for the final. So too were Barcelona’s Camp Nou and Sevilla’s Sánchez Pizjuán stadium, as both clubs wanted to play in a neutral venue.

The other option was Valencia’s Mestalla, but Diario MARCA says the Wanda was preferred because of its high capacity and ease of access for both sets of fans. Plus, it’s practically brand new.

The report also says officials are hoping to make tickets financially accessible for common fans, since last season’s final, between Barcelona and Deportivo Alavés, was not sold out.

Dembélé Misses Training

Thankfully his muscles are not affected

After making his comeback from injury in the 0-0 draw against Getafe, FC Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembélé did not train today due to a stomach problem.

Thankfully, the Frenchman’s muscles were not the source of the trouble. He has missed a large portion of the season due to muscular injuries.

On the other hand, Ernesto Valverde counted on a crop of B teamers in the training session: Adrián Ortolá, Rodrigo Tarín, Marc Cardona, and Jorge Cuenc, as well as new arrivals Ballou Tabla and Marcus McGuane.

Luis Suárez and Jordi Alba in Danger of Missing Copa del Rey Final

That’s if Barcelona make it there

Luis Suárez and Jordi Alba are one yellow card away from missing the next Copa del Rey match, which could be the final, if FC Barcelona make it past Valencia.

The Uruguayan missed last season’s final, which Barça won 3-1 over Deportivo Alavés, due to a similar suspension. And in 2016, he played less than half of the 120 minutes the final took to decide after he was subbed off with an injury. Barcelona won that one 2-0 against Sevilla.

He did complete 78 minutes in 2015, when Barcelona defeated Athletic Bilbao 3-1.

On the other hand, Geoffrey Kondogbia, Gonçalo Guedes, Santi Mina, and Rubén Vezo are one yellow away from suspension for Valencia. Technically so is Andreas Pereira, but he is injured and won’t play, so it’s not a problem for him.

Undiano Mallenco, one of the most famous Spanish refs, will officiate the match.