Iniesta’s China move stalls or does it?

Conflicting reports are flying about

There’s been some pretty interesting developments on Thursday with regards Andres Iniesta’s future and his expected move to China.

Marca have reported that a deal to take him to the Chinese Super League has stalled for financial reasons, which was swiftly followed by Sport denying the report was true.

So where to start? Well, it had been expected that Iniesta would announce he’s leaving Barcelona at a press conference tomorrow. Not so, say Marca who report he’s failed to reach agreement with Chongqing.

Iniesta was hoping to seal a deal worth an eye-watering €20 million a year, but the club’s president has not signed off the transfer and as it stands there is no agreement.

The 33-year-old now has to decide whether to announce his departure anyway, and hope a deal can be reached in the future, or scrap the announcement altogether.

The report also says there is a bit of pressure because according to his contract he has to make a decision on his future by the 30th of April which is next Monday.

And so over to Sport who say they’ve been in touch with sources close to Iniesta who say the deal has not broken down.

They do concede that everything is not quite “100%” but that he’s still on track to announce his departure on Friday.

I guess we’ll learn more tomorrow.

Rumors: Griezmann latest, Cillessen not for sale plus Digne, Iniesta & Deulofeu

Barcelona players tell Griezmann to move to Camp Nou

Today’s rumors start with an update on the Antoine Griezmann to Barcelona saga.

According to Sport, Barcelona’s “heavyweights” have been messaging Griezmann on WhatsApp to tell him to come to Barca.

French team-mates Lucas Digne, Samuel Umtiti and Ousmane Dembele have already told him he’s wanted at the Camp Nou, and he now has to decide between moving on or staying at Atletico.

Barcelona will only sell Cillessen for €60 million

Over at Mundo Deportivo they’re talking about the future of back-up goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen.

The Dutch international is attracting interest from several top European clubs, Liverpool, Napoli and Atletico Madrid, but Barcelona really don’t want to sell his summer.

They’ve not had an offer yet but the only way Cillessen will depart this summer is if a club is willing to meet his €60 million release clause.

Digne set for Juventus move

Another player who is being linked with an exit is Lucas Digne would could be set for a move to Juventus.

Sport reckon that Barcelona could be willing to sell him for just €16 million, which is the same amount they paid Paris Saint-Germain for him in 2016.

Juventus are likely to be pretty happy with that fee, particularly as he has a €100 million release clause.

Iniesta to announce Barcelona departure on Friday

We all know it’s coming so get your tissues ready because tomorrow is the day Andres Iniesta is to announce he’s leaving Barcelona, sniff.

Marca say he’ll start to tell his team-mates about the decision and will then inform the world afterwards.

He’s expected to sign a three-year deal with Chongqing Dangdai Lifan and has also signed a sales and distribution deal for his family’s vineyard in China.

Watford want to keep Deulofeu

And finally today we end with news that Watford have so enjoyed having Gerard Deulofeu around the place that they want to keep hold of him on a permanent basis.

Mundo Deportivo reckon Watford want to try and negotiate a deal with Barcelona but know that much will depend on where Deulofeu sees his future.

Barcelona, meanwhile, want to up his €25 million release clause and, if a new deal is agreed, Watford will then look for a loan in the first instance.

FC Barcelona News: 26 April 2018

How Barça can win LaLiga this weekend | FC Barcelona
Barça have the LaLiga title in their sights, and could mathematically be confirmed as champions as early as this weekend. Ernesto Valverde’s men hold their fate in their own hands, as a win against Deportivo La Coruña would give them the title irregardless of results for their rivals. They could even kick off the game at Riazor as champions, should Atlético Madrid and Real Madrid fail to win their respective games.

How has FC Barcelona fared at Riazor? | FC Barcelona
FC Barcelona could win the 25th La Liga title in Club history this weekend, when they face Deportivo La Coruña at Riazor, a stadium that has been historically difficult to play at for most teams. But while Barça has garnered some very impressive results there in recent seasons, there have also been some less-than-optimal results.

Five challenges left in La Liga | FC Barcelona
Barça only need one point to be confirmed champions, and the first ‘match point’ is away to Deportivo this Sunday (8.45pm CET). But they could even clinch the trophy without playing if neither Real Madrid nor Atlético Madrid win their own games.

Barça v Villarreal on May 9 | FC Barcelona
It was announced today Wednesday that the Barça v Villarreal league fixture that was originally scheduled to be played last weekend but was postponed due to Barça’s participation in the Copa del Rey Final, will now be played on Wednesday 9 May at 8.00pm CET.

Lionel Messi wins trademark court case | Sky Sports
The EU’s second-highest court ruled on Thursday he was famous enough to overcome phonetic similarities with Spanish bicycle clothing brand Massi. The case reached the EU General Court after the brand successfully complained to the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).

Barcelona’s Andres Iniesta gets Ballon d’Or apology from France Football | ESPN
Iniesta, 33, is widely expected to bid European football farewell at the end of the season and head to China after 16 wildly successful years at the top of the world game that have seen him amass 34 major winners’ medals, a tally he is poised to add to with a final La Liga title.

Report: Barca doubt on Arthur deal | Football Espana
Barcelona are unsure on whether or not to complete the signing of Gremio midfielder Arthur despite paying a €4m deposit, say reports in Spain. Last month, the Catalan giants confirmed the deal was in place for the 21-year-old which would see them pay a release clause of €30m, which would rise to €39m including bonuses.

Barca’s Digne set for Juve move | Football Espana
Juventus are hopeful of completing a deal for Barcelona defender Lucas Digne this summer, according to reports in the Spanish press. The French full-back’s contract at the Camp Nou runs through to 2021 and contains a €100m release clause but Diario Sport report the club would sanction a sale in the region of €16m.

Garcia Pimienta: ‘I believe strongly in the Barça way of playing’ | FC Barcelona
His appointment comes after predecessor Gerard López’s contract recision was announced in the morning. Garcia Pimienta comes into the job having recently won the UEFA Youth League, beating Chelsea 0-3 in the final. He previously spent more than two seasons as assistant coach for Barça B.

Can Barca’s UEFA Youth League champions make the step up?

Barcelona are UEFA Youth League champions after beating Chelsea to lift the trophy on Monday in Nyon.

It’s a big boost for La Masia and the club will be hoping some of the players can step up and make the grade.

Barcelona famously named a team without a La Masia graduate for the first time in 16 years against Celta Vigo recently and there’s been a real lack of homegrown players making the breakthrough.

The club have also seen prospects such as Jordi Mboula and Sergio Gomez leave but can any of the current crop make the step up? Let’s have a look.

Abel Ruiz

Manchester City v FC Barcelona - UEFA Youth League Semi Final
Photo by Monika Majer/Getty Images

Striker Abel Ruiz set up Barcelona’s first and scored the third in Monday’s final and is probably the best-known of the club’s young prospects.

The 18-year-old has already starred for Spain at Under-17 level, helping them win the European Championship last year and finish as runners-up at the World Cup.

He’s also tasted first-team action this season as he came on as a substitute in Barcelona’s Supercopa de Catalunya win over Espanyol in March.

Riqui Puig

Riqui Puig played superbly in the final as he bossed the midfield and the hype surrounding the teenager is starting to grow.

He’s managed to break into the Barcelona B team this season and has also been called up to train with the first team.

Mateu Morey

The right-back has already attracted interest from elsewhere with Bayern Munich linked with a move last summer.

Barcelona managed to hang onto him and he’s had another good season and will hope he can break into the B team now Garcia Pimienta is in charge.

He’s a typical Barcelona full-back, loves going forward, has an eye for goal and is four years younger than Sergi Palencia who he may oust from the B team.

Juan Miranda

Chelsea FC v FC Barcelona - UEFA Youth League Final
Photo by Robert Hradil/Getty Images

On the opposite flank Juan Miranda is also a real prospect and has played seven times for Barcelona B this season.

Like Puig he’s also trained with the first team this season and featured in the Supercopa de Catalunya.

At just over six foot it’s difficult to compare him to Jordi Alba, but like the Barca star he is a real attacking threat.

There are plenty other promising options in the team too. Goalkeeper Inaki Pena is reportedly viewed as the long-term replacement for Marc-Andre ter Stegen. Winger Carles Perez was the top scorer in the UEFA Youth League with seven goals in nine matches, while Alejandro Marqués scored twice in the final and also grabbed goals in the quarters and the semi.

Iniesta would have won two Ballon d’Ors if he was called Andresinho, says Ramos

Sergio Ramos reckons Andres Iniesta should have won the Ballon d’Or twice in his career and that the reason he hasn’t is all because of his name.

The closest Iniesta came to being crowned the world’s best player was in 2010 when he finished second to Lionel Messi, despite scoring the winner in the World Cup final.

He also finished third in 2012, behind Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, and Ramos says it’s all down to his name.

“If he was called Andresinho instead of Iniesta, he would have won two Ballon d’Ors,” he said.

Sergio Ramos | Marca

Iniesta is expected to announce he will be leaving Barcelona for China this week and will leave on a high with the club set to seal another league and cup double.

Barcelona Considering Not Completing Arthur Transfer

It would be quite the dramatic reversal

FC Barcelona’s technical staff is having an internal debate whether to complete the purchase of Arthur Melo from Grêmio, according to Mundo Deportivo.

Barça have already paid 4 million euro towards his purchase, but they could decide to forgo spending the additional 26 million that would complete the move. Nine more million could be added to the total in variables.

Some members of Barcelona’s hierarchy want him because they say he can play like Xavi once did, whereas others want a player who blends touch and technique with pure physicality

Barcelona are said to be looking at a few alternatives such as Real Betis’s Fabián, as well as two kids from Ajax: Frenkie De Jong and Donnie van de Beek.

Robert is said to be one of Arthur’s biggest fans, and losing four million euros would be seen as a big mistake, but Barça apparently are trying to make absolutely sure that Arthur is their main before pulling the trigger.

Bakero says 75% of youngsters leave Barcelona for the money

Jose Mari Bakero talked about Barcelona’s youngsters on Wednesday as the club presented Francisco Javier Garcia Pimienta as the new coach of the Barcelona B team.

Garcia Pimienta replaces Gerard Lopez and his first job will be to try and save Barcelona B from relegation after a tough season.

Barcelona will also be hoping that Garcia Pimienta can help develop the club’s youngsters with a view to breaking into first team.

The club have seen some talented youngsters depart in recent months and Bakero reckons money is one big reason some of the players have opted to leave.

“Money is 75% of the reason behind the kids’ departure,” he said.

”The other 25% is that they are given guaranteed presence in the first team.

”We had promised some of them to do the preseason with Barcelona B and they didn’t accept it.”

Source | Marca

Barcelona celebrated winning the Youth League final on Monday which shows there is plenty of talent in the youth ranks. However, keeping hold of them and nurturing them until they are ready for first-team action is the real difficulty.

Who should replace Iniesta as captain?

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.

Lionel Messi

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.

Gerard Pique

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.

Sergio Busquets

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.

MarcAndre 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?

García Pimienta: I don’t understand any other style than Barcelona’s

Javier García Pimienta has been talking for the first time since replacing Gerard Lopez as Barcelona B coach.

He said he only understands how to play the Barcelona way and hopes he can develop players so they can make the step up into the first team.

“Homegrown players will always be important, we have very good footballers at Barça B and Juvenil A,” he said.

“I want to keep on training them so that they can become important players at the first team in the future.

“I really wanted to coach the B team, it’s a major challenge. My role is to form and train players, and this will not change.

“I have been at Barça for many years, and I don’t understand the game in any other way than our style. We have players with the right profile.

“The results haven’t been good, but if we do things right, we will have a chance to avoid relegation.”

Source | FC Barcelona

García Pimienta has his work cut out to keep Barcelona B from relegation and will take charge of the team for the first team on Saturday when they face Almeria.

FC Barcelona News: 25 April 2018

Ernesto Valverde is 6th blaugrana to win Copa del Rey both as player and coach | FC Barcelona
Valverde won the Copa del Rey as a player back in 1990, when Barça’s coach was Johan Cruyff. Interestingly, that win for Cruyff put him into the same group, some 12 years after the Dutchman had led the team to the 1978 Copa del Rey as its star player.

Ivan Rakitic, Barça’s all-time leader in single-game finals played without having lost | FC Barccelona
Since he arrived at the Club ahead of the 2014/15 season, Barça have played in seven single-game finals: four in the Copa del Rey, one in the UEFA Champions League, one in the UEFA Super Cup, and one in the FIFA Club World Cup. In each and every one of them, the Croatian midfielder has been an integral element in the team’s lineups, while Barça has gone on to win the championship every single time.

Barcelona eyeing Chelsea star Alonso as long-term Pique replacement | Goal
Chelsea defender Marcos Alonso is being considered by Barcelona as a possible long-term replacement for Gerard Pique, Goal understands. The World Cup winner at Camp Nou is set to turn 32 in February 2019 and the Blaugrana believe a man currently at Stamford Bridge is capable of one day filling a void at the heart of their defence.

Gerard López’s contract rescinded | FC Barcelona
The Club is holding a press conference on Wednesday at 1 PM central European time at the Ciutat Esportiva, to announce the appointment of the new coach, Francisco Javier Garcia Pimienta. The presentation will be made by Jose Mari Bakero and Guillermo Amor, the Club’s heads of professional youth football.

VIDEO: Top 5 La Masia goals from April 21-22, 2018 | FC Barcelona
As we pick up some steam heading into mid-spring, it seems our La Masia players have done the same, continuing to keep their feet on the gas pedal to provide us with a plethora of mouthwatering goals bearing the trademark stamp: Made in La Masia.

Barcelona U19s win UEFA Youth League: Five players to watch | ESPN
For the second time in the tournament’s five-year existence, Barca won the UEFA Youth League, beating Chelsea 3-0 on Monday. They had beaten another English side, Manchester City, in a nine-goal thriller on Friday to make the final, before an Alejandro Marques brace and a late Abel Ruiz effort propelled them to the trophy over the Blues.

Coach Barça to success with the new mobile video game ‘Kings of Soccer’ | FC Barcelona
The new ‘Kings of Soccer’ video game for mobile devices is now available. The multiplayer experience, officially licensed by FC Barcelona, allows you to be the Barça coach and gives you the chance to create your own dream team to compete against your friends and other players from all around the world.