Barcelona stars back Neymar to stay as speculation continues to swirl

The Brazilian continues to be the centre of attention

There is simply no keeping Neymar out of the headlines, with the Brazilian scoring twice as Barcelona beat Juventus 2-1 in their first pre-season friendly, and first game under Ernesto Valverde.

Neymar’s goals have done little to stop the speculation over his future with contradictory rumors continuing to swirl, and nobody any clearer as to whether he will head to Paris Saint-Germain or stay at Barca.

Over at Sport, they claim a very long chat with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez has convinced Neymar his future is at Camp Nou, and that he has told his two friends he will stay.

It’s the same story at AS too, who report that the club are optimistic their brilliant Brazilian will soon confirm his intention to stay.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s a different story altogether at Marca who claim Neymar is now a step closer to PSG after talks between the club and his father failed to find an agreement.

Meanwhile, other reports agree that talks between Neymar senior and club officials yesterday went badly, which is likely to push the Brazilian to PSG.

Sky Sports are reporting that “only a miracle” will keep Neymar in Spain now amid talks of him signing a six-year deal worth £500,000-a-week.

Who to believe then? Who knows, perhaps what we can glean from all of this is that Neymar’s father appears to be pushing for a move to PSG and it’s now up to the player himself to make the right (or wrong) decision.

Elsewhere, his team-mates have obviously been bombarded with questions about Neymar and Marlon Santos is backing his team-mate to stay.

“For me, Neymar is one of the best players in the world. I haven’t spoken with him but I hope he stays,” he told Sport.

“He’s our team-mate and one of the best. We want him to stay with us. We don’t need to convince Neymar to stay. He’s here with us and he’s going to stay.”

Sergi Samper who put in a fine display against Juve, also backed his team-mate to remain at the club adding: “Neymar will stay. He looks relaxed and he hasn’t given any hints that he wants to go.”

Valverde too was quick to address the speculation after the game insisting “We want Neymar with us” – but once again we’ve unfortunately heard nothing from the man himself.

FC Barcelona News: 23 July 2017; Neymar Leads Barcelona in Friendly Win, Barcelona B Schedule Announced

FC Barcelona opens Valverde era with impressive 2–1 win over Juventus | FC Barcelona
Neymar Jr notched two impeccable first half goals as FC Barcelona rolled past the Italian champions Juventus, 2–1, before 82,104 fans at a sold-out MetLife Stadium. The 25-year-old Brazilian was named Man of the Match.

Valverde denies PSG reports: ‘Barca are not going to go without Neymar’ | ESPN
Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde once again insisted that Neymar is going nowhere after the Brazilian starred in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Juventus in the International Champions Cup. After a week in which Neymar’s looked ever closer to Paris Saint-Germain, with a source telling ESPN FC an agreement on personal terms has already been reached, he scored two stunning first-half goals at MetLife Stadium.

PSG looking for Neymar ‘sponsorship’ | Football Espana
Paris Saint-Germain could land Qatari sponsorship to sign Neymar from Barcelona and avoid falling foul of FFP regulations.Marca claims the French club have been told Neymar will quit Barca if they can trigger his €222m release clause but doing so would conflict with UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules.

The best quotes following Barça’s win over Juventus | FC Barcelona
See what was said after the 2–1 win over Juventus at MetLife Stadium.

Barça B to kick off season away at Valladolid | FC Barcelona
On Friday the schedule for the Spanish Second Division, known as La Liga 123, for 2017/18 was announced. Barça B return to the second tier of Spanish Football following their successful promotion campaign last season in the Second Division B and their first game will be against Valladolid away from home.

New Barça shirt and sponsor unveiled at a festive MetLife Stadium | FC Barcelona
Minutes before kickoff of Barça’s first match of the preseason, a Grade-A matchup with Juventus in the International Champions Cup, Club’s First and Third Vice Presidents, Jordi Cardoner and Jordi Mestre, the founder and CEO of Rakuten, Hiroshi Mikitani, and the former FC Barcelona player Thierry Henry, stood near midfield to literally pull back the curtain on the new Blaugrana jersey, which is bearing the Rakuten logo in a game for the first time.

Barça fans come together in the heart of Manhattan | FC Barcelona
The blaugrana fans of New York came together in the heart of Manhattan in Bryant Park to take part in a gigantic mosaic of FC Barcelona’s shirt. The event was attended by the Club President, Josep Maria Bartomeu; the board members who have travelled to New York; the Barça Legends player and Club ambassador, Juliano Belletti; and the ex-player Thierry Henry.

Juventus vs. Barcelona, 2017 International Champions Cup: Final Score 1-2, Barça win preseason opener

The boys are back in style!

Barcelona kicked off preseason with a 2-1 win against Juventus in a very entertaining match at MetLife Stadium. Ernesto Valverde used two different teams in the two halves of his managerial debut, and saw a spectacular Neymar secure the win in the first period. We saw plenty of positive signs from the team in this game, and even though preseason results don’t matter, the performance was quite good.

FIRST HALF

The Blaugrana had a very strong first period, dominating possession and pressing high up the pitch to force Juve into mistakes. Neymar and Lionel Messi were hungry for goals, and they constantly looked for each other to create dangerous chances. In two of those occasions, the two created goals: first, Messi passed it to Neymar who made a lovely one-two with Paco Alcácer and found the top left corner.

Then Messi assisted Neymar before the Brazilian went on a spectacular run through the defense to make it 2-0 for the Catalan giants. Barça kept pushing and got a few free-kicks that tested Gianluigi Buffon, but the score remained the same as the two teams went to the dressing rooms.

At halftime, Barça were in control and up two goals with a strong performance.

SECOND HALF

Juventus had a much stronger lineup than Barça in the final period, and the game was much closer than what we saw in the first half. The Blaugrana still had the possession and created good chances through Denis Suárez and Luis Suárez, but Juve became much more of a threat on the counter with Paulo Dybala, Juan Cuadrado, Douglas Costa and Alex Sandro on the pitch.

The Bianconeri got an early goal with Giorgio Chiellini that made the rest of the game very interesting, but Barça managed to stay in front, confirm the victory and start preseason with a good performance. Encouraging signs.


Juventus: Buffon (Szczesny); Lichtsteiner (De Sciglio), Benatia (Mandragora), Barzagli (Chiellini), Asamoah (Alex Sandro); Khedira (Pjanic), Marchisio (Rincón); Sturaro (Cuadrado), Lemina (Dybala), Bentancur (Costa); Mandzukic (Higuaín)

Goal: Chiellini (62’)

Barcelona: Cillessen (Ortolá); Vidal (Semedo), Piqué (Marlon), Mascherano (Umtiti), Digne (Alba); Samper (Busquets), Rakitic (Roberto), Iniesta (Aleñà); Messi (Arda), Alcácer (Suárez), Neymar (Denis)

Goals: Neymar (15’, 26’)

Neymar scores sensational brace in first Barcelona preseason match against Juventus

Looks like a man with a point to prove…

It’s been a crazy week revolving around Neymar. Rumors of a move to PSG have been running rampant lately with very little signs of slowing down. However, the noise off the field doesn’t seem to be affecting the Brazilian superstar at all. In Barcelona’s preseason debut against Juventus, Neymar did what he does best and filled the net with two amazing first-half goals.

The first tally came off a fantastic team move that resulted in Neymar playing a perfect one-two with Paco Alcacer at the top of the box. He collected the return pass and smashed a great finish into the top of the net to open the scoring and open Barcelona’s preseason scoring account.

The second goal was even more impressive as he looked like he was doing a Lionel Messi impersonation. Dribbling and weaving through multiple defenders and penetrating into the box, he finally released a shot that found its way past a helpless Gianluigi Buffon to make it 2-0.

Despite all the transfer rumor nonsense this week, Neymar appears to be at the top of his game and ready to have the best season of his career.

Juventus vs. Barcelona, 2017 International Champions Cup: CONFIRMED Lineups, Live Game Thread

Barça ball is back! Join the conversation!

MATCH INFO, HOW TO WATCH ON TV/ONLINE

Date/Time: Saturday, July 22, 2017, 6:05pm ET, 3:05pm PT (USA), 11:05pm BST (UK), 12:05am CET (Europe, Sunday), 3:35am IST (India, Sunday)

Venue: MetLife Stadium, New York, United States

TV: ESPN (USA), Premier Sports (UK), StarTimes World Football (Nigeria), TEN 2, Sony LIV (India), TLN (Canada), Cuatro, TV3 (Spain), elsewhere

Online: WatchESPN (USA), elsewhere


LINEUPS

JUVENTUS

Starting XI: Buffon; Lichtsteiner, Benatia, Barzagli, Asamoah; Khedira, Marchisio; Sturaro, Lemina, Bentancur; Mandzukic

Bench: Szczesny, Pinsoglio, Del Favero, Chiellini, Coccolo, Alex Sandro, De Sciglio, Mandragora, Caligara, Pjanic, Rincon, Cuadrado, Douglas Costa, Dybala, Higuaín, Kean

BARCELONA

Starting XI: Cillessen; Vidal, Piqué, Mascherano, Digne; Samper, Rakitic, Iniesta; Messi, Alcácer, Neymar

Bench: Ortolá, Jokin, Marlon, Umtiti, Vermaelen, Semedo, Douglas, Alba, Roberto, Busquets, Aleñà, Denis, Arda, Munir, Suárez


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

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Barcelona vs. Juventus live stream: Start time, TV listings and how to watch International Champions Cup online

The first preseason match for Barça is a great one against one of Europe’s best teams. This should be fun!

A new era starts for Barcelona on Saturday night in New York. The Blaugrana have a new manager, new signings and they might have to find a way to replace one of the world’s best place while playing in the International Champions Cup.

Barça will face Juventus in the first game of this preseason tour in the United States, and this match brings back some bad memories of not too long ago. It was less of three months since the Bianconeri knocked Barça out of the Champions League with an incredible defensive performance at the Camp Nou.

Juve will be looking to repeat the same result, even though preseason is basically fake and the only thing that matters is preparing the players for the real competition. The Italian champions have made some very good signings despite losing Leonardo Bonucci to AC Milan, and this will be a tough test for Ernesto Valverde in his first match in charge of the Blaugrana.

Valverde will also get to coach Neymar for the first time, but it might be one of the last. The Brazilian seems to be on his way to PSG, but he might also be staying. We really don’t know, but we just have to enjoy Neymar playing again.

We’ll also see Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez, new signing Nélson Semedo and the new Barça kits. It’ll be very fun! Don’t miss it!


MATCH INFO

Date/Time: Saturday, July 22, 2017, 6:05pm ET, 3:05pm PT (USA), 11:05pm BST (UK), 12:05am CET (Europe, Sunday), 3:35am IST (India, Sunday)

Venue: MetLife Stadium, New York, United States

HOW TO WATCH INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONS CUP ON TV, ONLINE

TV: ESPN (USA), Premier Sports (UK), StarTimes World Football (Nigeria), TEN 2, Sony LIV (India), TLN (Canada), Cuatro, TV3 (Spain), elsewhere

Online: WatchESPN (USA), elsewhere

(Listings via LiveSoccerTV)

Bartomeu guarantees Neymar will stay at Barcelona

This is one seriously big claim from the president

Josep Maria Bartomeu has guaranteed Neymar will stay at Barcelona, as speculation over a move to Paris Saint-Germain continues to dominate the headlines.

Just two days ago, Bartomeu insisted the Brazilian was not on the market and claimed it would be “impossible” for PSG to activate his release clause.

However, the president has now gone a step further by claiming there is no way Neymar will quit Camp Nou.

Bartomeu was at Bryan Park earlier today, for the presentation of a huge Barca shirt, and, according to Sport was asked “Can you guarantee with confidence that Neymar will remain in Barca?”

To which the president replied: “Yes, it is what we have always said.”

Now unless something has been lost in translation, that is one seriously huge claim from Bartomeu.

Some outlets have even gone so far as to claim that Neymar has already agreed terms with PSG, and that they will now spring his release clause.

Of course we’ve also seen reports today that Barca are growing convinced he will stay, and that the players have helped changed Neymar’s mind.

Either way, we may get more of a clue as to what is going on tonight when Barca take on Juventus in the International Champions Cup.

Will Neymar make Ernesto Valvede’s starting line-up against Juve? And if he does, will we be able to gain some clue as to his current mindset?

Here’s hoping we may see the end of this whole, sorry saga soon.

Barcelona announce squad, kit numbers for United States tour

New numbers for Marlon and Semedo!

Barcelona announced on Saturday the full squad and kit numbers for the three games in the United States preseason tour, also known as International Champions Cup:

The two new signings, Marlon Santos and Nélson Semedo, have been assigned numbers they’ll probably use throughout the new season: the Brazilian center-back will take the number 2 shirt, while the Portuguese right-back will wear #12. Back from his loan at AS Roma, Thomas Vermaelen takes #15, while Sergi Samper wears #26, Douglas Pereira takes #28 and Munir El-Haddadi plays with the #29.

The only change from last season’s squad is Carles Aleñà, who changes numbers from 28 to 16, which indicates he will indeed be part of the first team once the competitive season begins.

Barça will face Juventus on Saturday (July 22), Manchester United on July 26 and Real Madrid on July 29.

Neymar is Damaging His Own Reputation at Barcelona

Sad but true

If Neymar is really staying after the rollercoaster of drama that had Cules as conflicted as Gollum, it’s hard not to think he’s done a massive miscalculation by going the route he went.

Barcelona fans have turned against him in large numbers, and not entirely without cause. A poll in Diario SPORT found about three quarters of supporters wanted him gone. True, Neymar himself has not yet publicly claimed he is ready to move on, but his silence amid intense media speculation is, as they say, deafening.

Whatever he is angling for – more money, more influence over personnel choices, more money for his dad, whatever – he may get. But to what cost of his own reputation at the Camp Nou?

A lot of the things that were seen in the best possible light are now being seen in the worst possible light. It’s the Gollum thing again.

Sméagol: Neymar’s allowed a break! He loves his family. Let him go to his sister’s birthday party! He is our friend!

Gollum: No, no! Tricksy Neymar! How dare he disrespect us by leaving during matchdays!

Sméagol: Neymar hasn’t said anything in public. It’s all media rumors!

Gollum: Wicked, lying Neymar! Not to be trusted! Quiet while we suffer!

Except fans are now edging towards permanent Gollumness. If Neymar is staying, then he’s burning up a lot of goodwill he’s built up. He’ll probably recuperate it, after all, nothing is a better tonic than winning. But the short-term damage might be painful. And some may linger into long-term damage.

Ney better speak up and make his choice known publicly soon, or everyone might completely lose their minds. Or he might leave after all. Who knows? But even in that situation, out of sheer politeness if not gratefulness to the club, he ought to make his choice – either way – known very soon.

Time for planning for next season is running out.

FC Barcelona News: 22 July 2017; Barça preseason starts against Juventus, Arsenal want to sign Rafinha

A round-up of the latest Barça news and transfer rumors

MATCH PREVIEW: Juventus vs FC Barcelona at MetLife Stadium – FC Barcelona
NEW YORK — Every story has a beginning, a moment when pen meets paper. For some, the words just ease out onto the page. For others, however, that first sentence is the most challenging. FC Barcelona appears to be falling into the latter category this season as they get set to play their first of three matches in the International Champions Cup against the Italian champions Juventus.

FC Barcelona gives the fans a show during a wild training session at Red Bull Arena – FC Barcelona
As thousands came out to see the Catalans train on Friday—their final session before Saturday’s preseason opener versus Juventus—Ernesto Valverde’s drills drew plenty of cheers from an eager crowd

Ernesto Valverde: ‘I’m anxious to make my debut’ – FC Barcelona
The Barça manager spoke to the media on the eve of his first match, which comes Saturday versus Juventus at MetLife Stadium

Neymar agrees PSG terms | Football Espana
Neymar has informed Paris Saint-Germain his intention is to join the cub this summer and he has agreed personal terms, according to reports.

Busquets: Barca perfect for Neymar | Football Espana
Sergio Busquets has urged Neymar to stay at Barcelona, insisting ‘he can’t be anywhere better’ than at the Camp Nou.

Arsenal deal for €30m-rated Rafinha | Football Espana
Arsenal are interested in signing midfielder Rafinha Alcantara after Barcelona gave them a clear indication of their willingness to sell, say reports.

Barca identify Dybala deal | Football Espana
Barcelona have set their sights on Juventus attacking star Paulo Dybala should Neymar leave the club to join Paris Saint-Germain, say reports in Spain.