Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde has indicated that Philippe Coutinho has been unlucky with the Catalan giants during the current campaign. The Brazil international has barely started a game for the Blaugrana since early December and this has recently raised the speculation regarding his future with the Spanish champions.
Speaking to reporters, Valverde admitted that Coutinho is going through a difficult phase with the Catalan giants and termed the situation as being ‘unlucky’. He added that both Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele remain vital figures to the team while not ruling out the possibility of the duo playing together more often.
Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi has said that he is comfortable with his position at the Catalan giants and does not seek to leave the club anytime soon. The Argentina international was recently urged by Cristiano Ronaldo to take up a fresh challenge in the Serie A but Messi appears content to prolong his stay with the Spanish champions.
In an interview covered by Marca, Messi said that Real Madrid are a great club but they have been hampered this campaign with Ronaldo’s departure reducing their impact in the forward department, he quipped: “At the beginning of the season I said they are a great club, one of the best in the world and with a lot of great players, but anyone would miss Cristiano. He scores a lot of goals and gives you many other things so it doesn’t surprise me.”
Barcelona’s summer signing Malcom has stressed that he is pleased with his position with the Catalan giants despite taking time to adjust to the manager’s style of play. The Brazilian had managed only 25 minutes of league action until late October but he has appeared to turn the corner of late after scoring an important Champions League goal in the 1-1 draw against Inter Milan.
Speaking to reporters, Malcom highlighted that he has settled well into the new surroundings despite finding first-team football hard to come by under Ernesto Valverde, he said: “I have settled very well, I am learning Spanish. This team is like a family and everyone wants the best for each other, we make many a joke in the changing room. The relationships are getting better. I want to play difficult games to show the coach that I have the quality to be in this team. I spoke to him and he [Valverde] told me what I needed to do to get minutes.”
Inter Milan manager Luciano Spalletti has heaped praise on the qualities of Lionel Messi ahead of the club’s Champions League encounter against Barcelona in midweek. The Argentina international has been absent for the past three matches with an arm injury but he is expected to make a comeback during the upcoming European meeting at San Siro.
Speaking in a news conference, Spalletti hailed Messi as the world’s best and praised the player’s quick transition of play when in possession of the ball, he said: “Messi’s shirt is the one wanted by every child who dreams of becoming a footballer. He plays that game at another speed. He is the best.”
Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde was disappointed to see his team only get a 1-1 draw with Valencia during the weekend. The result has extended at the club’s winless run in the league to an incredible four matches. Lionel Messi was able to come up with a crucial equaliser that helped Barcelona pick up at least point. It took only two minutes for Valencia to score in the match but it was Messi who came up with the equaliser in the first half. Even though Barcelona were unable to find a winner in the game, they were able to look at Real Madrid also drop points during the weekend.
Valverde is coming under immense pressure on already and one of the few joys for Barcelona came in the Champions League where they have picked up back-to-back wins. The summer witnessed several changes in the Barcelona setup and they seem to have missed the magic that made them champions last season. The failure to win the recent matches has been characterised by a lack of creativity and Barcelona are now behind Sevilla going into the international break. Valverde lamented Valencia scoring from one of the few mistakes that Barcelona committed in the match and he is confident of the team recovering back to their best in the near future.
Ajax midfielder Frenkie de Jong has revealed that he would like to play alongside Lionel Messi at Barcelona in the future. The Netherlands international was the subject of two failed bids from the Spanish champions during the summer and reports have suggested that the Blaugrana could make a renewed attempt at the turn of the year.
Speaking to Ajax’s television channel, De Jong hinted that he would like to make the switch to a bigger club in the future whilst highlighting his preference to play alongside Barcelona legend Messi, he said:”If you end up at a superior club, you will play with world class players all over the pitch. But for me, honestly, I would like to play with Messi one day.”
Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has branded Lionel Messi as a ‘genius’ after the Argentine starred during the club’s 3-0 win over Alaves in the season opener. Messi had a rather frustrating World Cup with Argentina over the summer but he managed to shed the disappointment with a brace to kick-start the league campaign.
Speaking after the game, Valverde was full of praise for the attacker, who scored Barcelona’s 6000th La Liga goal with a lovely free-kick which was intentionally placed underneath the opposition wall, he said: “Messi is a genius. We’re lucky to be able to see him every day. We’re lucky to be involved in football during the era in which he is playing — we want him to pull a rabbit from the hat every day. There’s still room for Messi to surprise us. He always surprises you — he never ceases to amaze me, honestly. You have to be ready to expect anything from Messi because he sees what no one else sees.”
Colombian legend Carlos Valderrama has warned Yerry Mina from making the move to the Premier League with Everton. The Barcelona centre-back has been widely tipped to pursue a fresh challenge during the ongoing transfer window with Marco Silva’s side deemed as favourites to sign the former Palmeiras man.
Speaking to Radio Caracol, Valderrama has raised concerns over the potential move and believes Mina would better off joining Galatasaray than Everton with the promise of Champions League football, he said: “The Premier League is attractive but for me the Champions League is the most prestigious. I don’t think Yerry should join a mid-table team like Everton. Fatih Terim has a great record of developing players. If it were me, I would pick Galatasaray.”
Barcelona’s new summer signing Arthur has revealed that he is delighted to be compared with club legends Xavi and Andres Iniesta. The Brazilian became the Blaugrana’s first signing of the summer transfer window after arriving from Gremio and he has penned a six-year contract with the reigning Spanish champions.
Speaking in a news conference, Arthur said: “
I am really happy that they say I have Barca DNA. To come here is fantastic for me, it has always been my dream. I know there will be tough moments but I will try to learn from those moments.Being compared with Xavi and Iniesta is fantastic. I don’t hide my passion for them. I will always admire them. I couldn’t say which one I have more in common with, though.”
Argentina legend Javier Zanetti believes Lionel Messi is under more pressure to deliver for the national side after witnessing them lose in the finals of the previous three major tournaments. The Barcelona star has won everything within reach at club level but he has yet to taste any form of glory with the Albiceleste.
Speaking to Mediaset, Zanetti admitted that Messi will once more be the focus of Argentina’s World Cup campaign and feels the burden will only increase on him, should the nation reach the final stages of the tournament, he said: “There is a lot of pressure on him, but not only in this competition but also in the past. Everyone expects it to be his World Cup and that Argentina can win, but it will be difficult because I see other more equipped national teams. The defeats in the two Copa America and World Cup finals further increases pressures on him and the team from the press. We expect a lot. It [the World Cup] stops all the country, there is great enthusiasm and passion for this national team and we hope to get to the end of the competition.”