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Pique extends contract while Cesc and others up for sale

May 21st, 2014

Gerard Pique yesterday extended his contract with FC Barcelona by four years to 2019. Pique’s contract was due to run our at the end of next season but has come to an agreement with the club and will sign the new contract shortly.

At the same time Cesc Fabregas is reportedly being made available, with the club looking to see how how much they might be offered. His current valuation is around €40 million. Other players the club is open to offers for include Mascherano, Alex Song, Pedro, Alexis, Tello and Dani Alves.




Messi signs improved Barça deal

May 20th, 2014

FC Barcelona has inked an improved deal with Lionel Messi that will secure he remains with the club for the foreseeable future. A provisional deal was agreed at the end of last week and finally signed yesterday.

Although details have not been released it is reported the contract will earn Messi the equivalent of £16.3 million a year, making him the best paid player in the world.

In exchange for the higher payout from Barça Messi has given up a proportion of his image rights, which will be paid to FC Barcelona instead.

Ter Stegen signed as Valdes’ replacement

May 20th, 2014

As well as announcing the signing a new coach yesterday, the board of FC Barcelona also announced that Marc-André Ter Stegen had been signed to replace Victor Valdes in goal, with José Manuel Pinto let go after more than six years as the reserve keeper.

Ter Stegen is just 22 years old and so has the potential for a long stint ahead of him at the Catalan club. He previously played at Borussia Mönchengladbach from 2011, making 107 appearances for the club after previously playing for the club’s reserve team.

Luis Enrique joins Barça as coach

May 20th, 2014

Following the well signalled departure of Gerardo Martino following Barcelona’s defeat by Atletico Madrid on Saturday, the club has been quick to sign up a new coach.

Former Barça player Luis Enrique was widely tipped for the position after talks with club officials and has previously headed Barça B. The 44 year old former player has signed a two year contract as he steps into the shoes of Martino. With the departure of Carles Puyol and Victor Valdes the club is in a period of transition although the club has also signed Marc-André ter Stegen from Borussia Mönchengladbach to replace Valdes.

Enrique played for Real Madrid between 1991 and 1996, when he stunned many by switching to arch-rival Barça on free transfer. He was with the Catalan club for eight years, becoming captain.

La liga 2013/14 – standing after week 38

May 19th, 2014

The final match of the season saw Atletico Madrid take the title after drawing with FC Barcelona. The top of the table ended with Atletico on 90 points followed by FC Barcelona and Real Madrid on 87, while Athletic Bilbao took the fourth spot with 70 points.

Gerardo Martino confirmed he was leaving FC Barcelona in the press conference after the match following a season in which the club has not taken any of the major trophies. Next season will see a very different looking Barça, with a new manager on board and after having said farewell to both Carles Puyol and Victor Valdes, longtime stalwarts of the club. They will be missed.

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Atletico takes la liga title with draw at Nou Camp

May 19th, 2014

It all came down to the last match of the season. Few titles are decided in such a dramatic fashion, with the only two teams to remain in contention for the league title squaring up for the last match of the season and while a win for Barça would earn them the title, any other result was failure.

Atletico Madrid has been Barcelona’s main competition throughout the season and while Real Madrid showed some ambition for the title late on, their chances were dashed with a number of poor results. In fact both Barça and Atletico too suffered from the same thing and after a start to the season that was exceptional, both suffered points drops in the second half that really should not have occurred.

The visitors were unlucky to lose to men to injury early on, when first Diego Costa and then Arda Turan limped off the pitch within a few minutes of each other but despite high possession for the Catalans, the visitors held their nerve and made sure Barça had few options.

The opener was scored by Alexis 32 minutes in, with a goal set up by Cesc and Messi to be volleyed by Alexis into the Atletico net. The goal hardly seemed like it had happened and it took a moment for many Barça fans to believe their eyes.

Back on after the break with Barcelona ahead Atletico still looking sharp and quick to counter-attack. The equaliser came five minutes into the second half from a corner, when Godin headed the ball beyond the reach of Pinto, who looked to react a fraction too late. It looked like Barcelona had taken the lead again when Messi put the goal into the back of the net and for a moment the hopes of the crowd soared before it was clear that the goal had been ruled offside.

The final minutes saw both teams looking tense and as the minutes ticked down in extra time it could only take a miracle for Barcelona to win the match. When the final whistle blew it was over for another year for FC Barcelona as Atletico Madrid took the title.

1-0 Alexis (min 32)
1-1 Godín (min 50)

End of an era: Carles Puyol and Victor Valdes bid farewell to Barça

May 15th, 2014

Both goalkeeper Victor Valdes and captain Carles Puyol are saying their goodbyes to FC Barcelona at the end of this season, Valdes to move on and enjoy his matches more at a club with less pressure and Puyol due to injuries taking their toll.

Victor Valdes, currently recuperating following the operation to repair a knee injury, has published an open letter to fans, which you can read on the FCB website here. And next Thursday there will be an institutional event for Carles Puyol, to honour his contributions to the club.

It is a little surprising that more isn’t being done to honour Valdes, who was a superb goalkeeper during his time in the first team and showed leadership and determination from the goal mouth.

We wish both players the best of luck wherever and whatever they find themselves doing next.

Barcelona beats Girona to face Espanyol in Copa de Catalunya final

May 14th, 2014

A Barcelona side comprised mainly of B and youth squad players beat Girona last night in the semi-final of the Copa de Catalunya.

The match saw Barcelona, playing away at Montilivi stadium, open the scoring thanks to Babunski , with Girona equalising to end the first half 1-1.

Cuenca put Barça ahead again 20 minutes into the second half, with Chando again equalising just two minutes later. But Ilie scored the winning goal for FC Barcelona to put them through to the final, to be played on 21st May against Espanyol.

0-1 Babunski (min 18)
1-1 Chando (min 34)
1-2 Cuenca (p) (min 65)
2-2 Chando (min 67)
2-3 Ilie (min 77)

La liga 2013/14 – standing after week 37

May 12th, 2014

Three clubs were fighting for the league title going into the weekend, but with Real Madrid badly slipping up against Celta Vigo that race is now down to just Atletico Madrid and FC Barcelona.

Barcelona must win at the Nou Camp next Saturday to take the title, a result that would see them level on points with Atletico, but taking the title due to the results between the two teams; when Barça played at Vicente Calderon stadium they drew against Atletico, giving them the advantage, while a draw or loss means Atletico is ahead on points.

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Barcelona hang on to league hopes after draw against Elche

May 12th, 2014

Sunday evening saw FC Barcelona travel down to Valencia province to play Elche with kickoff coinciding with both Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid, timed so that none of the contenders for the league title would have an advantage in knowing how the others had done.

Barça maintained high possession throughout the match, but once again were looking lacklustre and without the spark that you expect from the Catalans. While there were a number of opportunities to score, the team was unable to come up with enough to put the ball home and while in some respects they were unlucky not to score, they also lacked the creativity to make it happen.

Elche also looked dangerous at times on the counterattack, something that Barça needed to avoid at all costs in order to remain in the race. In the end the match ended without a goal being scored, Elche happy with their single point that guarantees they will play in the top tier next season, while Barcelona hanging on to their hopes only because Atletico also drew.

The title this year comes down to the final match of the season, with Barcelona facing Atletico. Barça must win the match to take the title, but on yesterday’s performance they have a long way to go if they are to achieve that aim.

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