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Ivan Rakitic to sign 5 year contract with FC Barcelona

June 17th, 2014

FC Barcelona and Sevilla have come to an agreement over Ivan Rakitic, who is due to sign a 5 year contract with the Catalan club. As part of the agreement Denis Suárez will transfer to Sevilla for the next two seasons.

Rakitic was Sevilla’s captain and lead the team to the Europa League title this last season, generally playing in the central midfield. He is currently in Brazil, where it represents the Croatian national squad.

Club Leon to play in Gamper

June 17th, 2014

The annual Joan Gamper trophy is this year scheduled for 20th August, when Mexican Club León de Guanajuato visits the Nou Camp.

Former Barça player Rafa Marquez has played at Club Leon since 2012 and it is the first time the club will contest the trophy. The match will also act as a farewell to both Carles Puyol and Victor Valdes as players.

Other summer fixtures include matches against Nice on 2nd August and HJK Helsinki on 9th August.

Messi goal helps Argentina to victory

June 16th, 2014

After Brazil’s opening match and Spain’s humiliation at the hands of the Dutch, last night saw Argentina take centre stage captained by Barça superstar Lionel Messi.

Despite often being considered the best player in the world, Messi is yet to make an impact on the World Cup. And despite admitting to nerves last night his move when it came resulted in a fantastic goal, only his second World Cup goal in nine matches, the last being in 2006!

Argentina went ahead against Bosnia and Herzegovina early on thanks to an own goal by Sead Kolašinac, with the Argentine side certainly lacking against a side that had never scored a World Cup goal. However, after the break and a change of formation, Argentina started to look far more comfortable and Gonzalo Higuain helped set up a spectacular goal for Messi 20 minutes into the second half.

With Argentina now looking more comfortable and with a two goal advantage things were looking far better. Five minutes from the end Vedad Ibišević closed the gap but Argentina held onto their lead to take three points to head Group F.

Argentina’s next match is against Iran on 21st June.

1-0 Kolašinac (min 3)
2-0 Messi (min 65)
2-1 Ibišević (min 85)

Disastrous World Cup opener for Spain

June 14th, 2014

Spain’s opening match in the 2014 World Cup against Holland turned into an unmitigated disaster, when the reigning champions were defeated 5-1.

Seven Barça players were on the pitch last night and as this article on the BBC points out, none of Real Madrid’s attackers is Spanish while just one player from current la liga champions, Atletico Madrid, took part.

The squad is also mature, with seven players over thirty and it may be that the current Spanish squad is just too old to compete at the level required to get anywhere near good enough to lift the World Cup trophy for the second time in succession.

Fabregas inks deal with Chelsea

June 13th, 2014

After his three seasons at FC Barcelona, Cesc Fabregas is to make a return to Premier League football after confirming a deal with Chelsea, under Jose Mourinho.

His departure had been widely expected and with a host of players expected to leave over the summer the new look Barça project is well under way. The shape and form of the squad for the 2014/2015 season is far from clear at the moment though and no doubt the FC Barcelona talent scouts will be taking the pick of the world’s players out in Brazil at the moment.

The UK press is reporting a £30 million deal, with the contract for 5 years.

Neymar scores 2 goals in World Cup opener

June 13th, 2014

The 2014 FIFA World Cup opened last night in Brazil, with the host nation playing Croatia.

The Brazilian squad fielded both Dani Alves and Neymar in the match, but it was teammate and Real Madrid player Marcelo who made the first impact of the match when he opened the scoring for this year’s competition with an own goal.

Neymar later made up for it with 2 goals of his own, one from the penalty spot, but was awarded a yellow card for using his elbow while the Croatians called for him to be sent off. His first goal was superb, but the penalty looked like a poor decision. Brazil’s other goal was by Oscar, while Croatia had a goal of their own disallowed.

The final score was 3-1 to Brazil.

Luis Enrique undergoes appendix op

June 10th, 2014

According to the official FC Barcelona website, manager Luis Enrique underwent emergency surgery for appendicitis at the weekend. 

Although the timing must be frustrating just weeks into his new job, the operation was a success and he is expected to be discharged within a few days.

The Barça squad is due to go back to training in mid-July, but before that Enrique must be hard at work trying to shape his new look side: during the next few weeks we can expect a spate of new signings for the club.

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Spanish squad heads for USA with 7 Barça players prior to World Cup

June 4th, 2014

With just 10 days before the start of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the seven players from FC Barcelona selected for the national squad headed for the USA on Monday to participate in their final training camp before the big event and play a friendly against El Salvador.

The seven Barça players picked to play for Spain are Piqué, Jordi Alba, Sergio, Iniesta, Xavi, Cesc and Pedro and hopes will be high that Spain can again take the title as they did so memorably in 2010 with a squad dominated by Barcelona players.

Following the US tour the squad will fly to Curitiba during the group stage of the competition.

Carles Puyol to join FC Barcelona’s sports management team

May 31st, 2014

Former Barça captain Carles Puyol is to rejoin the club in September, taking on a role in the Football Department under Andoni Zubizarreta as an assistant to the sports management team.

It’s a great move for Puyol as it means he remains with the club he has always loved and, while he won’t be playing football, brings a strong work ethic and leadership skills while being well known both inside and outside FC Barcelona.

Barça wins Copa del Catalunya on penalties

May 23rd, 2014

One competition that flies completely under the radar is the Copa de Catalunya, which on Wednesday was won by FC barcelona against Espanyol.

The cup has none of the prestige of other competitions with Barça fielding a squad mainly comprised of B-team players and a few years ago the final was cancelled when it became apparent that Barcelona did not intend to send the main squad to play.

The main question is why the competition continues to exist. While it might be prestigious enough for a second division team to win the title, FC Barcelona just can’t be bothered. It must be more to do with being overcommitted, with the league, Champions League and Copa del Rey. Many players also have commitments to national squads.

While the match ended goalless after full time, the match went to penalties. Barcelona walked away the winner after beating Espanyol 3-2 from the penalty spot.

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