Rivaldo: Coutinho should return to Premier League

Barcelona legend Rivaldo believes Philippe Coutinho should return to the Premier League in order to find his old form. The Brazil international parted ways with Liverpool to join the Blaugrana in January 2018, but he failed to perform consistently as he was played out of position on the left side of the attack.

Last summer, he made the move to Bayern Munich on loan and his spell has been a mixed one despite contributing nine goals and eight assists for the club. Coutinho make a quick start to the proceedings from the number 10 position, but his performances have faded during the backend of the campaign where Thomas Muller has got the regular nod over him. Continue reading “Rivaldo: Coutinho should return to Premier League”

Ernesto Valverde insists Barcelona are on the right track despite criticism

Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has insisted that the Blaugrana are on the right track and their form has been unnecessary criticised by the media. The Spanish giants have not played to the best of their abilities this term but they are still at the top of the La Liga table and on course to qualify for the Champions League knockouts.


The Catalans have won seven of their previous eight league games but there has still been criticism for their only defeat against Levante during this period. As a result, a section of the fans believe Valverde should step down from the head coach role but that appears unlikely to happen in near future.
Continue reading “Ernesto Valverde insists Barcelona are on the right track despite criticism”

Ivan Rakitic admits frustration with limited gametime at Barcelona

Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic has admitted that he is frustrated with his current situation at the Catalan giants. The Croatia international has been a regular for the Blaugrana over the past four seasons but he has recently dropped down the pecking order with summer signing Frenkie de Jong preferred in the centre of the park.


Speaking to Croatian outlet 24sata, Rakitic acknowledged that he has experienced a tough beginning to the season where he has regularly featured off the bench. He added he is content to fight for his position at the moment but things may change, should he continue to struggle for starts in the league.

Continue reading “Ivan Rakitic admits frustration with limited gametime at Barcelona”

Barcelona players not affected by Neymar speculation

Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has said that the players are unlikely to be affected by the ongoing speculation associating Neymar with a return to the club. The Brazil international has played no part for Paris Saint-Germain since the beginning of the season and reports have emerged that he is keen on returning to the Camp Nou before the September 2 transfer deadline.

Amidst this, Valverde has been questioned about the attacker’s potential return on numerous occasions, but the Spaniard has come up with the same response each time around. Speaking in a press conference, Valverde stressed that there is always speculation with the transfer window open and the players have to live with that.

Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has said that the players are unlikely to be affected by the ongoing speculation associating Neymar with a return to the club. The Brazil international has played no part for Paris Saint-Germain since the beginning of the season and reports have emerged that he is keen on returning to the Camp Nou before the September 2 transfer deadline.

Amidst this, Valverde has been questioned about the attacker’s potential return on numerous occasions, but the Spaniard has come up with the same response each time around. Speaking in a press conference, Valverde stressed that there is always speculation with the transfer window open and the players have to live with that.

He added that it would be impossible for the Blaugrana players to play the game, should the Neymar speculation affect them in any capacity, he said: “Every time a market window gets open there’s a big expectation and players like Neymar awake a big expectation as well. What is happening is anything but boring, but he is a PSG player and we must focus on the game. We are used to living with these rumours. If they affected us, it would be impossible to play the games. This is a habitual thing here and it doesn’t look extraordinary to me. We are used to it and we must live with that.”

Barcelona started the season in the worst possible fashion as they succumbed to a 1-0 loss at the hands of Athletic Bilbao on the road. The Basque club have proved a bogey outfit for the team over the years and an early season blow was inflicted after veteran marksman Aritz Aduriz scored with a stunning scissor kick with minutes left on the clock. The Blaugrana are scheduled to face Real Betis on their home turf this weekend.

Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde praises Frenkie de Jong

Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde has praised summer signing Frenkie de Jong and believes the midfielder will provide the added energy in the midfield to drive the team to further success. The Netherlands international was pursued from Ajax at the midway stage of the previous campaign but the terms of the agreement meant that he would only join the Blaugrana this summer.

Speaking in a press conference, Valverde hailed the arrivals of De Jong, Antoine Griezmann and Neto in recent weeks and gave special praise to the former, who has been brought to provide young energy in the centre of the park, he said: “These are three major purchases. Each in their own way. We expect a lot from them. They know that the fans are enthusiastic and we hope that they adapt as quickly as possible.

Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde has praised summer signing Frenkie de Jong and believes the midfielder will provide the added energy in the midfield to drive the team to further success. The Netherlands international was pursued from Ajax at the midway stage of the previous campaign but the terms of the agreement meant that he would only join the Blaugrana this summer.

Speaking in a press conference, Valverde hailed the arrivals of De Jong, Antoine Griezmann and Neto in recent weeks and gave special praise to the former, who has been brought to provide young energy in the centre of the park, he said: “These are three major purchases. Each in their own way. We expect a lot from them. They know that the fans are enthusiastic and we hope that they adapt as quickly as possible.

“De Jong has achieved a high level in recent seasons. Especially last year he was great, just like his entire team. We hope he adds new energy to our midfield. That would be good for us. “We are also building for the future and he has many more years ahead of him. He is a player with a lot of quality and our way of playing fits him well.”

With the arrival of De Jong, the Blaugrana find themselves overloaded with options in the midfield and reports indicate that there could be potential departures. Ivan Rakitic and Arturo Vidal have been linked with potential exits and there remains the prospect of one of the duo heading through the exit door before the transfer deadline.

Elsewhere, the Catalans have been touted to re-sign Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain but so far, they have not come up with a suitable offer. As per sources, the Spanish champions could offer Philippe Coutinho as a makeweight to significantly reduce the £200m price tag but it remains to be seen whether Les Parisiens would favour the proposal.

Valverde explains reason for Messi’s second half appearance against Alaves

Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde has said that he wanted to keep Lionel Messi to remain active on the field of play during the midweek triumph over Alaves. The manager opted to start Messi on the bench for the game and some supporters were surprised when he was brought on to the pitch in the second half, where the club were cruising at 2-0.

Speaking after the game, Valverde indicated that the move has nothing to go with the Golden Shoe accolade and the focus was more on keeping the Argentine active ahead of the Champions League semi-final tie against Liverpool next month, he said: “The idea was that he’d play because the result wasn’t clear when it was goalless at half time. The suggestion that it was about the Golden Shoe… well, we focus on winning. It was time for him to get some rest today and to come out in the second half. It’s good for players to stay involved and active. You can’t put them away in a case and then just bring them out for one match.”

Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde has said that he wanted to keep Lionel Messi to remain active on the field of play during the midweek triumph over Alaves. The manager opted to start Messi on the bench for the game and some supporters were surprised when he was brought on to the pitch in the second half, where the club were cruising at 2-0.

Speaking after the game, Valverde indicated that the move has nothing to go with the Golden Shoe accolade and the focus was more on keeping the Argentine active ahead of the Champions League semi-final tie against Liverpool next month, he said: “The idea was that he’d play because the result wasn’t clear when it was goalless at half time. The suggestion that it was about the Golden Shoe… well, we focus on winning. It was time for him to get some rest today and to come out in the second half. It’s good for players to stay involved and active. You can’t put them away in a case and then just bring them out for one match.”

The Blaugrana are currently three points away from the league title and they are assured of lifting the crown , provided they beat Leganes over the weekend. As such, they have the courtesy to rest players in between the double-legged Champions League semi-final tie against Liverpool and that could prove a key difference in terms of the fitness levels of both teams.

Messi has notched 45 goals through the ongoing campaign and there are no doubts that his performances would put him up there for the Ballon d’Or award. Nonetheless, the main focus would be on the Blaugrana, who are aiming to secure the Champions League crown after missing out for the past three seasons. Barcelona are scheduled to host Levante this weekend before tackling Jurgen Klopp’s men.

VALDES REVEALS ORIGIN OF TIKI TAKA

The football ideology based on short quick passes known as Tiki Taka has wowed the football world for the best part of a decade with Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola famous for this style. Guardiola has gone on to replicate this style with great success at German side Bayern Munich and Manchester City in the Premier League.

One major proponent of this system was the way he changed the perspective of the goalkeeping position with his tiki taka brand of football. Barcelona legend Victor Valdes was the first goalkeeper to experience this new style during his time in Spain and was one of the best passers of the ball for his position.

The football ideology based on short quick passes known as Tiki Taka has wowed the football world for the best part of a decade with Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola famous for this style. Guardiola has gone on to replicate this style with great success at German side Bayern Munich and Manchester City in the Premier League.

One major proponent of this system was the way he changed the perspective of the goalkeeping position with his tiki taka brand of football. Barcelona legend Victor Valdes was the first goalkeeper to experience this new style during his time in Spain and was one of the best passers of the ball for his position.

Valdes revealed in a video that just recently resurfaced about Guardiola’s approach to training. According to him Guardiola spoke to him about his plans in his office after taking over as the manager of Barcelona.

Valdes insisted in the footage that he was not initially convinced about the idea of playing out from the back but followed his orders nevertheless. This looked strange back then but currently the ability to pass from the back is a key attribute that clubs look for before signing goalkeepers.

This period ushered unprecedented success for the Catalan outfit as they were able to dominate the European scene winning a Treble in his first season in charge.

“This pattern allowed the likes of Xavi, Iniesta and Busquet to thrive as they emerged as world class performers under the Spaniard“. Lionel Messi was able to elevate his game “which has seen him“ dominate opponents for the past decade.

Valdes won his share of trophies at the club before departing to Manchester United and Middlesbrough before retirement. The Spanish legend would be grateful that he was able to be part of a great ideology that brought success for both club and country.

Iker Casillas set to retire at Porto after signing new contract

Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas has confirmed that he would like to retire with Porto after signing a new two-year deal with Porto. The goalkeeping legend has spent the past two-and-a-half seasons with the Primeira Liga giants and he is now prepared to see out the remainder of his career with the club.

Speaking to the club’s official website, Casillas said that he is pleased to have signed a new two-year contract at Porto and the present deal could potentially be the final one before stepping down from the game, he quipped: “Today is a very special day. I feel at home at this club. I want to stay here until I finish my career as a footballer. When I got here, many would think it would be to play a year or two and finish. I only have words of appreciation to this club. Not only to the club but to the city itself.”

Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas has confirmed that he would like to retire with Porto after signing a new two-year deal with Porto. The goalkeeping legend has spent the past two-and-a-half seasons with the Primeira Liga giants and he is now prepared to see out the remainder of his career with the club.

Speaking to the club’s official website, Casillas said that he is pleased to have signed a new two-year contract at Porto and the present deal could potentially be the final one before stepping down from the game, he quipped: “Today is a very special day. I feel at home at this club. I want to stay here until I finish my career as a footballer. When I got here, many would think it would be to play a year or two and finish. I only have words of appreciation to this club. Not only to the club but to the city itself.”

Casillas has achieved every trophy within reach from his career at Real Madrid and he has reached a stage where he could easily hang up his boots. However, the World Cup winner seems determined to make a mark with Porto and that could happen through the league where they are tied on points with Benfica with eight games remaining for the season.

Elsewhere, “they have progressed to the Champions League quarter-final where they are scheduled to face Liverpool and the match should test the team’s credentials. Porto were comfortably beaten by a 5-0 aggregate score by Liverpool “during the previous campaign but they would be determined to put up a better fight against the Merseyside giants this time around.

Porto return from the international break with an away game at Braga. Three days later, they are scheduled to face the same opposition in the second leg of the Taca de Portugal semi-final. Porto hold a 3-0 advantage from the home leg.

Barcelona needs to improve

Former Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes said that Barcelona needs to raise the level of their game if they want to beat Olympique Lyonnais. He said that the French team is a good team with some quality players and that they will cause the Spanish side problem, especially on counter-attacks.
Victor Valdes said that Barcelona has not been at their best in recent games and that they will have to improve massively if they want to make it to the next round.

He said that the Olympique Lyonnais players will be motivated for this game and they will want to put in a fight in order to get a result against Barcelona. He said that if the players are not careful they could end up with a defeat thus damaging their hopes of making it to the next round.
He said that the players should be wary of the threat posed by the French club and make sure that they give their best on the pitch.

Former Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes said that Barcelona needs to raise the level of their game if they want to beat Olympique Lyonnais. He said that the French team is a good team with some quality players and that they will cause the Spanish side problem, especially on counter-attacks.
Victor Valdes said that Barcelona has not been at their best in recent games and that they will have to improve massively if they want to make it to the next round.

He said that the Olympique Lyonnais players will be motivated for this game and they will want to put in a fight in order to get a result against Barcelona. He said that if the players are not careful they could end up with a defeat thus damaging their hopes of making it to the next round.
He said that the players should be wary of the threat posed by the French club and make sure that they give their best on the pitch.

“Victor Valdes said that Barcelona has not reached their top form this season and that they have been vulnerable in several games“. He believes that the team needs to improve if they want to win the Champions League. He said that you cannot rely only on Lionel Messi to drive the club forward and that the other players should also take the “responsibility to win games.“

He said that there are plenty of good players at Barcelona and that they are not playing as a team. He said that the players should learn how to play together and collectively and make sure that they learn to keep possession better. Valdes said that the strength of Barcelona has been built on possession football and it is important that the team return to the basics if they want to be successful.

Ernesto Valverde provides his backing for Philippe Coutinho

Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has given his backing to midfielder Philippe Coutinho, who endured a difficult game against Girona in the Spanish La Liga. The Brazil international has struggled to secure a regular starting role under Valverde this term and he has done himself no favours after squandering a couple of golden chances to find the scoresheet.

The Blaugrana returned to winning ways with Nelson Semedo and Lionel Messi finding the net but the match could have been much more comfortable, had Coutinho converted his chances which included a one-on-one with the opposition keeper. Speaking after the game, Valverde was supportive of the former Liverpool man despite the average performance and suggested that he has been pleased by the Brazilian’s workrate throughout the game, he said: “What I like about him is that he always tries things and takes on his man. It might work or it might not. He had chances but didn’t score because their goalkeeper is excellent. He’ll convert other chances soon.”

Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has given his backing to midfielder Philippe Coutinho, who endured a difficult game against Girona in the Spanish La Liga. The Brazil international has struggled to secure a regular starting role under Valverde this term and he has done himself no favours after squandering a couple of golden chances to find the scoresheet.

The Blaugrana returned to winning ways with Nelson Semedo and Lionel Messi finding the net but the match could have been much more comfortable, had Coutinho converted his chances which included a one-on-one with the opposition keeper. Speaking after the game, Valverde was supportive of the former Liverpool man despite the average performance and suggested that he has been pleased by the Brazilian’s workrate throughout the game, he said: “What I like about him is that he always tries things and takes on his man. It might work or it might not. He had chances but didn’t score because their goalkeeper is excellent. He’ll convert other chances soon.”

Meanwhile, “Valverde went further to praise the impact of Coutinho’s compatriot Arthur, who provided a sense of calm in the centre of the park“, he added: “We were having some difficulty because they were pressing high and we couldn’t pass through it on occasions. When Arthur went on, he had the ability to keep the ball. Plus, they were down to 10 and it was a matter of controlling the game and of “finding the open man“. In the end, we had more chances and sealed the result.”

With the victory, the Blaugrana have continued their dominance at the top of the league table and they are still holding a five-point gap over second-placed Atletico Madrid. The Catalan giants are now scheduled to switch their attention to the Copa del Rey quarter-final where they need to recover a 2-0 deficit from the first leg. Lionel Messi was among the high-profile players left out during the reverse fixture but he could return to salvage the club’s Cup hopes.