Barcelona

The brilliant Ronaldinho has retired, but his legacy is full of 'what if?'

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 12:36:00 PST

The ESPN FC crew look back on Ronaldinho's legendary career and persona on and off the pitch after the Brazilian officially announced his retirement. Now it's official: Ronaldinho will not play any more competitive football. His older brother and agent, Assis, has announced that farewell matches and events will take place after the World Cup, but one of the most gifted players the game has ever seen will not be kicking any more balls in anger. In truth, this only makes official what everyone already knew. Ronaldinho has not been seen in competitive action for more than two years. His last serious match was a Brazilian league game for Fluminense...

Suarez reverses Barca's Anoeta curse to top Player Power Rankings

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 09:36:00 PST

Following their performances in Barcelona's first league win at Real Sociedad since 2007, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi top this week's Player Power Rankings. Get caught up on all the action you might have missed from the weekend in soccer. Barcelona stormed back in the second half to end a seven-match league winless run at Real Sociedad's Anoeta Stadium with a 4-2 win. ESPN FC's global editorial desks nominate their top weekend performers. Luis Suarez led Barcelona to their first league win at Anoeta since 2007. 1. Luis Suarez | Barcelona Why he's here: With Barca trailing 2-0 at Real Sociedad, Suarez sparked the Catalans' comeback by assisting on one goal and scoring two more in a 4-2 win on Sunday. 2. Lionel Messi | Barcelona Why he's here: Messi netted a goal and an assist himself in Barca's win at Anoeta, breaking Gerd Muller's European record for most...

Suarez sparks Barcelona comeback win at Real Sociedad with brace, assist

Sun, 14 Jan 2018 02:22:00 PST

Barcelona stormed back in the second half to end a seven-match league winless run at Real Sociedad's Anoeta Stadium with a 4-2 win. Barcelona produced a stunning second-half performance to come from two goals down to beat Real Sociedad 4-2 on Sunday, ending a 10-year wait for a win at Anoeta in La Liga. Barca's last win in the league in San Sebastian came in 2007, and they looked set for another defeat when Willian Jose and Juanmi gave the hosts a deserved two-goal advantage in the first half. Paulinho pulled one back before the break, though, and Ernesto Valverde's side took over in the second half. Luis Suarez scored...

Yerry Mina move to Barcelona celebrated with wild scenes in Colombia

Sun, 14 Jan 2018 04:20:00 PST

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Yerry Mina could hardly contain his joy after signing for Barcelona as the Colombian defender sported a permanent mile-wide grin for the entire duration of his unveiling ceremony at the Camp Nou. However, while the 23-year-old was obviously elated after sealing his big move from Palmeiras, the pride and joy inside the stadium paled in comparison with the celebrations taking place in his hometown. Guachené, Colombia, Yerry Mina's birthplace, watching him being presented as a new Barça player. Pure joy. [@Juezcentral] pic.twitter.com/W9i5mcXwTm— BarcaSpiral (@BarcaSpiral) January 13, 2018 Indeed, the people of Guachene, a small municipality in the north of Colombia,...

Lionel Messi perfect 10, Jordi Alba 9/10 in cup rout of Celta Vigo

Thu, 11 Jan 2018 04:23:00 PST

Jordi Alba and Lionel Messi have now connected for eight goals this season. Lionel Messi and Jordi Alba showed their special connection once more, combining for the first three goals as Barcelona thrashed Celta Vigo 5-0 (6-1 on aggregate) to sail into the Copa del Rey quarterfinals. The Catalans have lifted the trophy a record 29 times and have won it the last three seasons running, and they showed no willingness to let their grip on the cup slip with a sensational display at Camp Nou against a sorry Celta side, tired from their 2-2 draw with Real Madrid on Sunday. Barcelona Celta Vigo 5 0 FT Leg 2Aggregate: 6 - 1 Game Details Live football odds with bet365. Bet Now » GameCast Lineups and Stats Positives Barcelona...

Barca must sell after Coutinho, Mina arrivals but bargaining position is weak

Thu, 11 Jan 2018 05:05:00 PST

ESPN FC'S Steve Nicol discusses whether players can resist the temptation of playing for Real Madrid, Barcelona or PSG. Oscar Grau, Pep Segura and Robert Fernandez can give themselves a pat on the back. We're not even at the halfway point in January and they have managed to tie up deals for the two players Barcelona wanted this month: Philippe Coutinho and Yerry Mina. As far as Grau, Segura and Fernandez are concerned, Barca's CEO, general manager and sporting director, it's a case of job well done. But it doesn't mean they have time to sit back and relax for the rest of the month. The hard work is only now beginning. Not...

Yerry Mina's build, physical style make him an intriguing target for Barcelona

Wed, 10 Jan 2018 07:35:00 PST

ESPN FC'S Steve Nicol talks whether or not players are able to resist the temptation of playing for Real Madrid, Barcelona or PSG. The January transfer window is usually quiet, but Barcelona are spending big; after making Philippe Coutinho the second most expensive player in the world, they are now adding 23-year-old giant Colombian centre-back Yerry Mina to their squad. The fee might be tiny in comparison to Coutinho. The outlay is a €11.8 million. But it is a lot more than they would have had to pay just over two years ago, when Mina was available at a cut price of €1m. He was still in Colombian football then....

Neymar trolls Barcelona's Philippe Coutinho over hairstyle on Instagram

Tue, 9 Jan 2018 06:30:00 PST

Neymar and Philippe Coutinho go way back, having both come up through the Brazilian youth ranks together. As such, the former congratulated the latter on following in his footsteps by joining Barcelona for big money earlier in the week, but couldn't resist the urge for a cheeky dig at his old friend's expense. "Very happy for you, I wish you every success in the world, I'm sure you'll be very happy," Neymar chirped on his Instagram story after sharing a photo of Coutinho in his new kit. However,...

Why Barca bet big on Coutinho, Real stumble again, Wenger woe

Mon, 8 Jan 2018 08:35:00 PST

Steve Nicol discusses what comes next for Liverpool after selling Coutinho, while Alejandro Moreno exmaines the Brazilian's possible role at Barcelona. Steve Nicol identifies three big-name players he wants Liverpool to pursue with the money they received for Philippe Coutinho. The FC panel delve into all of Arsenal's shortcomings - from the squad selection to player performances - in their FA Cup defeat at Nottingham Forest. After Real Madrid's draw at Celta Vigo, the FC crew identify the issues that have seen the reigning La Liga winners fall 16 points off the top. Depending on whether or not you count Kylian Mbappe -- and you probably should, since while it hasn't actually happened yet, barring divine intervention, the money is committed -- Philippe Coutinho is now the second or third most expensive footballer of all time. Coutinho has sold for €120 million ($144.4m), plus another €30m ($36m) in fairly easily attainable bonuses (related to appearances and Barcelona qualifying for the Champions League) and another €10m ($12m)...

Philippe Coutinho's 'dream' a reality as Brazil midfielder unveiled at Barcelona

Mon, 8 Jan 2018 07:42:00 PST

Philippe Coutinho spoke to the Barcelona press for the first time, touching on his mood over the last six months, his message to Liverpool and what Neymar said to him about Barcelona. BARCELONA -- It has been a long time in the making but on Monday Philippe Coutinho's dream finally came true. The Brazil international hoped to become a Barcelona player last summer but Liverpool's reluctance to sell at the time kept things on ice. On Saturday, though, the Premier League club finally relented, agreeing to a fee that could reach €160 million to allow the 25-year-old to move to Camp Nou on a five-and-a-half-year deal. FIRST IMPRESSION Coutinho flew into Barcelona late on Saturday...

Andre Villas-Boas placed 45th in Dakar rally opening stages

Mon, 8 Jan 2018 01:56:00 PST

Andre Villas-Boas drives in the rally. As a Premier League manager, Andre Villas-Boas was mandated with a top-four finish but the Portuguese had to settle for mid-table in the opening stages of the Dakar Rally at the weekend. The former Chelsea and Tottenham boss, who quit Shanghai SPIG in November, finished 42nd of 91 in the first stage of the 15-day endurance race in South America and he had slipped to 45th by the end of Sunday's tricky second stage. The opening stage -- which stretches 169 miles from Lima, the Peruvian capital, to...

Coutinho to Barcelona: Luis Suarez sorts house for ex-Liverpool teammate

Mon, 8 Jan 2018 01:51:00 PST

Philippe Coutinho says he can't wait to play with his idols like Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez as he begins life as a Barcelona player. Steve Nicol identifies three big-name players he wants Liverpool to pursue with the money they received for Philippe Coutinho. Steve Nicol discusses what comes next for Liverpool after selling Coutinho, while Alejandro Moreno exmaines the Brazilian's possible role at Barcelona. ESPN's Gemma Soler reports from Camp Nou ahead of Philippe Coutinho's presentation as the most expensive signing in Barcelona history. Philippe Coutinho makes an appearance at Camp Nou sporting a Barcelona top after his blockbuster move from Liverpool. With Barcelona agreeing a monster move for Philippe Coutinho, Janusz Michallik explains where he should fit in Ernesto Valverde's system. Reflect back on Philippe Coutinho's most memorable goals from his time at Liverpool ahead of his move to Barcelona. Barcelona announce the highly anticipated transfer of Philippe Coutinho via this Twitter reveal. Having completed his £142million transfer from Liverpool, Philippe Coutinho is in process of bedding in at his new club as he begins the next chapter of his life in Catalonia. Coutinho's new house is reported to be in the Bellemar district of Castelldefels, an exclusive neighbourhood just along the coast from the city of Barcelona and the very same enclave in which Lionel Messi resides. According to the Daily Mail, the Brazilian forward's beach-adjacent gaff was also reserved and signed for...

Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez light up Levante in return from winter break

Sun, 7 Jan 2018 12:48:00 PST

Barcelona stretched their league unbeaten streak to 25 games, thanks to Lionel Messi's goal and assist in a 3-0 win over Levante. Barcelona stretched their league unbeaten streak to 25 games, thanks to Lionel Messi's goal and assist in a 3-0 win over Levante. Lionel Messi marked his 400th La Liga game with a goal and assist as Barcelona kicked off 2018 with a comfy win over Levante. It wasn't Barcelona's brightest display of the season but goals from Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Paulinho ensured they started as they left off in La Liga, with a 3-0 win over visitors Levante. The win maintained their nine-point lead on Atletico Madrid at the top of the table and kept the Catalan side unbeaten on the season. Levante put out a weakened side due to suspensions and a lingering suspicion they wouldn't take anything home from Camp Nou in any case, and Barcelona took advantage with...

Philippe Coutinho a risk, but Barcelona know they've made the right move

Sun, 7 Jan 2018 04:33:00 PST

Philippe Coutinho spoke to the Barcelona press for the first time, touching on his mood over the last six months, his message to Liverpool and what Neymar said to him about Barcelona. With Barcelona agreeing a monster move for Philippe Coutinho, Janusz Michallik explains where he should fit in Ernesto Valverde's system. Steve Nicol discusses what comes next for Liverpool after selling Coutinho, while Alejandro Moreno exmaines the Brazilian's possible role at Barcelona. ESPN FC's Craig Burley reacts to Liverpool and Barcelona agreeing on a reported £142 million fee for the transfer of Philippe Coutinho. Barcelona announce the highly anticipated transfer of Philippe Coutinho via this Twitter reveal. Remember the absolute brilliant best of Barcelona's golden era? Remember how intrinsically vital Carles Puyol was? Ditto Xavi, David Villa and Dani Alves? Now, as you digest Barca's vast expenditure on Philippe Coutinho, try to recall how well the projects to replace those key players have gone -- or, in some instances, what they cost. Nobody's talking about identical replacements for these club legends, just the most intelligent, appropriate and successful "what's next" footballers possible....

How Coutinho overcame his setbacks to become Barcelona's record buy

Sat, 6 Jan 2018 04:35:00 PST

What on earth must Inter Milan be thinking at the moment? They identified the special talent of Philippe Coutinho before the Brazilian attacking midfielder had even turned professional. They bought him in 2008, when he was 16, and had to wait two years to take him across the Atlantic. But after all of this scouting work and the investment of time and money, they effectively gave up on him. After three disappointing Serie A seasons -- 28 league appearances and three goals; 47 games and five...

Liverpool offer voucher for fans who bought new Coutinho shirts

Sat, 6 Jan 2018 04:07:00 PST

Liverpool will give you £50 if you bought a new Coutinho shirt this season. The first thing Liverpool will do after earning £142 million from selling Philippe Coutinho is put a little money back in the pockets of some fans. In the wake of Coutinho's departure to Barcelona on Saturday, his former club said they would offer a £50 voucher to those who invested in this season's shirt with the Brazilians's name and number on the back. A Liverpool statement said: "The offer -- which applies to all shirts purchased in official club outlets and via the official LFC...

Coutinho sale puts Liverpool in tough spot: Reinvest in stars or cash in?

Sat, 6 Jan 2018 01:10:00 PST

Steve Nicol discusses what comes next for Liverpool after selling Coutinho, while Alejandro Moreno exmaines the Brazilian's possible role at Barcelona. Steve Nicol identifies three big-name players he wants Liverpool to pursue with the money they received for Philippe Coutinho. ESPN FC's Craig Burley reacts to Liverpool and Barcelona agreeing on a reported £142 million fee for the transfer of Philippe Coutinho. Barcelona announce the highly anticipated transfer of Philippe Coutinho via this Twitter reveal. Selling Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona is a big moment for Liverpool, and if they play it well, it could be a transformative deal, one that restores them to the elite of European football. But if they drop the ball on this one, failing to wisely and strategically invest the transfer fee -- reportedly £105 million down, potentially rising to £142 million -- Liverpool risk blowing the golden opportunity that now stands before them and manager Jurgen Klopp. Liverpool's initial reaction...

Coutinho's £142m Barca move imminent; Man Utd eye Sessegnon

Fri, 5 Jan 2018 03:00:00 PST

ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti explains why Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona doesn't necessarily make sense for Barca or Liverpool. Sam Allardyce confirms that a deal for Turkish forward Cenk Tosun to join Everton is nearly completed. The transfer window is heating up! Transfer Talk brings you live updates on all the latest rumours and done deals. Check out all the confirmed January moves so far on our transfers page. TOP STORY: Coutinho deal "imminent" Philippe Coutinho believes a move to Barcelona is "imminent," reports The Times, as Liverpool look set to lose the Brazilian midway through the season. Barcelona have increased their offer to around £142 million, £106m of which will be paid up front, with the rest based...

Sevilla drama, Diego Costa, Barca and Coutinho: La Liga back big in 2018

Fri, 5 Jan 2018 02:04:00 PST

ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti explains why Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona doesn't necessarily make sense for Barca or Liverpool. With Karim Benzema sidelined, Shaka Hislop and Alexis Nunes contemplate whether or not Real Madrid will benefit without him. Marcelino Garcia Toral was driving home for Christmas when his car collided with a wild boar. Sergi Roberto said it was an honour that a Catalan chocolatier crafted him taking a No. 2. Mathieu Flamini went on trial at the Coliseum. Leganes built an ice rink at Butarque so their fans could enjoy the cold weather. And maybe Karim Benzema had a go, who knows, as somehow he returned from his holidays injured. Only one of those stories is made up and it was published on Dec. 28, Spain's April Fools'...

"Thanks for everything": Barcelona legend Victor Valdes deserved bigger send-off

Fri, 5 Jan 2018 08:32:00 PST

Victor Valdes never liked the limelight and left without it. BARCELONA, Spain -- For someone who never wanted to be a goalkeeper, Victor Valdes made quite a career out of being one. And for someone who wanted to disappear after hanging up his gloves -- which came coupled with the deletion of his social media accounts earlier this week -- there's a certain irony to all the tributes which have been posted by former clubs, teammates and rivals. But whether he likes it or nor, Valdes must be remembered -- even if his legacy may not be as big as it could or should...

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