Category Archives: Barcelona

Time for Eden Hazard to show he can produce his best on the big occasion | Jacob Steinberg

Chelsea’s hopes of upsetting Barcelona rest on Belgian but he may wonder if his best chance of achieving greatness is to move

This week a clip emerged of three Barcelona players being confronted by a metal railing, with each of them choosing to deal with the obstacle in a different way. While Jordi Alba continued to mooch along the suggested route and Luis Suárez dealt with the inconvenience by jumping over it, Lionel Messi could be seen scurrying under the barrier, like a small child setting off on an adventure at passport control, weaving through the legs and dividing lines and leaving his parents in a state of bewildered panic.

Related: Chelsea’s Conte confident of new Eden Hazard deal despite Real interest

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Source: gad

Thomas Vermaelen: ‘People think being a Barcelona defender is easy’ | Sid Lowe

The Belgian has overcome an injury nightmare to shine at Barça. Before facing Chelsea he discusses why his role is harder than it looks, how Messi makes him laugh and his sadness at Arsenal’s struggles

No one was happier to find out the lineup than Raff and Ace, but their dad was not far behind. Thomas Vermaelen was in the tunnel at the Santiago Bernabéu and did not see the video of his sons excitedly running towards the TV screen shouting and pointing until later, by which time hundreds of thousands of others already had, yet the footage became a measure of how much it meant. The clásico is the world’s biggest match, watched by millions round the world, including a couple of small boys, aged two and four, and their little cousin; for the Belgian, it was even more than that. “I felt like I had finally made a start at Barcelona,” he says.

Related: Champions League: fans from around Europe preview the last-16 stage

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Source: gad

Understated Eibar continue to show size doesn't always matter | Sid Lowe

Only Barcelona and Atlético can match Eibar’s results over the last three months as another unlikely run at Europe continues

Iván Ramis took off his shirt and put his hat on, a flat red porkpie perched on his head as he stood in the corner of Butarque where a couple of dozen Eibar fans down from the Ego valley were going wild in wigs: some red, some blue and some Scottish, ginger locks tumbling from tam o’ shanters. As he had flung his top high into the air before running towards them shouting, they had thrown the hat on the pitch; so he wore it, along with a smile that even the referee trotting over with a yellow card couldn’t wipe from his face. “I don’t know why he took his shirt off but what am I going to say?” his manager José Luis Mendílibar shrugged .

How about something in German, French or Italian? “Entschuldigung, wo ist das Fußballstadion?” might be handy. Or: “Bonjour, bonjour, nous sommes les garçons Eibar!” Better still: “Ciao, siamo l’Eibar, magari non avete sentito parlare de noi ma siamo fotutamente bravi.” Either way, it may be time to get practising and Mendilíbar knew why Ramis had taken off his shirt, alright: the same reason he was struggling to be heard, sitting there under the stand. Eibar’s fans had gone, a four-hour drive home ahead of them, but beyond the wall, down the corridor to the right, their players were shouting and chanting. It was Saturday night and they’d beaten Leganés 1-0 – but it wasn’t only that; it was how it happened and what it meant.

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Source: gad

Philippe Coutinho makes Barcelona debut after £142m Liverpool move

• Playmaker replaces Andrés Iniesta in cup win at Camp Nou
• Coutinho: It’s a great night, a very special night

Philippe Coutinho has made his long-awaited Barcelona debut, replacing Andrés Iniesta, in a 2-0 win over Espanyol in the Copa del Rey.

The former Liverpool player, who made the £142m move earlier this month, had been forced to wait on the sidelines because of a thigh injury. He replaced the Barça captain after 68 minutes as the hosts made it through to the semi-finals, 2-1 on aggregate.

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Source: gad

Manchester United to rival Manchester City’s attempt to sign Jean Michaël Seri

• Nice midfielder has less than 18 months of his contract remaining
• City and United both interested in signing Seri at end of season

Manchester United are ready to rival Manchester City’s attempt to sign Jean Michaël Seri from Nice, with José Mourinho keen to go head to head with Pep Guardiola once again to sign the Ivory Coast midfielder at the end of the season.

Seri came close to joining Barcelona last summer, only for the deal to collapse when the Spanish club withdrew their bid at the last minute. The 26-year-old was understood to have been devastated and has struggled for form in Ligue 1 this season after being awarded the Marc-Vivien Foé trophy for the best African player in France.

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Source: gad

Barcelona lose unbeaten record while PSG fans boo four-goal Neymar

• Messi misses penalty in 1-0 defeat to Espanyol in Copa del Rey
• Neymar booed by supporters despite 8-0 thrashing of Dijon

Lionel Messi had a penalty saved as the triple Copa del Rey holders Barcelona endured a surprise 1-0 defeat against Espanyol in a quarter-final first leg on Wednesday, ending an unbeaten run of 29 games in all competitions.

Espanyol’s academy graduate Oscar Melendo scored the only goal of the game in the 88th minute after Messi had his spot-kick turned away by the former Real Madrid goalkeeper Diego Lopez earlier in the second half.

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Source: gad

‘I have dreamed of playing here’: Philippe Coutinho finally arrives at Barcelona

The Brazilian received the full Camp Nou unveiling treatment and expressed gratitude to Liverpool – but a hamstring injury will delay his debut

Philippe Coutinho was given the full treatment: laid out on the stretcher, name of the club’s official medical supplier splashed on the boards behind him, thumbs up, cables suckered on to his chest, and the string vest, plus clearance to play – just not yet. By the time he arrived for his presentation at the Camp Nou, where he thanked Liverpool for having “kept their word” and Barcelona’s vice-president, Jordi Mestre, said that the financial demands had “dropped”, facilitating the sale, it had been confirmed that Coutinho will be out for 20 days with a hamstring injury. He has waited months to get here; he will have to wait a little longer to play.

Related: Philippe Coutinho starts new era as Barcelona prepare for life after Iniesta

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Source: gad