Tag Archives: Barcelona

Ousmane Dembele won’t be renewing Barcelona contract – report

Ousmane Dembele will not be renewing his Barcelona contract beyond this summer after negotiations between the two parties broke down.

The French winger joined the club in a €145m deal from Borussia Dortmund to replace Neymar when he left for Paris Saint-Germain back in 2017, but he has suffered hugely with injuries ever since.

In fact, Dembele has featured just 126 times for the club in four-and-a-half years, scoring 30 times.



The 24-year-old’s contract is due to expire in the summer and Barcelona had been confident that they would be able to convince him to re-sign with the club, with manager Xavi publicly admitting they want to keep him.

However it emerged on Wednesday night that negotiations between the two parties had broken down over wages, with Barcelona claiming they can’t afford his demands.

Dembele’s agent leaked a statement to the press in Spain, where they questioned Barcelona’s claims considering they just signed Ferran Torres in a €55m deal from Man City and are also keen on signing Erling Haaland in the summer from Dortmund for his €75m release clause.

While their statement may be factually correct, the feeling behind it seems more like an excuse than a reason to not re-sign.

Dembele’s injury problems mean he can’t be relied upon for a prolonged period of time and if Barcelona are planning to sign Haaland alongside Torres then they won’t want to waste their wage budget on someone who’s rarely available.

With that said, ‘Dembouz’ is without a doubt one of the most talented wingers in the world when he’s fit and would definitely be a big asset to the club if he were to stay.

Barcelona are right to not be held to ransom by the player, it’s part of the reason they’re in the financial mess they’re in to begin with. But Dembele has every right to feel aggrieved too that Barcelona want to pay others more than him after initially agreeing terms.

All signs point to the end of the road between the two parties now, so it will be very interesting to see if Dembele leaves the club in January so that Barcelona can get some cash for him instead of losing him for nothing.

Ferran Torres close to joining Barcelona in £55m move from Manchester City

Barcelona are close to agreeing a £55m deal with Manchester City for forward Ferran Torres to join the club in January.

The La Liga giants are looking to add firepower to their squad after the retirement of Sergio Aguero earlier this month due to heart problems and have returned to the Etihad Stadium to get a deal done.

Torres is keen to join the club and return to Spain, just 18-months after joining the Premier League champions from Valencia.



Torres started the season well with Man City, taking ownership of the central striking position following the departure of Aguero and the failure of the club to sign a striker in the summer window.

However an injury on international duty with Spain meant his campaign was cut short and he hasn’t featured for City since October.

His form for the international team under Luis Enrique in the number nine position has convinced Barcelona that he is the answer to their attacking problems and according to The Times a fee agreement has been reached.

Barcelona will pay £46.7m up front for the 21-year-old, with add-ons of £8.5m allowing the deal to reach almost triple the amount that they paid for him.

The deal makes a lot of sense for all parties too, so the fact they could agree on a fee is a positive.

Torres wants to play more regularly and as a Spaniard, playing for either Barcelona or Real Madrid is always the pinnacle of their career.

He will start far more regularly at Barcelona than at City, where he was competing with six other players for just three positions in a highly successful team. Even playing extremely well doesn’t guarantee your spot in the team.

Torres will be back with his family in Spain, will be a key player for a team looking to rebuild as one of the best in the world again and City make good money on a player who doesn’t weaken their squad with his absence.

Barcelona Femeni: The epitome of technical excellence

I write this having seen how utterly ridiculous this Barcelona team are live in the flesh.

Having had the opportunity to witness the magic of the Barcelona Femeni team at the Emirates last week in the Women’s Champions League, I can honestly say that they’re like no other team.

Their style of play is clear and apparent from the offset and their system relies on one thing – the fact that everybody in the side is so technically secure.



This is something that is true both in and out of possession and is at the basis of their dominance on the field. It’s why the team constantly look as though they’re suffocating opposition teams no matter the level.

Barcelona Femeni have been hit with lots of injuries over the past 4-6 weeks and so we’ve seen drastic changes in both the line-up and in their formations. If anything, the volatility in their line-ups have epitomised the fact that their philosophy is clear and defined.

In recent weeks, we’ve seen midfielders playing out of position and starting on the wing, as well as forwards like Fridolina Rolfo being used as full-backs. The changes however have been seamless because on the ball, each player is so comfortable in playing a possession-based game, meaning that in high pressure areas they’re all comfortable playing their way out of trouble.

In this year’s Ballon d’Or, there were three players ranked within the top five from this Barcelona team, showing their dominance in the sport over the past 12 months. The winner was none other than Alexia Putellas, who epitomises everything about what the club is about.

Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas poses after being awarded the women's Ballon d'Or award during the 2021 Ballon d'Or France Football...

Due to injuries, we’ve seen the Barcelona captain play in every single position in midfield; both as the deepest in the pivot as well as the most advanced in a midfield trio. She’s able to slot into these roles without looking out of place because of her understanding of the game, but also because of how her technical ability manifests itself on the pitch.

Her range of passing, as well as her control of the ball and flow of the game when in and out of pressure is immeasurable in actual terms.

It means that the team is able to manoeuvre through games and tournaments based on what the team needs for that specific game as opposed to being rigid and predictable. This can only be done because of the fact the technical level of the individuals in the squad is of a supreme level.

There were sequences that they played on the edge of Arsenal’s box at the Emirates where I think every single outfield player touched the ball at least once. Where they distinguish themselves from other teams in the world is the fact that under pressure, they retain and look after the ball so well, allowing them to build attacks even when pressed.

Arsenal are actually a very well drilled side and are a team that also like to press high, but the difference between how they were on the ball when faced with Barcelona’s press and how Barcelona reacted to being pressed was night and day.

From a coaching perspective, having people so composed on the ball gives them the option of experimenting. There were situations when the midfield of Barcelona would be pressed both in the Arsenal game, but also against HB Koge by multiple people.

Whilst saying this, the feeling was always that they would escape this pressure – either through dribbling out from the back or from passing out from the danger. Having this unpredictable nature means that not only is it difficult for opposition to plan ahead of time what their means of containment are, but also creates uncertainty and unsettles their players into making mistakes during games.

Having a squad full of players of this ilk brings such stability to the side and is a huge reason as to why they look so difficult to beat. The model of what they’re looking for in players is evident, and they also have a great pipeline of young players coming through their academy.

Aitana Bonmati of FC Barcelona poses with the VISA Player of the Match trophy after victory in the UEFA Women's Champions League Final match between...

Aitana Bonmati is the perfect embodiment of someone who has come through their youth ranks and has now found herself with well over 100 appearances for the club at the age of 23.

Not only is she playing in games, but she’s pivotal to everything they’re doing in an attacking sense as well as contributing crucial goals to the side. She had the base of being technically secure, and with the experience that being at Barcelona is giving her, she’s well on her way to being one of the best at executing the Barca way.

Barcelona keen on signing Ferran Torres from Manchester City

After starting the season as Manchester City’s first-choice striker, it now seems that Ferran Torres could be on his way back to Spain in the January transfer window.

The Spain international started the season well in the number nine role for Pep Guardiola’s side and with his performances for the national team too, Barcelona are reportedly very interested in bringing him to the club.

All three parties are reportedly willing to make a deal happen during the winter window, but what would that mean for Man City’s season?



Torres had made the central striker role his own ahead of Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling at the start of the season, before suffering an injury while on international duty with Spain.

It means he hasn’t featured for City since scoring in the 6-1 Carabao Cup win over Wycombe Wanderers back in September.

Despite that though, City have been able to top their Champions League group ahead of Paris Saint-Germain and currently sit second in the Premier League table just one point behind Chelsea.

Only Chelsea and Liverpool have scored more goals than the 27 they have managed in the 13 Premier League games they’ve played so far, while Phil Foden, Riyad Mahrez, Bernardo Silva, Gabriel Jesus and more recently Sterling have all been having good seasons. They’ve not missed him much.

Head coach Pep Guardiola of Manchester City and Ferran Torres of Manchester City gestures during the UEFA Champions League group A match between...

However allowing him to leave mid-season is unlikely to be much help to City, so if the reports are true then they will need to replace him adequately.

Whether City will renew their push for Harry Kane as a central striker option or whether they would rather target a wide man to replace Torres is unknown, but the apparent €70million fee would open up plenty of potential options for them.

After spending just €20m on him from cash-strapped Valencia two summers ago, it would be a deal that represent big profit for a player who’s hardly ripped up any trees since joining.

Torres is a good young player with plenty of potential and talent, but he’s far from indispensable to this City side and they’re more than capable of replacing him if they need to.

Ferran Torres of Spain celebrates his team's fifth goal during the UEFA Nations League group stage match between Spain and Germany at Estadio de La...

He would fit in well at Barcelona with their new crop of young players coming through and would be able to establish himself with the national team while earning regular minutes at club level.

It’s a move that suits all if they can get it done, but the replacement will be key to if this one gets over the line.

Lionel Messi wins record seventh Ballon d’Or

Lionel Messi has won the Ballon d’Or for the seventh time in his career, extending his record as the player to win it the most times.

The Argentine captain capped off a wonderful year for himself by pipping Robert Lewandowski and Jorginho to the award, making him the first Ligue 1 player to win the honour since Jean-Pierre Papin in 1991.

Messi had previously won each of his six awards with FC Barcelona, the club he played his entire career for before a summer move to Paris Saint-Germain.



The award was met with a mixed response from fans, with many believing Bayern Munich and Poland striker Lewandowski deserved the honour.

But in the end, Messi’s victory in the Copa America and Copa Del Rey as well as finishing as the top goalscorer in both tournaments and La Liga was enough to secure him the record breaking achievement.

Lewandowski finished second while Chelsea’s Jorginho rounded off the podium in third, having helped his club win the Champions League and led Italy to winning Euro 2020 in the summer.

Karim Benzema finished fourth, while N’Golo Kante finished fifth. The Premier League continued to dominate the top ten as Cristiano Ronaldo finished sixth, Mohamed Salah finished seventh and Kevin De Bruyne finished eighth, while PSG stars Kylian Mbappe and Gianluigi Donnarumma completed the top ten.

FIFA ensured that Lewandowski didn’t go home empty handed however, as the inaugral “Striker of the Year” award was given to the man who scored 64 goals in 54 games last season en route to yet another Bundesliga title.

Chelsea were crowned the inaugral “Club of the Year” winners, while Pedri was confirmed as the Kopa Trophy winner -given to the best Under-21 player in the world.

Messi’s victory moves him two clear of Ronaldo in the record hunt, as the Portuguese legend finished outside of the top three for the first time since 2010.

Renato Sanches linked with January move away from Lille

Renato Sanches has admitted he feels ready to make the move to a big club again after reigniting his career with Lille in France.

The 2016 Golden Boy award winner broke onto the scene with Benfica and with the national team during Euro 2016, before securing a big-money move to Bayern Munich.

But after a failed loan move to Swansea in the Premier League, Sanches struggled to make any sort of impact in Germany and eventually found himself falling off everyone’s radar.



That led to a move to Ligue 1 with Lille, who built a squad strong enough to compete and eventually beat Paris Saint-Germain to the domestic league title last season, with Sanches being a key player in the midfield.

That brilliant form led to him being linked with a move away from the club in the summer, before an injury ended any hopes of a potential transfer away.

Now back fit again and performing well once more, Sanches has revealed that he was close to a move to Barcelona before this season started only for the injury to scupper this season. Now however, Sanches feels he’s ready for the move to a big club should the opportunity arise once again.

Nicolas Seiwald of FC Salzburg competes for the ball with Renato Sanches of Lille OSC during the UEFA Champions League group G match between Lille...

“When I arrived at Bayern, I was not ready to play in such a club. I was very young, and when I got ready, the opportunity to play with this team never came.

“Today I feel ready. I understand football better, I have more experience, I know what to do to play in this kind of club and that changes everything.

The 24-year-old has found himself linked with a January move to both Arsenal and AC Milan, and the Portugal international has commented on the links saying he would be open to those moves.

“Maybe Milan and Arsenal are interested but I don’t know.

“I spoke with my agent, I know which clubs are calling and which are not, but I can’t tell now. I know I’m ready.

“If an offer comes in, I’ll find out what’s best for me.”

For Sanches it seems to be the perfect time to make the step up once again. His performances have finally become more consistent and his role is more defined, while he seems to have put his fitness issues behind him for the most part.

Renato Sanches of LOSC Lille and Portugal during the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier match between Portugal and Serbia at Estadio da Luz on November...

In France he has achieved all he can, winning the title ahead of PSG, and a move abroad to a bigger club could give him more chance of further improvement and even potential European success at club level.

He has something to prove in the Premier League after failing with Swansea so that could appeal to him, but Italy and Spain certainly seem a better fit stylistically for him.

It will be interesting, but with Lille’s reported financial troubles well reported, he will certainly represent a nice bargain for someone in January or next summer.

Sergio Aguero forced to retire with heart problems

Sergio Aguero has been forced to retire aged 33 after being diagnosed with heart problems.

The Argentina striker joined Barcelona in the summer on a free transfer after 10 years with Manchester City in the Premier League, where he became the club’s all-time top goalscorer.

After joining the Camp Nou side to play with Lionel Messi, he was left angered when Messi was forced to leave the club after financial problems meant his contract could not be renewed.



Aguero suffered a calf injury which delayed his debut for the club until October, before scoring his first goal for the club as a substitute in El Clasico during the 2-1 defeat to Real Madrid.

He completed his first 90 minutes for the club in a defeat to Rayo Vallecano, but in his next appearance ‘Kun’ would only last 42 minutes before going down unchallenged with breathing problems.

He has since been diagnosed with a cardiac arythmia and although Barcelona announced that he would unavailable for a period of three months while his health was monitored, it’s now believed he will retire.

According to leading Barcelona journalist Gerard Romero, the club will host a press conference this week to officially confirm the player’s retirement from professional football at the age of 33.

Aguero scored an amazing 260 goals for Man City in 390 appearances for the club during a ten-year stint where he won five Premier League titles, six Carabao Cups and an FA Cup.

The shock retirement will come as a blow to new Barcelona boss Xavi, who earmarked Aguero’s experience and quality as something to build on when taking over from Ronald Koeman.

It means Memphis Depay will be tasked with being the club’s chief goalscorer this season along with youngster Ansu Fati, while Luuk de Jong, Martin Braithwaite, Ousmane Dembele and Phillipe Coutinho will also need to chip in when they play.

What is best for Raheem Sterling’s future?

After Euro 2020, it seemed as though Raheem Sterling had got his career back on track after a stellar tournament for England.

The winger chipped in with three goals in the first four games, then assisted Harry Kane’s first goal in the quarter-final against Ukraine before winning a penalty in extra-time of the semi-final against Denmark to help England to their first final since 1966.

But despite that form and level of performance, Sterling has found himself on the periphery at Manchester City once again this season.



After losing his place to Phil Foden in the second half of last season, Sterling was named as a starter in the Champions League final defeat to Chelsea which gave many some hope that he would be involved going forward.

Fast forward to the start of the season though and Pep Guardiola had signed Jack Grealish from Aston Villa for £100m and only Sergio Aguero had left the club. Sterling’s place was under more threat than ever before.

As we approach the mid-point of November, Sterling has started just four games in the Premier League and Champions League combined. With one goal in each, plus an assist in Europe, it’s not a surprise that he is struggling to get game time.

But for England, it’s a totally different story. Gareth Southgate continues to select him as a key member of the attack and he is performing to a high level still, albeit against lesser opposition.

Raheem Sterling of England is challenged by Ardian Ismajli and Ylber Ramadani of Albania during the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier match between...

With his contract due to expire in June 2023, it’s crunch time for his Manchester City future now.

Reports suggest that clubs such as Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain are keen on recruiting the former QPR and Liverpool man, but while Man City won’t stand in his way should he look to move thy will demand a relatively high fee for their asset.

That leaves Sterling in a predicament, as he risks isolating himself by asking for a move and then not getting one.

But as it stands, asking for a move is the best thing he could possibly do. Sterling is 26-years-old and will turn 27 by the time the January transfer window opens, meaning he is in the absolute peak years of his career.

He has done most things at City, winning three Premier League titles with the club, an FA Cup, four Carabao Cups and reaching a Champions League final. He is also the player who has scored the most goals under Pep Guardiola for the club.

Raheem Sterling of Manchester City poses with the Premier League trophy during the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Manchester...

But you need to know when to cut your losses, and it seems as this point that Guardiola has moved away from needing Sterling in the team and is taking his squad in a different direction.

Instead of fighting a losing battle, Sterling should cash in on the fact his contract is running down and get the big-money move that is inevitable should he depart.

A move to Barcelona would be great from a status point of view, playing for one of the biggest and most prestigious clubs in the world on a weekly basis and trying to help them re-find their former glory.

But a better option would be a move to the French capital to another mega-rich team in Paris Saint-Germain, who look certain to lose star-man Kylian Mbappe to Real Madrid on a free transfer in the summer.

Marco Verratti of PSG, Raheem Sterling of Manchester City during the UEFA Champions League group A match between Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester...

They will surely look to make a statement signing to replace him and with Lionel Messi, Neymar and Angel Di Maria in their ranks already, Sterling would add some youth and more top level experience to an already star-studded squad.

PSG would likely be able to afford any fee that City would demand for him and he would be an excellent addition. For Sterling, he almost guarantees more trophies for his own personal cabinet, gets to play for one of the best teams in the world with some of the best players and ultimately get back to competing at the highest level week in and week out.

It seems like a no-brainer, but whether Sterling is serious about potentially playing abroad in the future or not is a different matter. If he is, Paris is likely his best option to get his career back on track.

Dani Alves makes stunning return to Barcelona

Barcelona have re-signed legendary right-back Dani Alves to their playing squad in a shock transfer.

The Brazilian played for Barcelona 391 times between 2008 and 2016, where he made up part of one of the greatest club teams in history and drummed up a brilliant partnership with Lionel Messi.

He left the club on a free transfer and has since played for a number of clubs, but after leaving Sao Paulo recently following a payment dispute he has now returned to the Camp Nou.



Alves is regarded as one of the best attacking full-backs in the history of the game, with his brilliant dribbling, passing, pace and skill all key aspects of his game.

His technical ability was so great that despite playing the vast majority of his career as a right-back, Alves took the number 10 shirt and played in midfield during his latest stint in Brazil.

A disagreement with Sao Paulo over a non-payment of his wages meant he terminated his contract early, midway through his third season with the club and is now a free agent.

That means he is able to sign for any club outside of the transfer window, although he won’t be able to be registered until January. Reports suggest that he has re-joined Barcelona to help new manager and former teammate Xavi set the new standards in the dressing room.

With Barcelona in financial ruin currently, Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano has claimed that Alves will be the lowest paid first-team player at the club as part of the deal.

In a brief statement announcing the contract agreement until June 2023, Barcelona said;

“FC Barcelona and Dani Alves have reached an agreement in principle for the player to join the football first team for the remainder of the current season. The Brazilian will be joining training from next week but will not be able to play until January.

The club will announce the full details at his official presentation as a new FC Barcelona player.”

Alves is the most decorated footballer in football history having won an incredible 45 trophies throughout his career with Bahia, Sevilla, Barcelona, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, Sao Paulo and Brazil, including an Olympic gold medal and three Champions League titles.

Fantasy Matches: Real Madrid 15-18 vs Barcelona 08-11

When you think about the best teams of the modern era, there are two that stick out like a sore thumb.

During a period where Spanish football was the home of the best players and managers in the world, it was obviously Barcelona and Real Madrid that had periods of dominance across Europe and domestically.

But what would have happened if you put those two teams, at their best, head-to-head with each other? We’re here to break it down and try and figure it out.



Barcelona between 2008 and 2011 were and are considered one of the greatest club sides in the history of football.

Under the guidance of Pep Guardiola, they revolutionised the way attacking football was played up until this day. They dominated possession, scored countless goals, passed opponents to death and were the home to arguably the greatest player of all-time in Lionel Messi.

Their 4-3-3 system with attacking full-backs and technically secure players all over the pitch set the benchmark as they won two Champions League trophies, three La Liga titles, three Spanish Super Cups, a Copa Del Rey, two UEFA Super Cups and two Club World Cups across three-and-a-half seasons.

Real Madrid couldn’t compete with them during that period, but they made their own mark half a decade later when they not only became the first team to retain their Champions League trophy but they also made it three-in-a-row.

Add to that a La Liga title, a Spanish Super Cup, two UEFA Super Cups and two World Club Cups under Zinedine Zidane (plus an extra World Club Cup under Santi Solari after Zidane’s resignation), this is a team synonymous with success and winning.

The brilliant goalscoring of Cristiano Ronaldo, the majestic midfield play of Luka Modric and Tony Kroos, the playmaking from full-back by Marcelo and the leadership of Sergio Ramos at the back, this was a complete squad.

The difference between these two powerhouse teams is that Real Madrid were able to adapt their style of play depending on the opponent.

Against weaker opposition they had the ability to dominate the ball and carve open defences to score goals, while pushing high up the pitch to sustain pressure.

When they came up against quality outfits though, Zidane would ensure they sat a bit deeper defensively, were compact in midfield and explosive on the counter attack with the pace of Ronaldo, Benzema and even Gareth Bale leading the way.

Barcelona on the other hand were the same no matter what. Much like today’s Guardiola, it was all about controlling the ball and dominating possession. Short passes, lots of sharp movements and rotation across positions and technical security meant they were unshakeable on the ball.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane pose for a photo accepts The Best FIFA Men's Player award during The Best FIFA Football Awards at The London...

But the Catalan legend also instilled a hunger in the team to win the ball back as soon as possible when they did lose it, famously starting a seven-second press that if the opponent was able to surpass would usually result on them being in on goal.

It’s fair to say that Zidane’s Madrid side would ultimately allow Barcelona to have the ball in midfield and be compact, while using their own technical abilities and brilliant quality to try and pick them off on the counter as they did to so many top sides during their Champions League wins during that period.

The difference however, is that this Madrid side never came up against this Lionel Messi.

The little Argentine was a totally different animal under Guardiola, which is terrifying considering all he has achieved since they parted ways in 2012.

Lionel Messi of Argentina and Barcelona FC receives the FIFA player of the year award during the FIFA Ballon d'Or Gala 2010 t the congress hall on...

I have no doubts that Ronaldo would likely have a say on the game himself, because during this period of time he was at his goalscoring best and most clutch. But Messi could effect the game without just putting the ball into the net.

David Villa and Pedro were also huge goalscoring threats from the wing, while Dani Alves in his peak was arguably the best right-back of all-time. It’s hard to imagine this Real Madrid side keeping this peak Barcelona side goalless for 90 minutes and while I wouldn’t bet against them scoring themselves, ultimately the greatest player of all-time would separate the two best club sides we’ve seen in this era of football.

Prediction: Real Madrid (15-18) 1-2 Barcelona (08-11) / Messi masterclass.