Barcelona are facing a significant crisis up front after Luis Suarez was ruled out for up to a month with the knee injury sustained in the 2-0 defeat by Real Madrid on Wednesday.
Barca are still reeling from the shock departure of Neymar, who joined Paris Saint-Germain in a €222million deal earlier this month and will now face the start of the new season without their star striker.
Suarez pulled up with the knock late in the Spanish Super Cup tie, which Barcelona lost 5-1 across two legs, and was forced to see out the rest of the game with all three substitutes already used.
Arsenal defender Gabriel Paulista is close to joining Valencia for a fee worth in the region of £10million.
The Brazilian joined Arsenal from Villarreal for £15m in 2015 but has failed to hold down a regular place for the Premier League outfit.
Los Che Coach Marcelino Garcia Toral is reportedly eager to be reunited with the central defender whom he managed during the pair’s stint at Villarreal.
The 26-year-old made only 15 league starts for The Gunners last season and faces stiff competition from Shkodran Mustafi, Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker and Rob Holding.
Barcelona defender Gerard Pique confesses “in the nine years I’ve been here, it’s the first time I feel inferior to Real Madrid.”
Barca were outclassed by Madrid in both legs of the Supercopa, resulting in a 5-1 aggregate victory for Los Blancos, and Pique lamented how
“we’re not having our best time as a team or a club.”
“We thought they’d play with two forwards and not three, like they did in the first leg,” he said after the game.
“They pressed very high and were better than us at the beginning. After that, it set the tone [of the match].
Zinedine Zidane continues to break records as Real Madrid manager after watching his side take apart Barcelona in the Real Madrid’s Supercopa triumph on Wednesday.
Madrid won their second trophy in a week, beating Barcelona 5-1 on aggregate for the Supercopa. Since Zidane took over from Rafa Benitez in January of 2016, he has lost 7 games as a manager. And he has now won 7 trophies.
After their latest victory, Zidane paid tribute to his players for their hard work and “spectacular” performance in beating their bitter rivals.
Real Madrid lifted their second piece of silverware in a week, brushing aside Barcelona 5-1 on aggregate for the Supercopa on Wednesday.
Picking up from where they left off in the first leg, Madrid raced to a 2-0 lead against Barca in the first half and made easy work of protecting their advantage.
Los Blancos went Lucas Vazquez and Marco Asensio in attack against Barca, who switched to three at the back and Lionel Messi in a front two with Luis Suarez.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s red card for pushing the referee at Camp Nou warranted a five-match ban, but the capital giants looked liberated in their first game without the Portuguese.
Sevilla took control of their Champions League playoff against Istanbul Basaksehir, winning 2-1 in Turkey on Wednesday.
Afterwards, Eduardo Berizzo praised his Sevilla side for taking ‘an important step’ towards the Champions League group stages thanks to goals from Sergio Escudero and Wissam Ben Yedder.
“This was an important step in our ambitions but we must perform strongly again in Seville,” Berizzo is quoted by Estadio Deportivo as saying after the game.
“We enjoyed a lot of control in the first half and we should have scored more – we created five or six clear cut chances.
The Spanish Football Federation has upheld its decision to suspend Cristiano Ronaldo for five matches. Ronaldo was suspended for one match after being sent off during Sunday’s first leg of the Spanish Super Cup but he was given an additional four-match ban for shoving referee Ricardo de Burgos in the back after he was shown the red card.
Madrid submitted a detailed defense of their Ronaldo’s behaviour to La Liga’s Appeals Committee, which met at lunchtime on Wednesday, but multiple reports say that their appeal has been rejected and Ronaldo will not be able to face Barca in Wednesday’s second leg.
Gianluigi Buffon, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are the three nominees for the 2016/17 UEFA Men’s Player of the Year Award.
The winner will be announced at the Champions League group stage draw in Monaco on Thursday 24 August.
The shortlist of three players was selected by a jury comprising the 80 coaches of the clubs which participated in the group stage of the 2016/17 UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, along with 55 journalists selected by the European Sports Media (ESM) group, representing each of UEFA’s member associations.
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Buffon, Messi and Ronaldo on UEFA Player of the Year shortlist
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Barcelona star Sergio Busquets has heaped pressure on the clubs board by saying it is “clear” that Barcelona need to make more signings following the departure of Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain.
Barca have signed Marlon Santos, Gerard Deulofeu, Nelson Semedo and Paulinho this summer but Busquets believes they still need to add to the squad, especially in attack.
Bids for Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho and Borussia Dortmund’s Ousmane Dembele were rejected last week.
And Busquets told a news conference ahead of this week’s Super Cup second leg against Real Madrid:
“We need to improve each season.
Barcelona have finally started to splash the Neymar cash, but not in a way that the fans probably expcted.
The first signing post-Neymar was not Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho or Dortmund’s Ousmane Dembélé as expected. Instead it was a €40 million deal for Paulinho from Chinese Super League club Guangzhou Evergrande.
The former Tottenham midfielder will undergo a medical and finalise the terms of his contract on Thursday morning before the official presentation at the Nou Camp later in the day.