Barcelona’s Andres Iniesta won’t be joining Juventus
BARCELONA NEWS LIVE UPDATES: Latest on Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Ousmane Dembele and more…
Wednesday September 13
Asensio on Neymar
13:43: Real Madrid midfielder Marco Asensio believes it was “strange” how Barcelona failed to keep hold of Neymar in the summer.
“It seemed strange to us that Neymar left Barcelona,” Asensio told El Partidazo de Cope.
“He was an important player for them and [the fact] that they could not keep him is a little strange.”
Suarez and Vidal feel cheated by Valverde
13:40: Two Barcelona players are unhappy boss Ernesto Valverde, according to claims in Spain.
According to Spanish website Diario Gol, midfielder Denis Suarez and defender Aleix Vidal feel ‘cheated’ by Valverde.
Both players are said to have been promised game-time at the Nou Camp this season by the Barcelona boss, who replaced Luis Enrique in the summer.
But 23-year-old Suarez has made just three appearances so far this season, with them all coming off the bench.
And right-back Vidal, 28, has lost his place to summer signing Nelson Semedo.
Messi message for Dembele
12:20: Lionel Messi sent a message to Ousmane Dembele by starring in Barcelona’s 3-0 humbling of Juventus.
Messi scored twice but Dembele struggled at the Nou Camp and was replaced by Sergi Roberto in the 71st minute.
And Spanish website Diario Gol say Messi’s two goals and stellar performance left a clear message to Dembele about what is required to be a star at Barcelona.
The 20-year-old underwhelmed on his first Champions League game for Barcelona, having come off the bench to mark his debut with an assist during their 5-0 thrashing of Espanyol in La Liga on Saturday.
10:46: Juventus have given up hope of signing Andres Iniesta on a free transfer next summer.
Barca claim Iniesta has preliminary agreed to pen the new deal – something he refutes.
But Marotta says his side have no chance of landing the Spaniard despite his contract stand-off.
“He’s a great champion, but he has a contract with Barcelona, which he’ll surely extend,” Marotta told Italian broadcaster La Sexta.
“He’s on the best of terms with his club’s board and he’s a very important player for them, so I think he’ll stay at Barcelona.”
08:56: Timo Werner says he would consider joining Barcelona – although Real Madrid are also an attractive prospect.
RB Leipzig forward Werner has already scored four goals in four outings this season.
The 21-year-old’s future is secure for now – he is contracted until 2020 and does not have a release clause.
“So far, I have progressed very well with Leipzig,” he told Sport Bild.
“That is why I do not think what is ahead in one, two or three years.
“Of course I want to play at a big club. But, we have not yet come to terms with the development at Leipzig. Perhaps RB will be a big club too – I’m quite sure.
“In Spain there are a maximum of three clubs with Barca, Real and Atletico Madrid. In England there are a few more: Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham, Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester City.
“FC Bayern is also a big club, but for me it is not a topic that I am concerned with.”
Messi contract latest
07:36: Lionel Messi has signed his new four-year contract at Barcelona, says president Josep Maria Bartomeu, even though the club are yet to make an announcement on the deal.
Messi’s future is in question as Barca continue to refrain from announcing his new contract, even though they say he’s signed it.
He is not the only player whose contract expires next summer, with the future of Andres Iniesta also up in the air.
But Bartomeu, himself under pressure from supporters following Barca’s disastrous transfer window, is adamant both men will stay and the club and says Messi’s terms are already agreed.
“Messi? He has a four-year contract. He’s the best ever and played for us since he was small and we enjoy watching him play because he’s unique,” Bartomeu told reporters after Barca’s 3-0 win over Juventus, where Messi’s scored twice.
“Contracts for Messi and Iniesta? The club members can rest easy.
“We’ve already said Messi’s renewal is signed and that he’ll be at Barca for as long as he wants, the same with Iniesta.
“[Iniesta] has extraordinary quality. He was here when Ronaldinho was and now he’s with Messi. He’s crucial for us, he had a great game.”
Barca beat Juventus
06:00: Barcelona got revenge for their Champions League semi-final loss to Juventus last season with a 3-0 group stage win over the Serie A giants last night.
Two goals from Lionel Messi and an Ivan Rakitic strike was enough for Barca at the Nou Camp.
Lionel Messi scored twice for Barcelona against Juventus
Tuesday September 12
21:30: Marco Asensio has revealed he received offers from Barcelona and other clubs before eventually joining Real Madrid.
“There was an option to sign for Barcelona and other teams before I moved to Madrid,” Asensio told Spanish radio station Cadena Cope.
“I’m so proud to play for this club not just because of who they are, but for what they have done for me personally, also I love the fans and they have been fantastic.
“I’ve been kicking a football since I was three years old and this was always my dream, but I’ve often felt like giving up.
“Real Mallorca signed me when I was a nine-year-old, but it was my parents who decided but every boy has dreams.
“Zidane? I’ve a very strong relationship with him, he makes his decisions with authority and gets them right.
“Favourites for the Champions League? Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern, PSG.”
Seri to Barca in Jan?
16:27: Barcelona have a deal in place to sign Nice midfielder Jean Michael Seri in January, according to claims in Spain.
Seri was a target for Barcelona during the final weeks of the summer transfer window but said he had “turned the page” after his move to the Nou Camp fell through.
But according to Spanish newspaper Sport, Barcelona are planning to make a fresh move for Seri in January and already have a deal in place.
It is claimed Barca had agreed a fee worth around £36m (€40m) for Seri during the summer and could revive that deal in the New Year.
Lineker expects Real Madrid and Barcelona dominance to end
14:20: Real Madrid and Barcelona will struggle to replace Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, according to TV pundit Gary Lineker.
“Real Madrid and Barcelona have a magical appeal to players all over the world and can generally sign any player they want, which is a major reason why they have won the Champions League more than any other team in recent years,” he told Yahoo Sport.
“Yet the big factor they have on their side is that they have had Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi at their peak for the last few years, which has been a deciding factor in so many big games.
“The two magnificent players now getting towards the back end of their careers and when they go – which sadly for all of us they will -it is going to be impossible to replace them.
“The exit of Ronaldo and Messi will equalise things quite significantly because those two players have been so far above everyone else in the world game for an extended period of time over the last decade.
“These things are cyclical and we have been through a period of domination of our own not so long ago when we were very strong and had two and three teams in the semi-finals of the Champions League on a regular basis.”
Barcelona News LIVE updates: Lionel Messi and Ousmane Dembele feature
Valverde says Juventus remain strong
10:30: Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde is looking forward to tonight’s game with Juventus. “We know Juventus are a great team but we’ll try win the game,” Valverde said.
“Last year they caused us a lot of problems so we need to be careful. I’m expecting an intense and important game between two top sides and with a precious result at stake.
“It will be a very important game, but that’s also true of the league games we’ve played. We’re starting the Champions League with competitive enthusiasm.
“We’re going through a good period, we just won the derby 5-0 but we also have to get three points tomorrow.
“We have to respect every team in this group, and the important thing tomorrow is to get the three points and start our Champions League campaign with a win.
“Who wouldn’t be motivated for a game like this? It’s an exciting and important one.
“I follow Serie A, just as I follow Juventus. It’s true that they lost an important player in [Leonardo] Bonucci this summer, but those who are still there are certainly not inferior.”
Dembele to Real Madrid bombshell
08:00: Ousmane Dembele could have joined Real Madrid instead of Barcelona.
Spanish outlet Don Balon claims the France international was offered to Los Blancos for a fee of just £40m.
But Real turned down the chance to sign him because they wanted Kylian Mbappe instead.
And that did not work out too well with the striker joining Paris Saint-Germain from Monaco.
Barcelona news: Lionel Messi and Ernesto Valverde in Barcelona training
Messi delaying transfer claim
07:40: Such is Lionel Messi’s stock at Barcelona the Argentina international is reportedly delaying their move for Yerry Mina.
The Colombia international will sign for the Catalan giants next summer.
And Spanish outlet Diario Gol says Messi is the reason why.
The 30-year-old supposedly wants the deal delayed to give close friend Javier Mascherano one more year of game time.
Iniesta not guaranteed starting role
07:20: Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta is one of the all-time greats.
But manager Ernesto Valverde has refused to guarantee the veteran a starting role week in, week out.
“We will see him as the season progresses. I do not forget the potential of Andrés. We have to take into account many things like age and position, which demands a lot,” he said.
“Everyone owns his life and future. What we want is for him to be well and happy, although not exclusively for himself, but for all.”
Welcome to Express Sport’s Barcelona blog
07:00: Good morning and welcome to Express Sport’s LIVE Barcelona news blog.
The La Liga giants are currently preparing for tonight’s Champions League clash with Juventus.
Yet, in the meantime, there are huge updates on the likes of Ousmane Dembele, Lionel Messi and more.
So stay tuned for all the latest.