Barcelona midfielder Arturo Vidal believes that his side are still in the La Liga title race following their scrappy 1-0 win over Real Valladolid on Saturday.
La Blaugrana have already dropped points three times since football’s return and needed an early goal from Vidal to ensure they didn’t make it four against Valladolid.
They now sit one point behind leaders Real Madrid, who will have the chance to extend their lead back to four points when they travel to Granada on Monday evening. Speaking after the Valladolid game (via Goal), Vidal warned Real that Barça will not give up in their pursuit of the trophy.
“We know it depends. We just have to win all the games that we have remaining,” Vidal said. “It doesn’t depend on us. We just have to do what we have to do and see what the other teams around us do.”
Barcelona have just two games left to play – at home to Osasuna on Thursday and away to Alavés on Sunday – and they know that they simply cannot afford to drop more points if they are to catch prevent Real from winning their first league title since 2016/17.
Quique Sétien’s side can reach a maximum of 85 points, but Real will be on 83 if they can beat Granada on Monday and would then need a total of three points from meetings with Villarreal and relegation-threatened Leganés.
Real could have won the title on Monday if Barcelona had dropped points in Valladolid. Despite Vidal’s opening goal, it looked like that could be the case as the home side managed plenty of great opportunities to equalise and even win the game.
Antoine Griezmann missed a gilt-edged opportunity to seal the win, and goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen’s usual heroics were needed to keep Barcelona’s slim hopes alive
“We had our chances and didn’t take them and we knew they’d have theirs,” Vidal said. “We have to improve going forward and take our chances. The important thing is we’ve done what we came here to do and we’ve got three points.”
Barcelona may be forced to face Osasuna on Thursday without French forward Antoine Griezmann after the club confirmed he has been diagnosed with a quadriceps injury in his right leg.
Griezmann started Saturday’s 1-0 win over Real Valladolid but endured a tricky evening. He missed an amazing chance to find the back off the net and was then forced off at half-time after picking up the injury.
Barça took to their official website to confirm that Griezmann has been removed from training as a result of the injury, but they stopped short of officially ruling him out of contention for the Osasuna game.
“Tests this morning have shown that first-team player Antoine Griezmann has a muscle injury in the quadriceps of his right leg,” a statement read. “He is therefore not available for selection at the present time and the evolution of the injury will condition his availability.
“The French player participated in Barça’s victory this Saturday against Valladolid (0-1), playing the first half before being replaced at half time by Luis Suárez.”
For Griezmann, this news will come as a real blow. His debut season at Camp Nou has been thoroughly frustrating for all involved, and he has just played his way back into Quique Sétien’s starting lineup after two games on the bench.
The Frenchman managed just nine minutes against Celta Vigo before seeing just one minute in the 2-2 draw with Atlético Madrid, which left Atléti boss Diego Simeone stunned and prompted rumours about Griezmann’s future at the club.
He held crunch talks with Camp Nou officials to figure out what was going on, in which it was quickly established that Griezmann didn’t want to leave and Barcelona didn’t want to let him go.
The 29-year-old returned to the lineup and scored in the 4-1 win over Villarreal but now faces the possibility of missing Barcelona’s last two games of the season.
Should Griezmann fail to recover in time, Suárez is about as good of a replacement as you’re ever likely to find, while the enigmatic Martin Braithwaite could also be given the nod if needed.
Barcelona laboured to a 1-0 victory over Valladolid on Saturday, a result that sees them move within a point of leaders Real Madrid, who have a game in hand.
Los Blancos next play on Monday, where they know victory will move them four points clear with just two rounds of fixtures remaining, but their seemingly inevitable title coronation was put on hold for another week at least courtesy of Arturo Vidal’s emphatic strike.
Lionel Messi fed the Chilean in the box after some early pressure on the hosts, and Vidal made no mistake with a thumping low drive that went in via the inside of the far post.
It appeared as though the Blaugrana would push on from there, but their attacking play deteriorated from the moment that the goal went in, with the duo of Antoine Griezmann and Messi struggling for service against their gritty hosts.
Valladolid came within a whisker of drawing level in the first half through Kike Perez, but the forward got his legs tangled up when clean through on goal and struck the turf instead of the ball with the goal at his mercy.
The match followed a similar path in the second half, as Barcelona were saved by Marc-Andre ter Stegen who kept out Enes Ünal’s header. Messi had a free kick tipped over later on, but it remained Valladolid who looked the more likely scorers with some intricate play in Barça’s half.
For all their endeavour they could not find a way past Ter Stegen, but in particular man-of-the-match Gerard Pique, who was outstanding in the heart of defence and instrumental in Quique Setien’s side claiming all the spoils.
Barça are next in action on Thursday when they host Osasuna, but cannot afford to drop any points if they are to steal the title away from Zinedine Zidane’s men, who look on course to secure their first La Liga title in three years.
For more from Ross Kennerley, follow him on Twitter!
Inter have lowered their asking price for Lautaro Martinez to €90m, with Barcelona in hot pursuit of the Argentinian striker.
Martinez is one of Barcelona’s top summer targets, and is being lined up as the long term replacement for Luis Suarez at Camp Nou.
The forward had previously been available had his €111m release clause been met, however this expired on 7 July.
The expiration of the release clause means that an alternative fee for Martinez could now be accepted, and according to Italian news outlet Corriere della Sera, Inter have lowered the 22-year-old’s asking price by around €21m.
However, due to the financial uncertainty triggered by the coronavirus, this figure could still be beyond the Barcelona budget.
The Catalan giants recently sold Arthur to Inter’s Serie A rivals Juventus for €72m, but with Miralem Pjanic heading in the opposite direction, Barcelona only turned a profit of €10m from the deal.
The club orchestrated the Arthur-Pjanic deal as a short-term solution for their current financial troubles following years of wage mismanagement.
Barcelona are desperately trying to offload Philippe Coutinho, who has spent the past two seasons out on loan following his £105m move from Liverpool, and whether they can afford a move for Martinez could hinge on the success they have in finding a buyer for the Brazilian.
The club have been exploring another potential swap deal in order to secure the signing of Martinez, with Arturo Vidal and Nelson Semedo both linked with an move to Inter.
Martinez has scored 17 goals in 38 appearances in all competitions for Antonio Conte’s side this season, but has struggled somewhat since Serie A returned in June.
The striker has only found the net once since the Italian top flight returned, and is without a goal in his last five appearances having missed a penalty during Inter’s recent defeat to Bologna.
Manchester United are good and Tottenham are not good. That’s pretty much all you need to know about the last week.
Away from those two contrasting fortunes, there has been plenty of football to digest, and that means it’s Player Power Ranking time.
This week, it’s time for a helping hand from Russian Doll.
“It’s my bad attitude that keeps me young.”
Is Salah selfish? Graeme Souness seems to think so.
If he keeps on scoring goal after goal after goal, Liverpool fans really won’t care.
“You are serial-killer calm.”
If Havertz has played his final game for Bayer Leverkusen, bagging a penalty against Bayern Munich in the last minute of the cup final isn’t the worst way to go.
Just a shame they didn’t win, but y’know, it’s Bayern.
“Go with purpose. Triggers people’s curiosity.”
Dybala is playing with purpose these days.
He has found the back of the net in each of his last five appearances, but took a day off in the 4-2 loss to AC Milan because of a little suspension.
“The universe is trying to f**k with me. And I refuse to engage.”
Aubameyang was definitely leaving Arsenal a few months ago. They were rubbish.
Aubameyang might not be leaving Arsenal now. They’re much less rubbish.
And while that’s all going on, he continues to score goals.
“Routine is an incredible thing. We become what we repeatedly do.”
18 assists. Two more to tie Thierry Henry’s single-season record. Just keep on going.
“Sometimes Hail Marys are the best Marys we’ve got.”
Manchester United went into January looking for literally anything positive.
They didn’t care that Sporting CP had mugged them off all summer. They stood firm and did all they could to sign Fernandes, and just look at United now.
“Nothing in this world is easy, except pissing in the shower.”
He might have made scoring look easy this season, but Lukaku came back down to earth this week.
His goal against Bologna wasn’t enough to help Inter avoid defeat, and then he drew a blank against Verona.
“Look, I got bigger fish to fry, okay? I got to figure out how to get down the stairs.”
Having spent all season looking like one of the scariest strikers in the entire world, Immobile decided to give himself a little break.
A suspension in a 3-0 loss to Milan was followed by a goalless outing in a surprise 2-1 loss to Lecce.
It’s like Atalanta are the only side who actually want to stop Juventus.
“Thank you for changing my life. Lives are hard to change.”
Unless you have a bazillion posters of Greenwood in your bedroom now, you’re not a real United fan.
“Life is like a box of timelines, you feel me?”
We’re currently living in a timeline in which Sørloth is actually good. Mad ting.
He took his tally for the season to 29 in all competitions with a goal against Galatasaray. Parent club Crystal Palace have managed 30 in the league – if only Chelsea could have stopped them from scoring twice, this would have been so much funnier.
“You’re supposed to ask people about their kids. Okay? It’s polite. It gives everybody a moment to pretend there’s gonna be a future.”
The post-Eden Hazard future looked like it could be pretty gloomy for Chelsea, but Pulisic has made all those fears go away.
“I feel like f**king Rocky right now.”
This is the Martial United fans want to see.
He has really got going since Fernandes’ arrival, and he doesn’t look like he can be stopped.
“Fun is for suckers. Staring down the barrel of my own mortality always beats fun.”
Remember when Messi used to have fun playing football? Nowadays, he spends all his time sparing Barcelona’s blushes.
He’s now contributed to 23 of Barça’s last 28 La Liga goals, and even that hasn’t been enough to stop Real Madrid from pulling away.
“You can eat anything, take anything, do anything. It’s impossible to destroy you. You will never die.”
The freak of nature that is Ronaldo managed two more goals and another assist over this past week.
He even scored his first free kick since before the dawn of time! Huzzah!
“Hey, bartendress! Hello. Uh, more drunk please.”
It’s job done for Lewandowski. Two goals in the cup final was the perfect end to a perfect year. Time to party.
He ended the season with 51 goals in just 43 games. Thems is Ballon d’Or numbers, if you ask me.
For more from ?Tom Gott, follow him on ?Twitter!