?Luis Suarez has been speaking to Liverpool about his former teammate and club legend Steven Gerrard, and revealed he taught him a thing or two about staying focused.
The Barcelona striker left the club in 2013 to embark on a new chapter alongside Lionel Messi and Neymar at the Nou Camp, but reflects fondly on his three-and-a-half year stint at Anfield.
Suarez was known for being an unbelievable footballer, but at times allowed his volatile character to creep into his game, but Suarez says the interventions of captain Gerrard – who takes charge of the Reds’ U18s in the upcoming season – helped him learn to keep a lid on things.
As quoted by the? club’s official website, he said: “For the things he taught me as a teammate, for many different things really. If at some moment I’d react angrily at having had a bad game or after a defeat, he’d come over and have a quiet word, he’d back you and always give you sound advice.
“This is something that helped me a huge amount, as well as the time I mentioned before when I was on about leaving and he came over and chatted to me and advised me. I don’t need to thank him because he already knows just how superbly well he treated me.”
When asked if Gerrard had influenced him as a man, the Uruguayan added: “Yes, because of how he was as a person.
“The way he dealt with things, difficult situations, how he was with his teammates and the club. Many times he’d be carrying an injury but he’d just play through that because the team needed him. That’s the best example of being a captain that I’ve seen in my career.”
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?Barcelona legend Xavi has offered his opinion over the future of former team-mate Andres Iniesta as the latter’s contract enters its final year.
The 33-year-old playmaker is only contracted to Barcelona until the summer of 2018, and is giving serious consideration as to whether he will carry on playing past the 2017/18 campaign.
Speaking to ?Mundo Deportivo, Xavi – who played alongside Iniesta before his own departure from the Nou Camp in June 2015 – stated his belief that the Spain international should be free to decide the fate of his own career, before going to add that La Blaugrana should keep him as they “need” his virtuoso ability.
Xavi said: “Iniesta has earned the right to decide. His situation does not remind me of my last season, because he’s played every major game this year, he’s still got enough in the tank for a while.
“You have to respect his decision no matter what. If he wants to renew, or if he does not want to do it, Iniesta is a player who has made history in the club.
“He is one of the best players in the history of Spain. His continuity will depend on him, and hopefully he can continue and he is physically fit, because Barca needs him.”
Iniesta has been part of the first-team set up in Catalonia since 2002, and has won every major honour domestically, continentally and internationally apart from the UEFA Europa League. The centre midfielder has amassed 624 appearances in all competitions since his senior bow 14 seasons ago, scoring 54 times and laying on an almighty 134 assists in that time.
Iniesta made 37 appearances last term for the La Liga giants as a knee injury and muscular issues prevented him from featuring more, and only 21 of those came from the start as the club captain struggled for fitness under ex-Barca boss Luis Enrique.
However, with new manager Ernesto Valverde now in place, Iniesta will give his new gaffer 12 months to overthrow bitter rivals Real Madrid before deciding whether to hang up his boots or not.
Ex-Tottenham midfielder Paulinho has been the subject of another transfer approach from Barcelona as the Catalan club continue in their hunt to sign the Brazilian.
With the Chinese transfer window closing in the next few days, Barcelona need to act fast after a €27m offer was rejected outright by Guangzhou Evergrande, who insist the player “is not for sale”, a message they’ve made clear to the Barcelona hierarchy, according to Sport reports.
Neymar on Paulinho: “I hope Paulinho signs for Barça. He is a great friend and a great player, everyone would receive him with open arms.” pic.twitter.com/QKibmEiLsN
— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) July 9, 2017
Barcelona turned their attention to the Brazilian international after learning that it would cost a staggering £70m to lure Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti to Spain. Paulinho, a significantly cheaper alternative to PSG’s Italian, has reportedly spoken to manager Felipe Scolari about his desire to join Barcelona but the Brazilian manager is not entertaining the idea of his star midfielder leaving the Tianhe Stadium.
Ceballos rejected being a starter at Barca to be a squad player at Real. In fairness I wouldn’t fancy playing with Paulinho either #RMCF
— Tay?ør (@tayIorsport) July 8, 2017
The 28-year-old was signed by Tottenham in 2013 for an initial fee close to £17m, ending a three-year spell with Brazilian side Corinthians. After an unsuccessful time in North London, Paulinho was snapped up by Chinese Super League side GZ Evergrande in July 2015.
Barcelona could be forced to revert their attention back on Verratti if they fail to secure Paulinho’s signature. The Catalonians have been desperate for a midfielder this summer, especially with the future of Portuguese central midfield star André Gomes uncertain.
Barcelona have apparently given up on re-signing Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin and turned to Nélson Semedo, as the hunt for a new right-back continues in Catalonia.
After losing long term defender Dani Alves to Juventus last summer, Barcelona have been unable to fill the gap left by the Brazilian international’s exit.
While Bellerin seemed the club’s first choice target for some time, Barça are now looking at Portuguese international Semedo after the 23-year-old enjoyed a stellar season at the Estádio da Luz last year, according to Portuguese outlet Record.
Semedo joined Benfica from Sport União Sintrense in 2012, a club he had been with since he was 15.
Semedo, who featured in 47 games for Benfica last season, has a €60m release clause in his current contract, which is set to expire in 2021. Barcelona are hoping that a potential move to the Camp Nou and an offer of €30m will be enough to convince the Primeira Liga champions to sell their star defender.
Along with Spanish full-back Álex Grimaldo, a Barcelona youth player for eight years, Semedo has been linked with a move away from Portugal this summer after emerging as one of the most promising full-backs in Europe.
Don’t believe everything you read…
— Héctor Bellerín (@HectorBellerin) June 8, 2017
Barcelona’s pursuit of Semedo seems to all but end their interest in Bellerín, despite reports that Barcelona would prepare another bid for the Spaniard.
The 22-year-old had been heavily linked with a move back to Catalonia. However, Arsenal are adamant that they will not be forced to sell this summer, while the man himself recently posted on Twitter telling his followers: “Don’t believe everything you read”.
?The agent of Barcelona midfielder Arda Turan has insisted that his client is not leaving the Nou Camp this summer, as he is determined to stay and fight for his place in the team.
After a two-year struggle to cement a spot in the Spanish club’s starting eleven following his move from Atletico Madrid, Turan has been linked with a move away from the club this summer – with reports suggesting Arsenal had tabled a bid for the 30-year-old.
However, with the summer of change which is underway at the Nou Camp following the arrival of Barca’s new manager – Ernesto Valverde – Arda’s representative, Ahmet Bulut is confident that the midfielder will remain at the club this summer.
Despite reports suggesting Turan had been subject to a £26.6m bid from the Gunners earlier in the summer, Bulut has stood firm in his stance. He told NTV Spor, via ?Goal: “Arda will stay at Barca.
“He has three years remaining on his contract. He will join the training camp due to start on July 12. There is nothing new regarding this.”
As his debut at the Nou Camp was delayed upon his arrival for six months due to the Spanish club serving a player registration ban, Turan seemingly never recovered from the set back and has struggled to find himself as a regular at the club ever since.
The former Turkish international scored 13 goals in 30 appearances for the club last season, in a campaign which saw the 30-year-old limited to 14 La Liga starts after being hampered by adductor and abductor injuries.