?Real Madrid midfielder Isco will threaten to join Barcelona on a free transfer if Los Blancos sign Chelsea forward Eden Hazard.
The Spain international was highly instrumental in Real Madrid’s triumphs in both La Liga and the Champions League last season, with his great form resulting in him starting the final of Europe’s elite competition ahead of Gareth Bale.
He ended the season with 11 goals in 42 appearances, but Spanish publication ?Diario Gol believe he will offer Madrid an ultimatum should they continue pursuing Chelsea star Eden Hazard.
The Belgian has been linked with a move to the Bernabeu after helping the Blues to the Premier League title last year, scoring 16 goals and contributing five assists in England’s top division.
Isco is entering the final 12 months of his contract with Madrid and is willing to risk the wrath of fans by threatening a move to Barcelona, the long time rivals of Los Blancos who recently appointed Ernesto Valverde as their new manager.
Exciting prospect Marco Asensio is also willing to threaten an exit if Hazard is signed, having benefitted from a promotion to the first-team by manager Zinedine Zidane.
However, his game time at the Bernabeu could be reduced if Hazard switches the Premier League for La Liga, having previously plied his trade for Lille in Ligue 1.
Monaco youngster Kylian Mbappe is also said to be interesting Madrid, who recently sent attacking midfielder James Rodriguez to Bayern Munich on a two-year loan deal.
Last season, right-back was Barcelona’s weakest department as the club struggled to cope with the departure of Dani Alves.
Makeshift option Sergi Roberto deputised admirably in the role at times, but after Aleix Vidal picked up a horrific injury, options were truly scarce at a club who normally do not struggle for depth.
After some flirting that led nowhere with Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin, the Blaugrana moved quickly to remedy the situation this summer, bringing in highly-rated Benfica man Nelson Semedo for a fee thought to be around £30m.
Here are six things to know about the man tasked with finally filling the Dani Alves-shaped hole at Barça…
1. He Was the Primeira Liga’s Breakthrough Player of 2016/17
During Benfica’s double-winning campaign in 2016/17, Semedo was one of the shining stars.
His marauding runs, defensive nous and athletic abilities earned him the accolade of the finest breakthrough act in Portugal’s top flight.
Only Porto’s Alex Telles recorded more assists from defence, suggesting he could be the ideal acquisition for Ernesto Valverde’s team.
2. He Loves to Attack
Surely the main reason Barcelona have signed Semedo is for his prowess going forward.
While he can also defend well, his ability in the final third will have the Blaugrana fans excited.
At times for Benfica, he operated as an extra winger, beating defenders at will and supplying the attackers with excellent service, recording six assists in 31 league appearances.
As a direct player, great with the ball at his feet and lightning quick, there are few better to succeed Alves to the throne.
3. He’s Part of the Portugal National Setup
Semedo is not yet the first choice in the Portugal setup, and normally plays second fiddle to Southampton’s Cedric Soares. However, he is a regular in the squad and has made six appearances for his country.
After breaking into the Benfica senior side in 2015, the right-back was called up for the World Cup qualifiers against Denmark and Serbia.
He had a little sabbatical from the international setup after but now, he is firmly back in their plans and will have his heart set on a place at the 2018 World Cup.
4. He’s Still a Very Raw Talent
Despite his impressive performances last season, it has to be remembered that 23-year-old Semedo is still a very raw talent.
He’s far from error prone, but the Portuguese star will still require some serious man management from Valverde to ensure he can step up to the expectation at the very highest level.
Barca have signed a player with masses of potential, but his needless red card in the Confederations Cup against Mexico shows that he still has much to learn.
5. He Suffered a Bad Knee Injury in 2016
The reason for Semedo’s absence on the international circuit for a while was down to a serious knee injury he picked up while on international duty.
His recovery was drawn out and he had to rediscover his form with Benfica’s B side. However, he finally seems to be back to his previous high standard and is ready to carry on his progress at Barcelona.
6. He Once Scored an Outrageous Goal in the Champions League
He’s not renowned for his goal scoring but one of his two from the 2016/17 season was an absolute stunner.
In Benfica’s Champions League campaign, Semedo left his most memorable mark yet in the 3-3 draw with Besiktas, rifling an unstoppable shot from range into the top corner.
?Real Madrid obviously value their newest addition very, very highly. Astronomically highly even – as
The Spanish giants had long running interest in Ceballos, along with fierce rivals Barcelona and following his impressive performances for Spain at the Under-21 European Championships – where he was named player of the tournament – Real Madrid wrapped up the deal in a timely fashion.
They have now left no stone unturned in their bid to ensure no rival club makes a move for the midfielder in the next six-years, but only time will tell if Ceballos reaches the heights which many predict is ahead for the young starlet.
In a very similar fashion to how Arsenal star Alexis completed his hat-trick at London Stadium back in December, Abidal sent the keeper down with a skilful fake shot before poking the ball into an empty net.
Another former Barcelona man Deco, who also had a spell with Chelsea, scored an equally impressive goal in his side’s 3-2 defeat to France.
Abidal registered 66 appearances for Les Bleus during his career and joined the likes of
With Uruguayan striker