Barcelona Oppose Radical Champions League Remodel to Avoid ‘Killing’ La Liga

Barcelona have joined forces with the top Premier League clubs in opposing UEFA’s new proposed Champions League revamp, fearing that European matches on weekends would ‘kill’ domestic football.

UEFA met with representatives from Europe’s major clubs in Nyon, Switzerland, on Tuesday for a brainstorming session on potential Champions League alterations following the 2024 season.

The new ideas include replacing the current qualification process with a simpler promotion and relegation format as well as playing matches on weekends, at least from the quarter-final stage onwards.

Premier League sides present at the meetings were said to be decidedly unhappy with these proposals, fearing that the format changes would compromise the lucrative television contracts that have funded the league’s growing wealth.

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According to Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona have now aligned themselves with the Premier League clubs as they look to protect their own domestic interests.

Despite the immediate negative reception, talks still appear to be at a very early stage with a Barcelona spokesperson saying: “This is the first of a series of meetings between the parties in the coming months, to allow for a detailed and adequate consultation with the objective of elaborating concrete proposals that can be considered and analysed properly before making any decision.”

Resistance against the proposed Champions League changes has thus far formalised into a document of condemnation submitted to UEFA, and signed by members of the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, and Bundesliga.

Lionel Messi

However, UEFA’s new plans are already threatening to spark an extensive and wide-ranging European football conflict as other top clubs including Juventus and PSG support the format changes due to the lack of competition and global interest in their domestic campaigns.

Barcelona, who last won the Champions League in 2015, are still hoping to emerge victorious from this year’s competition as they face Manchester United in the quarter-finals after defeating Lyon 5-1 on aggregate in the round of 16.

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Arturo Vidal in Doubt for Chile vs Mexio After Visa Issues Delay Barcelona Ace’s Entry to USA

?Barcelona midfielder Arturo Vidal could miss Chile’s friendly match against Mexico on Friday, after being denied entry to the United States due to visa issues.

Chile are set to take on El Tri in San Diego at the end of the week, before travelling to Texas to face the USA next Tuesday. Reinaldo Rueda’s side failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, but will be looking to bounce back with a couple of good results, ahead of their Copa América campaign in the summer.

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According to Chilean outlet 24 Horas, via Sport, Vidal recently altered his passport, which saw his visa blocked when attempting to enter the United States. While this issue is not deemed to be too problematic, it isn’t likely to be resolved until Thursday – which gives him no time to train with his teammates ahead of Friday’s match.

Given Vidal’s invaluable experience – he has over 100 caps for his country – he’ll be a massive loss for La Roja, and Rueda might just be tempted to throw the veteran midfielder into the fray on Friday despite a possible lack of training. Alongside the 31-year-old, other stars in the squad include Bayer Leverkusen’s Charles Aránguiz and defensive stalwart Gary Medel, who plays for Be?ikta?.


On the domestic front, Vidal has been in fine form for ?Barcelona this season, and has played an important role in their dominance of ?La Liga this season. Arriving from ?Bayern Munich in the summer, the robust tackler has been a ferocious presence in the Catalan giants’ midfield, and gives them some much needed grit to complement their trademark flair.

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In other news, ?Barcelona are believed to have missed out on Atlético Madrid ace Saul Ñiguez, as ?Manchester City are now the frontrunners to sign the 24-year-old. The player’s representatives have publicly stated that their client intends to leave in the summer, and could cost the Citizens around €80m.

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Real Madrid Linked With Adrien Rabiot as Midfielder’s Agent Insists He Is a ‘Prisoner’ at PSG

?Paris Saint-Germain outcast Adrien Rabiot has been linked with an astounding move to Real Madrid once his contract with the Parisian club expires at the end of the season.

Rabiot, 23, has seen his relationship sour with PSG this season after publicly voicing his intentions to leave the French club once his contract expires in June, with the midfielder seemingly attracting the interest of a number of Europe’s top sides.

And according to L’Equipe (via GFFN), Adrien Rabiot’s mother/agent has stated that her son is a ‘prisoner’ at the club. 

The latest addition to that ever-lengthening list appears to be ?Real Madrid, with Spanish media outlet ?OKDiario reporting that Los Blancos are keen to bring the Frenchman to the Santiago Bernabeu. 

The article claims that the French international is viewed as a short-term replacement for ?Luka Modric, as the club want a player with similar characteristics of the 34-year-old Ballon d’Or winner, although isn’t a move that would displace the Croatian initially, due to Rabiot’s versatility to play in a number of positions across midfield. 

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While Rabiot would be a free agent – meaning Real Madrid wouldn’t have to pay a transfer fee for the midfielder – it’s believed that the player wants a signing-on fee in the region of €15m to join the 13-time Champions League winners.

Rabiot was close to joining Real’s bitter rivals ?Barcelona earlier this season, with personal terms thought to have been agreed, before the Catalan side seemingly pulled the plug on the deal and instead announced the singing of Ajax starlet Frenkie de Jong, who will complete his move to the Nou Camp this summer. 

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It’s been a strange season for Rabiot, who after initially being a key part to Thomas Tuchel’s PSG side earlier in the campaign, has been on the periphery of things at the Parc des Princes since making his intentions to leave the club clear, with his last appearance coming in a 1-1 draw against Strasbourg in early December. 

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Antoine Griezmann: 6 Elite Clubs Who Must Sign the Forward if He Leaves Atletico Madrid This Summer

Antoine Griezmann reportedly wants to leave Atletico Madrid this summer, less than a year after famously deciding to stay put last June.

A player of his quality, who has scored at least 25 goals in each of the last four full seasons, won the World Cup and twice finished third in the Ballon d’Or will have no shortage of suitors if he really is about to become available on the transfer market.

Here’s a look at six top teams who must try and sign him…


?Internazionale

Mauro Icardi

Depending on what happens with Mauro Icardi, who has been stripped of the club captaincy and hasn’t played since early February because of a contentious knee injury, Inter could find themselves needing a new attacking talisman ahead of next season.

Selling Icardi would raise significant funds and with Inter set to improve to third in Serie A and seemingly on an upward trajectory, it may be a project worth considering for Griezmann.


Bayern Munich

Robert Lewandowski,Arjen Robben,Franck Ribery

Bayern Munich will bid farewell to veteran heroes Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery at the end of the season, with James Rodriguez not tipped to stay beyond his loan deal. It means there will be a serious need for fresh attacking impetus at the Allianz Arena.

Griezmann could be the perfect summer addition for a club that has had a wakeup call, both at home and abroad, this season, potentially ushering in a new era of success.


Paris Saint-Germain

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Paris Saint-Germain could well look to Griezmann in the event that they lose Neymar this summer, with the Brazilian superstar a reported €350m world record target for Real Madrid.

Should that actually happen, PSG would need a replacement and would have the money to make it happen. Griezmann, who has never played professionally in his home country, could also be the more reliable Champions League X-factor the club has long been waiting for.


Barcelona

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Barcelona were infamously snubbed by Griezmann last summer when he made ‘The Decision’ to stay with Atletico. Reports suggest that the Catalans, who were made to look foolish by the whole saga, won’t entertain going back in for him, but perhaps they can’t afford not to.

Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez continue to score the bulk of Barça’s goals and it won’t last forever, with the former due to turn 32 years of age in June and latter already there. The attacking unit at Camp Nou therefore needs an injection of slightly younger blood.


Manchester United

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Manchester United wanted Griezmann in 2017 before he pledged himself to Atletico in light of their transfer ban. That interest has never really picked up again since, but the failure of Alexis Sanchez at Old Trafford is reason to think the club would still have a need.

As a second striker, Griezmann could prove to be the creative link player that United have been lacking, while his personal friendship with Paul Pogba is already a big plus point.


Real Madrid

Zinedine Zidane

Real Madrid will find it hard to sign number one target Neymar this summer. If that ambitious venture fails, then they too could become one of the clubs interested in Griezmann.

Real are set to make numerous changes at the end of the season after a disastrous 2018/19 campaign and could do a lot worse than focus on a player who is already a proven goalscorer in La Liga and at the highest level in Europe.


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Bayern Munich Race Ahead of Arsenal in Race to Sign Prolific Lille Striker Nicolas Pepe

?Bayern Munich appear to be close to securing the signing of Lille striker Nicolas Pepe, according to recent reports.

Pepe has been in sublime form for Lille so far this season, registering 18 goals and 11 assists in all competitions and, as a result, has become a top transfer target for a host of sides across Europe. 

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It was reported that ?Bayern Munich had ?’opened talks’ with Lille last week and now, according to ?Sport, it appears that the Bavarians are drawing closer to confirming the signing.

Bayern delegate Laurent Busser has been watching Pepe live over the past few months but, as Lille look set to qualify for the Champions League, his transfer value is only likely to increase over the coming months – which could pose an issue for Bayern.

As a result, Sport claim that Bayern are looking to secure a deal as soon as possible to prevent Lille from continually raising the Ivorian’s transfer value and because the likes of ?Barcelona and Arsenal are also monitoring his progress.

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beIN Sports journalist ?Bel-Abbès Bouaissi has also claimed that Bayern have already submitted a huge transfer offer for Pepe in the region of 80m, adding that adidas also have a hand in the transaction.

Speaking about his future whilst on international duty with the Ivory Coast, Pepe has insisted that he is unsure of what the immediate future holds and that he is currently focused on finishing the season strongly with Lille.


“My representatives take care of my future, I am focused on Lille for the rest of the season,” Pepe told Canal, per Football Espana.

“My future league? I do not have a preference.”

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