Twitter Reacts as Aduriz Stunner Gives New Barcelona Pair Nightmare Debuts at San Mames

?The new La Liga season got underway on Friday night, as Athletic Club welcomed reigning champions Barcelona to the Estadio San Mames. And, erm, Aritz Aduriz happened.

Ernesto Valverde handed debuts to new signings Antoine Griezmann and Frenkie de Jong, who joined from Atletico Madrid and Ajax respectively. Griezmann returned to the Basque country after playing for Athletic’s rivals Real Sociedad way back in his career, while de Jong was making his La Liga debut.

Athletic got off to the better start, with Iñaki Williams having two big chances for the hosts. However, he was denied by Barca keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, who pulled off two decent saves in the early stages of the game to keep the game goalless.

The game then went a bit quiet, until a shocking back pass put an unmarked Luis Suarez through on goal. With a split second to react as the ball perfectly fell to him, the Uruguayan hit the post, sparing Athletic’s blushes before he went off injured.

It remained a quiet affair, with Williams the standout player for Athletic. The Spanish forward was working hard all game long, and his statistics showed just how impressive his work rate was.

Finally, the deadlock was broken right at the death with just a minute to play. Aritz Aduriz came off the bench and executed a stunning scissor kick, as he sent the Athletic fans into bedlam and secured a late and famous win for the hosts.

Athletic are away next Saturday as they take a trip to Getafe, while Barcelona have their first game at the Camp Nou as they host Real Betis the following day.


Philippe Coutinho and Barcelona Agree Deal for Brazilian to Join Bayern Munich on Season-Long Loan

?Barcelona winger Philippe Coutinho has agreed to leave Camp Nou and complete a one-year loan move to Bayern Munich.

The Brazilian has been heavily linked with a move away from Barcelona this summer, with Bayern thought to be seriously interested as they search for replacements for both Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben.

Philippe Coutinho

They have already completed a deal to sign ?Inter winger ?Ivan Perisic on loan, and ?RAC1 claim that Coutinho could soon follow him through the door after finally agreeing to a move to the ?Bundesliga giants.

Speaking ahead of Barcelona’s clash with Athletic Club on Friday evening (via BBC Sport), director Guillermo Amor revealed that a deal is nearing completion, saying: “We can confirm that there is an agreement in principle for the loan of Coutinho to Bayern. We just have to finalise the deal.”

Coutinho was subsequently left out of the matchday squad, and ?Alfredo Martinez adds that the winger is expected to fly to Germany on Saturday to finalise the move, which will see Bayern pay €12m now and have the option to sign him permanently next summer.

Coutinho’s exit from Camp Nou has been widely expected following a hugely disappointing debut season in Barcelona. He struggled to establish himself in Ernesto Valverde’s lineup, and the arrival of Antoine Griezmann looked to have pushed him further down the pecking order.

There was a belief that Coutinho could be used as part of a swap deal to lure ?Neymar away from Paris Saint-Germain, with the Ligue 1 champions thought to be incredibly keen on the former ?Liverpool man. However, should Coutinho join ?Bayern, it would suggest that a swap deal for Neymar is unlikely.


As for Bayern, Coutinho would add some much-needed depth on the wings following the departures of both Ribery and Robben. They have pursued the likes of ?Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi and ?Manchester City’s Leroy Sane, but were forced to pursue other options.

A deal for Perisic was quickly concluded, and now it appears as though they could soon follow that up with a move for Coutinho.


La Liga: 5 of the Best Opening Day Games in History

The La Liga season is set to return this weekend, with reigning champions Barcelona taking on Athletic Bilbao at the San Mames.

However, rivals? Real Madrid and ?Atletico Madrid will be looking to pip Barca to the title this year and in order to do that, they will need to get off to a flying start against Celta Vigo and Getafe respectively.

Football fans everywhere will be hoping for a couple of opening gameweek crackers, but what are some of the best La Liga games to be played on the opening weekend in the 21st century? Let’s have a look below.

Celta Vigo 2-3 Barcelona – 2006/07

Eidur Gudjohnsen,Santiago Ezquerro

Opening day fixtures don’t get much harder than ?Barcelona, but Celta Vigo came agonisingly close to a result against the then European champions.

Celta led in the first half, but were pegged back with a quick Eto’o and ?Messi double. However, they fired straight back and looked on course to take a point to open up their campaign.

Enter Eidur Gudjohnsen. The Icelandic scored with two minutes of normal time to play to steal the win and give Barca a thrilling opening day victory.

Valencia 4-3 Racing Santander – 2011/12

Papakouly Diop,Sergio Canales

Roberto Soldado stole the show on an absolutely jaw-dropping fixture to start the La Liga season. The Spanish marksman scored inside the opening minute, but Racing replied with two goals in the next 13 minutes – including an own goal from Soldado, would you believe it.

Racing scored again in the 54th minute to take a 3-1 lead, but an instant reply from Adil Rami a minute later made it 3-2.

With two minutes left on the clock, Racing were seemingly confident of picking up at least one point, but Soldado had other ideas. Two quick fire goals from the striker in the 88th and 90th minute broke Racing hearts, and capped off an unbelievable game and performance from Roberto Soldado.

Athletic Bilbao 3-5 Real Betis – 2012/13


Real Betis came out on top in a scintillating game which saw them squander a three goal lead but still, somehow, collect all three points. 

Betis started the game like a house on fire and led at half time by three goals to nil, with Benat scoring the pick of the goals – a long range screamer. However, Athletic Bilbao came out all guns blazing in the second half to claw the game back to 3-3 with 15 minutes left.

Bilbao’s hard work was all for nothing though, and they couldn’t cope with some slick football from Betis, resulting in goals from Pozuelo and a second for Molina.

Barcelona 7-0 Levante – 2013/14

Lionel Messi

Barcelona got the 2013/14 season off to a spectacular start, with a truly thumping display against Levante.

The reigning champions were magnificent, putting down a marker that has rarely been seen on an opening weekend in any league ever since. Barca were six goals up at half time after goals were scored by Alexis Sanchez, Lionel Messi, Dani Alves, Pedro and Xavi. 

It looked like it could have been double figures by the end of the match, but they took their foot off the gas for the remaining 45 minutes. That wasn’t to stop Pedro doubling his goal tally for the day however, as he rounded off the scoring with a seventh. 

Sevilla 6-4 Espanyol – 2016/17

Hiroshi Kiyotake

Not just one of the best opening matches seen in La Liga, Sevilla vs Espanyol in 2016 had arguably the most exciting half of football in La Liga history.

The score was 3-3 at half time, with goals rattling in without a chance to blink. However, in the second half, Sevilla put their foot down on the contest.

Three goals in 20 minutes from Franco Vazquez, Wissam Ben Yedder and Hirochi Kiyotake took the game away from Espanyol. 6-4 the game finished – a match that La Liga will never forget.


Women’s Champions League Draw: Lyon, Arsenal, Man City, Barcelona & More Learn Last 32 Fate

?The draw for the last 32 of the 2019/20 UEFA Women’s Champions League has been made following the conclusion of the qualifying groups, with Barcelona, Arsenal, Manchester City, Bayern Munich and Wolfsburg among the contenders looking to topple all-conquering Lyon.

Lyon thrashed Barcelona in last year’s final to win a fourth consecutive Champions League title, with 2018 Ballon d’Or winner Ada Hegerberg scoring a hat-trick inside half an hour. This time around the holders will kick off against Russia’s Ryazan-VDV.

Olympique Lyonnais v FC Barcelona - UEFA Women's Champions League Final

If they are to go one better than last season, Barcelona must first beat an improving Juventus side which has won Serie A in each of the last two years and recently strengthened by signing experienced Sweden defender Linda Sembrant.

The Catalans themselves have strengthened since losing the final in May, bringing in prolific Spaniard Jenni Hermoso and Norwegian star Caroline Graham Hansen to add to an already strong squad.

In their first European football since 2014, WSL champions Arsenal have been given the potentially tough task of overcoming Italian side Fiorentina, who landed Australian legend Lisa De Vanna this summer. For Manchester City, meanwhile, it is a tie against Swiss club Lugano.

Jill Roord

Bayern Munich must overcome Sweden’s Kopparbergs/Goteborg if they are to progress. Fellow Bundesliga side Wolfsburg, Champions League winners in 2013 and 2014 and finalists in 2016 and 2018, will meet Kosovan minnows Mitrovica.

?2019/20 UEFA Women’s Champions League Last 32 Draw
?Juventus (ITA) vs Barcelona (ESP)
?Hibernian (SCO) vs Slavia Prague (CZE)
?Spartak Subotica (SVK) vs Atletico Madrid (ESP)
Braga (POR) vs Paris Saint-Germain (FRA)?
?Vllaznia (ALB) vs Fortuna Hjorring (DEN)
Chertanovo (RUS) vs Glasgow City (SCO)?
?Ryazan-VDV (RUS) vs Lyon (FRA)
?Arsenal (ENG) vs Fiorentina (ITA)
?Kopparbergs/Goteborg (SWE) vs Bayern Munich (GER)
St Polten (AUT) vs Twente (NED)?
?Anderlecht (BEL) vs BIIK-Kazygurt (KAZ)
?Breidablik (ISL) vs Sparta Prague (CZE)
Mitrovica (KOS) vs Wolfsburg (GER)?
Pitea (SWE) vs Brondby (DEN)?
?Lugano (SUI) vs Manchester City (ENG)
?Minsk (BLR) vs Zurich (SUI)

The two-legged ties will be played on 11/12 September and 25/26 September.

The round of 16 is then scheduled for October, before the competition breaks until late March for the quarter finals. The 2020 final will be played on 24 May at Franz Horr Stadium in Vienna.


Ernesto Valverde Offers Lionel Messi Injury Update & Laments Spanish Transfer Window

Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has revealed Lionel Messi will not be risked during the club’s La Liga opener against Athletic Club on Friday night.

The Argentine suffered a calf injury in his first training session back from his extended holidays following the summer’s Copa America, and missed out on the pre-season tour of the USA. 

It is understood Messi engaged in a solo training session on Thursday, but he has not yet returned to first-team training, and as such he will not be risked against Athletic Club at San Mames Stadium on Friday night.

Speaking to the press, as quoted by Reuters, Valverde explained: “We never like to risk any players and much less someone like Leo.”

The tactician continued: “He still hasn’t returned to training with the team and while we are happy with his progress, individual training is very different to playing a match. We are going to wait and see.”

Valverde was then asked about the ongoing transfer saga involving Neymar, but the Spaniard refused to get into it, instead using the question as an opportunity to bemoan the fact that the window is still open at all. 

“It’s inconvenient and it’s not logical. The normal thing would be that the team you start with is the same one that will compete for the whole season,” he quipped.

“Now we have two weeks until the transfer window shuts and you can’t breathe easily until then. I’m very happy with the squad I have at the moment but I don’t know what will happen next.”

He added: “I am far removed from transfers and I’m focussing on the players I have for our first game. Neymar belongs to PSG and we’ll see what happens but I can’t say anything more about him.”