Barcelona Tracking Ajax Goalkeeper André Onana Amid Interest From Chelsea

Barcelona are monitoring Andre Onana, of Ajax, as they explore options to replace back up goalkeeper Neto – while Chelsea also retain interest in the Cameroon international.

The Blues’ goalkeeping situation has been the subject of much debate in recent weeks after manager Frank Lampard dropped Kepa Arrizabalaga following a series of underwhelming performances.

Frank Lampard,Kepa Arrizabalaga

The Spaniard did not return to the lineup for the 2-0 loss to ?Manchester United, fuelling reports a new goalkeeper could arrive in the summer. One such candidate is Onana, and ?Sport believe that ?Chelsea are leading the race to sign the Cameroon international.

This is not the first time that Onana has been mentioned as a potential option for Chelsea. A previous report suggested the 23-year-old had ?expressed an interest in moving to Stamford Bridge, with a deal likely to cost around the €40m mark.

However, that figure could increase if other sides choose to try sign Onana as well, and Sport certainly believe that could be the case.

Andre Onana

The main focal point of the article is ?Barcelona’s interest in the goalkeeper. La Blaugrana are thought to be uncertain whether current backup Neto is good enough for the club, and they are said to have already reached out to Onana, who spent five years in Barcelona’s academy between 2010 and 2015.

Sport even add that it is Onana’s dream to be Barcelona’s starting goalkeeper, and he would be prepared to accept a secondary role as it would give him a chance to prove himself.

There is also thought to be interest from Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain, but Chelsea are believed to be ahead of the rest of the pack.

FBL-ENG-PR-CHELSEA-MAN UTD

A move to Chelsea would certainly make sense. It seems like Lampard is unconvinced by Arrizabalaga – so much so that he is reported to have ?clashed with Chelsea officials over his reluctance to use the world’s most expensive goalkeeper.

If Chelsea do decide to move on from Arrizabalaga, Onana certainly appears to be a viable option, and it would not be the first piece of business between the clubs, with Hakim Ziyech set to join the Blues in the summer.


For more from Tom Gott, follow him on Twitter!

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Making a Starting XI of Lionel Messi’s Weirdest Teammates Throughout His Career

Unless you’ve had your head in the sand over the last few days, you probably know that Barcelona were granted special dispensation to go out and sign a forward outside of the transfer window to temporarily halt their ‘crisis’ upfront, having lost both Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembélé? to long-term injuries.

So, who’d they bring in? None other than former Middlesbrough titan Martin Braithwaite – who sounds like a Downton Abbey character – on a four-year-deal with a £250m buyout clause.

Meanwhile, Braithwaite’s former club Leganes ?stand to get relegated without their main striker.

Yes, it’s all really weird.

It’s not the first oddball piece of recruitment from Barça in recent years, however. Far from it. As tribute, we’ve decided to build a starting XI of those who’ve been (very) fortunate to turn out alongside six-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi.


Rü?tü Reçber – GK

Turkish goalkeeper Rustu Recber (L) and

First things first, Rü?tü Reçber was, actually, a fine player during his time in his native Turkey. He turned out for the national side 120 times over an 18-year spell, playing a hero’s role in the nation’s run to the Euro 2008 semi-finals.

Earning a move to Barcelona in 2003, Reçber wasn’t put in the matchday squad for his first clash since his ‘Spanish was not at an acceptable level’. Injury didn’t help either, and just as ?Messi had begun to burst onto the scene Reçber was loaned back to former club Fenerbahce after just four senior outings in another one of the club’s confusing transfers that failed to take off.


Douglas – RB

FBL-ESP-CUP-VILLANOVENSE-BARCELONA

Another player who may as well have been signed anonymously, Barça saw it fit to spend €4m on the uncapped Brazilian in 2016, only for a poor debut to essentially cost him any future at Camp Nou. 

Incidentally, that match was the first dropped points of Luis Enrique’s reign as manager, so that the natural course of action was to, well, drop Douglas. Loan stints at Benfica and Sivasspor followed, and his eight-match spell with La Blaugrana dissipated sooner than it began.


Dmytro Chygrynskiy – CB

Barcelona's new player Ukrainian Dmytro

A name mostly forgotten in Catalonia now is that of the Ukrainian defender. There’s good reason for it too, he cost a fortune and was almost entirely rubbish. 

Moving from Shakhtar Donetsk for a (then) whopping €25m, the centre-back cut an invisible figure at Camp Nou, barely featuring and sort of drifting away as a hefty investment that when brought up in conversation results in a member of the Barça hierarchy coughing loudly to initiate a change of topic.

At least he got to play with Messi, though. 


Thomas Vermaelen – CB

Thomas Vermaelen

There is no disputing Thomas Vermaelen played well for ?Arsenal, that’s the reason Barcelona bought him in the first place. What they completely overlooked, however, was his abysmal injury record.

Four seasons and 53 appearances later he left the club, but not before managing to have zero impact whatsoever and costing roughly £300k per outing (not to mention wages). A signing that made no sense.

He’s in Japan now.


Oscar Lopez – LB

Valencia's Vicente Rodriguez (R) vies wi

Forcing his way through the youth ranks and into the senior fold, everything went wrong for Oscar Lopez – he was dreadful at best and appalling at worst. Given his rise through the youth ranks, seeing him flop so considerably was odd.

Still, he just had time to see Messi’s glittering career lift off. Just a shame he couldn’t do likewise.


Fabio Rochemback – CM 

Barcelona v Alaves X

Bizarre stat of the week (via ?Richard Jolly): “Since Samuel Eto’o left Barcelona in 2009, no former Real Madrid player has played for Barca or vice-versa. If / when he joins, Martin Braithwaite will become the third player to represent both Middlesbrough & Barcelona in that time.”

Can you name the other ones? Well, here’s the answer to one of those: Fabio Rochemback.

If you ask Messi who he was, the likely outcome would be a bemused, blank face. You wouldn’t blame him, the Brazilian was accused of having a terrible attitude throughout his spell there.


Mark van Bommel – CM

Barcelona's Dutchman Mark Van Bommel cel

A talented, no-nonsense midfielder who achieved success at every club he played for? Absolutely. The archetypal Barcelona footballer who embodied the ethos and playing style the club are known for? Absolutely not.

Everything about his free transfer move in 2005 was just weird. He was never going to fit the mould and, one season later, moved on to ?Bayern Munich. Shock horror.


Paulinho- CM

Paulinho Bezerra

Ask a ?Tottenham fan how Paulinho’s spell in north London was and your first course of action is to cover the ears of any children in the area. To put it bluntly, he was s***e.

Which is why, after a spell in China with Guangzhou Evergrande, it made no sense whatsoever for Barça to splash €40m on him in 2017. Granted, he scored a career-high season total of nine goals, but then they went and loaned him back to Guangzhou Evergrande 12 months later. It just doesn’t make sense. Although, if we’ve learned anything, Barcelona generally don’t make sense.


Kevin-Prince Boateng – FW

FBL-ESP-LIGA-BARCELONA-VALLADOLID

There’s left-field, then there’s the loan signing of Kevin-Prince Boateng. It had an air of panic mode about it, as well as one of utter bemusement.

Plying his trade for Sassuolo, he was only there for six months before being snapped up Ernesto Valverde for what can only be described as s***s and giggles. Made no sense then, and four pointless appearances later, makes even less sense now.


Jeffren – FW?

Barcelona's forward Jeffren Suarez celeb

Jeffren Suarez’s career history reads exactly as you might expect for a bang average, 32-year-old, four-cap Venezuela international forward.

He’s spent time at Sporting CP (five goals in 35 games), Valladolid (three goals in 47), Eupen (five in 49) and Grasshoppers (a respectable six in 35), while the closest he has ever come to winning a club trophy was as runner-up in the Taça de Portugal in 2012…

Oh but wait, he also started his career at Barcelona, where he played 30-odd times for first-team over a three-year period and (technically) won three league titles, the Champions League and Club World Cup under Pep Guardiola.

The once-promising youngster even scored in the famous 5-0 win over Real Madrid in 2010.


Martin Braithwaite – FW

Martin Braithwaite

You’ve read it all already. How his scoring rate is not fantastic, he couldn’t cut in the Championship and that the transfer is outrageously cruel on Leganes.

But no matter how you spin it, nothing about this deal makes sense. It’s sensational in all the wrong ways and how he’ll fare is anyone’s guess. This is desperation at its peak.

Just picture the world’s best player (possibly ever) alongside MARTIN BRAITHWAITE at Camp Nou. Nothing can prepare us for this, it’s….just so weird.


For more from Ross Kennerley, follow him on Twitter!  

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4 of the Best Moments of Ronaldinho’s Career

Ronaldinho is number 26 in 90min’s Top 50 Greatest Footballers of All Time series


Ronaldinho. The magician. The entertainer. The elastico master. 

One of the greatest talents to have ever graced our football pitches, the Brazilian superstar lit up the biggest stages and put a smile on the face of just about everybody who witnessed his displays. 

Ronaldinho spent the peak of his career at Camp Nou, where he mesmerised Barcelona supporters for five years, and brought title glory back to Catalonia. But the creative forward also enjoyed some of his best highlights outside of La Liga. 

Here is a look back at some of his greatest moments. 


Bernabeu Standing Ovation 

There’s no love lost between Real Madrid and Barcelona, and the two Spanish giants are not in the habit of handing out compliments to their arch rivals – the Bernabeu faithful rarely applaud their own players. So what would it take for the ?Madrid fans to openly acknowledge the brilliance of an opposing star? 

Ronaldinho

?Well, in November 2005, we found out. Ronaldinho led Barça to an incredible 3-0 win in Madrid, and the Brazilian sensation delivered one of the greatest individual performances of skill and creativity that the game has ever seen. 

For both goals in Ronaldinho’s brace, the winger picked up the ball on the left-hand side and sprinted at his marker – a certain Sergio Ramos – and then breezed past one of the greatest defenders in the game as if he wasn’t there. 

The two strikes were pieces of art, and the Bernabeu recognised the genius that they had been subjected to, by awarding their enemy with a standing ovation. Touching stuff.


World Cup Winner 

?Did he mean it? Was it a fluke? Who cares? We all remember Ronaldinho’s long-range looping free-kick, which caught England goalkeeper David Seaman off guard and somehow found its way into the top corner of the net. 

Ronaldinho

The Brazilian magician broke all English hearts on that day, and he would go on to lift the prestigious World Cup trophy in 2002, helping his nation claim bragging rights for a record fifth time. It was the peak moment in international football that he thoroughly deserved. 

He definitely meant it, anyway. 


Renaissance at Atletico Mineiro

When a Brazilian footballer leaves his home nation to conquer Europe, he seldom returns to his motherland until he is well past his best. Well, Ronaldinho was forced out of Barcelona to make room for some kid called Lionel Messi (who?) and after a spell in Italy with ?Milan, our smily protagonist returned to his South American roots. 

FBL-LIBERTADORES--ATMINEIRO-OLIMPIA-FINAL

And with some success, too. After a stint at Flamengo, Ronaldinho joined Atletico Mineiro, and guided them to Copa Libertadores qualification in his first campaign. The next season, they only went and won the bloody thing – for the first time in their history, too! 

The Brazilian star scored four goals and provided seven assists during their dramatic cup run, which saw them overturn two-goal deficits in the first leg of the semi-final and final. Our main man was honoured for his achievements by scooping the award for Best South American player in 2013. 

Fairytale stuff. 


Barcelona Revival 

?It’s hard to imagine, given all of Messi’s magic over the 15 years or so, but once upon a time, Barcelona were a team that was struggling to lift the Champions League trophy. But with Ronaldinho at the peak of his powers, they looked destined to break their barren run. 

Barcelona's Brazilian Ronaldinho (C) cel

And they did. In 2006, Barcelona ended a 14-year wait for European success by beating Arsenal 2-1 in a dramatic final. Ronaldinho was at the heart of their journey, and he scored a superb goal against Chelsea in the round of 16, showing incredible strength to bounce off a challenge, beat two men and lash a vicious strike beyond Petr Cech. 

It was a perfect demonstration of what Ronaldinho is all about: quick feet, lightning pace and devastating power. Barça also claimed their second successive title that season, and their talisman was named the 2005 Ballon d’Or winner and FIFPro World Player of the Year

A true legend of the game. 


90min’s ‘Top 50 Greatest Footballers of All Time’ can be found here. 

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Barcelona’s 10 Maddest Signings of the 21st Century

Updated: 20/2/2020

When you hear the name ‘Barcelona’ you probably envision Lionel Messi cavorting across the hallowed turf of Camp Nou, with a host of other exceptionally talented players like Ronaldinho and Xavi.

Certainly, the Catalan giants have had an incredible number of talented stars wear the iconic blaugrana shirt. However, in recent times the Catalan giants have also been partial to the odd baffling transfer. 

With last year’s extraordinary loan for 31-year-old journeyman Kevin Prince-Boateng only just starting to fade from memory, Barcelona have once again outdone themselves with the emergency signing of former Middlesbrough misfit Martin Braithwaite. 

Here are ten of the most bonkers Barcelona signings in the 21st century so far…

10. André Gomes – Valencia (€35m + Add-Ons)

Andre Gomes

On paper it made total sense: Technically gifted, having spent two fine spells with Benfica and Valencia respectively, the stage was set for André Gomes to step into Iniesta’s shoes.

Unfortunately for the Portugal international, things didn’t work out, and he only managed to provide three goals and four assists in his first two seasons with the club, before missing out on a squad spot for the 2018 World Cup.

9. Paulinho – Guangzhou Evergrande (€40m)

Paulinho Bezerra

This was certainly a baffling bit of business given the player’s spell in the Premier League with Tottenham Hotspur, where fans of the Lilywhites watched on incredulously as the midfielder flopped around White Hart Lane for two seasons.

In 2017, Barcelona brought him from Guangzhou Evergrande for €40m, sparking mass hilarity on social media.

However the joke was soon on us, as the Brazilian actually had a pretty solid season with the club, helping them win both the league title and the Copa del Rey before returning to China.

8. Thomas Vermaelen – Arsenal (£15m)

Thomas Vermaelen

Barcelona made several delves into the Arsenal ranks over the years, with their half-hearted purchases from the Gunners often resembling a desperate man resorting to buying their partner petrol-station flowers year upon year.

Not exactly a blockbuster signing for a blockbuster club, and the injury-riddled Belgian only made 34 La Liga appearances in four seasons.

7. Alexander Hleb – Arsenal (€17m)

Aleksander Hleb

The Belarusian ace was a key creative figure at Arsenal, and was a part of the squad that so nearly pipped Barça to the Champions League in 2006.

Moving to Catalonia in 2008, he was technically part of a treble-winning side in 2009, but only started five La Liga matches all season, and was farmed out on loan to VfL Stuttgart at the end of the campaign, before having further temporary spells with Birmingham City and VFB Wolfsburg.

6. Malcom – Bordeaux (€41m)

Malcom

Given that Barcelona went to the trouble of hijacking Roma’s move for Malcom, you think they’d have actually had plans to use him at some point…Apparently not.

Yep, Malcom came in for a hefty €41m in the summer of 2018, and was expected to play an important part in the club’s plans. However, the Brazilian youngster made just 24 appearances in all comps in 2018/19 (mostly cameos from the bench) and was promptly sold to Zenit St Petersburg for roughly the same fee.

5. Yerry Mina – Palmeiras (€11.8m)

Yerry Mina

Bit of a strange one for all concerned, this one.

Brought in with the intention of building for the future, Yerry Mina made just six appearances for the club, before being immediately flogged to Everton for £27m after a fine World Cup campaign.

Sure, in a business sense, it was a tasty little profit. But surely developing the player into the superstar they first saw within him would have been a more prudent approach.

4. Alex Song – Arsenal (£15m)

FBL-EUR-C1-BARCELONA-ATLETICO

£15m was a hefty fee in 2012 – you wouldn’t get the lesser Longstaff’s big toe for that these days – and they already had Xavi, Andrés Iniesta, Sergio Busquets, Thiago, Javier Mascherano and Cesc Fàbregas covering the midfield.

Unsurprisingly, Song played a bit-part role at Barça, and ended up being used as makeshift centre-back. It didn’t work out.

The Cameroon international was loaned out to West Ham and eventually let go on a free transfer, despite having a year left on his deal.

3. Rü?tü Reçber – Free Agent

Turkish goalkeeper Rustu Recber (L) and

With flowing locks and warpaint eccentrically adorning his weatherbeaten face, what wasn’t there to love about legendary goalkeeper Rü?tü?

After spending over a decade playing football in his native Turkey, the maverick showstopper spurned a host of advances from a number of top European sides, before eventually agreeing to join Barcelona as a free agent.

However, then-manager Frank Rijkaard threw an almighty spanner in the works, claiming he wouldn’t start Rü?tü as he couldn’t speak Spanish and gave Victor Valdes the nod instead.

Rü?tü left the Camp Nou after just one season, and spent the remainder of his career back in the Turkish top tier.

2. Dmytro Chygrynskiy – Shakhtar Donetsk (€25m)

Barcelona's new signing Ukranian Dmytro

Back in 2009, fresh off the back of winning a mighty treble, Barcelona decided it might be a bit of fun to bring in Ukrainian defender Dmytro Chygrynskiy for €25m – which was an awful lot of money for a centre back in those days.

The shaggy-haired Shakhtar star failed to live up to his sizeable price tag, and ended up making just 12 league appearances before being swiftly shipped back to his former club – with Barça making a £10m loss and being left red in the face by the whole experience.

1. Kevin-Prince Boateng – Sassuolo (Loan)

Kevin-Prince Boateng

After mooted interest in Carlos Vela, Olivier Giroud and Cristhian Stuani to add depth to their attacking ranks, Barça settled on former Pompey star Boateng, who last hit 10 in a single campaign while at Las Palmas in 2016/17.

The Ghana international, who has scored fewer than 50 league goals in his 15-year career, was brought in to serve as backup to Luis Suarez for the second half of the 2018/19 campaign.

He made four appearances in total and scored zero goals. Funnily enough, his purchase option was not exercised.

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Barcelona vs Eibar Preview: How to Watch on TV, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News

?Barcelona host Eibar on Saturday afternoon in La Liga as they look to take top spot before rivals Real Madrid play later that day.

Barça are coming off three consecutive wins in the league, though need to maintain that level of consistency if they are to take the title title race down to the wire.

Antoine Griezmann

Eibar are without a win in their last three league games and are just three points outside the relegation zone in 16th.


Where to Watch

?

When Is Kick Off? Saturday 22 February
What Time Is Kick Off? 15:00 (GMT)
Where Is it Played? Camp Nou
TV Channel/Live Stream? La Liga TV
Referee? César Soto Grado

Team News

The Catalan side remain without forwards ?Luis Suarez and ?Ousmane Dembele, while Jordi Alba is also a doubt after picking up an injury against Getafe.

Clement Lenglet will return for ?Barça though, after serving a one-game suspension.

Jordi Alba

For Eibar, Kike Garcia and Ivan Ramis are ruled out. Midfielder Sergio Alvarez is also likely to be absent.


Predicted Lineups

?

Barcelona Ter Stegen; Roberto, Pique, Lenglet, Firpo; De Jong, Busquets, Arthur; Messi, Griezmann, Fati.
Eibar Dmitrovic; Arbilla, Burgos, Bigas, Angel; Diop, Cristoforo; Leon, Exposito, Orellana; Enrih.

Head to Head Record

Barcelona have played Eibar 11 times and are yet to lose their opponents. They have ten wins against them, drawing just once.

The one draw between the sides came at the end of last season in La Liga, with Lionel Messi bagging a brace.

Antoine Griezmann,Lionel Messi

The last time the teams played against each other was back in October, with Barça emerging as comfortable 3-0 victors thanks to goals from Antoine Griezmann, Messi and Suarez.


.Recent Form

Barcelona have had an inconsistent season which led to the sacking of Ernesto Valverde. Although they are unbeaten in three games in the league, they did previously lose to Valencia and were also were knocked out in the Copa del Rey by Athletic Club.

Eibar have failed to win in their last four games and are coming off the back of a loss against Alaves. They were also knocked out of the Copa del Rey too against Badajoz, so will be desperately searching for a result to give them a boost in momentum.

Barcelona Eibar
Barcelona 2-1 Getafe (15/2) Alaves 2-1 Eibar (7/2)
Real Betis 2-3 Barcelona (9/2) Eibar 1-1 Real Betis (2/2)
Athletic Club 1-0 Barcelona (6/2) Celta Vigo 0-0 Eibar (26/1)
Barcelona 2-0 Levante (2/2) Badajoz 3-1 Eibar (23/1)
Barcelona 5-0 Leganes (30/1) Eibar 2-0 Atletico Madrid (18/1)

Prediction

Ansu Fati,Antoine Griezmann,Lionel Messi,Sergi Roberto

Simply put, Barça should win this game. Even with injuries to some key players, they have more than enough quality to put their opponents to bed.

Eibar are struggling in the league and don’t have the ability to trouble Barcelona, so this should be a relatively straightforward game.

Prediction: Barcelona 4-0 Eibar

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