Barcelona Hesitant to Complete Arthur Deal Over Concerns Regarding the Midfielder’s Stature

?Barcelona are reportedly having second thoughts about completing the signing of Gremio’s Arthur, with concerns surrounding the physical stature of the 21-year-old.

It was believed that ?the attacking midfielder had agreed to join the Catalan side in March, however, according to ?Mundo Deportivo, despite having paid an initial €4m to have the first option to sign him, the club are undecided as to whether they are to pay the subsequent €26m in order to complete the deal.


The issue surrounding the Arthur deal is believed to be regarding his height. Standing at 5’6″, officials at the club would prefer to sign a tall, physical midfielder, similar to the likes of Ivan Rakitic and Paulinho in recent seasons. 

Ernesto Valverde’s side have until 15th July to make up their mind regarding Arthur, although the Spanish publication believe the club have other midfield targets they can pursue.

Ajax pair Frenkie de Jong and Donny van de Beek are two names that have been linked with Barcelona, as the likes of ?Andres Iniesta and ?Andre Gomes are expected to leave the Nou Camp at the end of the season.

The hesitancy surrounding Arthur’s move suggests that La Liga giants are at a crossroads regarding the direction they wish to take, whether they continue to promote technically gifted midfielders similar to the likes of Xavi and Iniesta, or head towards a more hard-working, industrious midfield. 


Arthur came to prominence after he enjoyed a promising breakthrough season in 2017, helping Gremio secure their first Copa Libertadores title since 1995, although his expected move to Spain now appears to be hanging in the balance. 


Dani Alves Takes to Instagram to Play Down Recent Comments Regarding Possible Barcelona Return

?Paris Saint-Germain and Brazil right back Dani Alves has taken to his official Instagram account to backtrack on previous comments regarding a possible return to Barcelona.

The 34-year-old had recently given an interview stating, among other things, that ?the Catalan club “is my home”, with many believing that he could be making a return to the Nou Camp following his departure for Juventus in 2016.

Alves however, who is contracted at the Parisian club until the end of the 2018/19 season, has played down the comments he made with a post on Instagram. 

The caption accompanying the image, as quoted by ?ESPN, read: “Me going back to Barcelona?Calm down, my friends! 

“I know that you miss me, and that life without ‘Good Crazy’ is difficult, and that AS, Marca, and Central Lechera also miss me. However, even if our history was very beautiful and very long, speaking in football terms, it is already over.

“When I said that Barca is my home, that Barca is in my heart and that I would return tomorrow, it was just a declaration of the love that I feel towards this club. This chapter is already in the past. I am happy where I am, and I have a great challenge here with people who believe in the ability to change things. Just to remember, visca Barca!”

Juventus v FC Barcelona  - UEFA Champions League Final

Since his move to the French capital prior to the beginning of this season, the attack-minded full back has already added a Ligue 1 title, Trophee des Champions and Coupe de la Ligue to his plethora of trophies which includes six La Liga titles and three Champions League triumphs among a host of other awards.

The Brazilian however still has a chance to win once more piece of silverware for the French side before the end of the season, when they face Les Herbiers in the Coupe de France final in May.


Alves will be hoping for a strong end to the season as he looks to make Tite’s 23 man squad for Brazil in what could be his third World Cup in Russia this summer. 


Local Heroes: 14 Home Grown Players Who Led Their Clubs as Captain

Barcelona have a tradition of home grown captains, with current skipper Andres Iniesta the third consecutive club captain at Camp Nou to have come through the youth ranks.

It extends back to 2004 and will likely continue following Iniesta’s expected departure this summer, with Lionel Messi next in line to keep it going.

Home grown captains make football special and help to retain an element of identity in an ever more globalised game.

Here’s a look at 14 home grown captains from around Europe in recent memory…

14. Fernando Torres (Atletico Madrid)

Fernando Torres was only a teenager when he was named Atletico Madrid captain during his first spell with the club 15 years ago, having risen through the ranks to become a local talisman upon the club’s return to La Liga from a spell in the second tier.

The striker would eventually leave Atletico in 2007 for a rollercoaster of a career with Liverpool, Chelsea and AC Milan. He then returned to Madrid in 2014, initially on loan, although he hasn’t been been reinstated as skipper.  

13. Mark Noble (West Ham)

A 17-year-old Mark Noble helped West Ham earn promotion from the Championship back to the Premier League in 2004/05 after breaking into the first team during the campaign. And by 2007, the young east Londoner had established himself as a regular.

Upon taking over the role from Kevin Nolan, Noble had the honour of captaining the Hammers in their final season at Upton Park and has now worn the armband for three seasons. Still only 30 years of age, he will likely surpass 450 West Ham appearances next season.  

12. Gabi (Atletico Madrid)

Madrid-born Gabi rose through the Atletico youth ranks and made his senior debut for the club at the age of 20 in 2004. But after just a couple of seasons, the combative midfielder actually left his boyhood team to join Real Zaragoza instead.

After four seasons away, Gabi returned in the summer of 2011 and was soon made captain. He lifted the Europa League trophy at the end of his first year back and later got his hands on the Copa del Rey, La Liga, the UEFA Super Cup and Spanish Super Cup.  

11. Tony Adams (Arsenal)

Originally hailing from Romford in east London, Tony Adams joined Arsenal as a schoolboy at the age of 14 in 1980 and had made his debut for the first team by the age of 17. Remarkably, he was made club captain at the age of just 21 in 1988.

In 14 long years as Gunners skipper, the defender won four league titles, three FA Cups and the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, before retiring in 2002. Impressively, he captained league title winning sides in three separate decades: the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s.  

10. Andres Iniesta (Barcelona)

After serving as one of Barcelona’s numerous understudy captains from as early as 2008, Andres Iniesta finally took over the armband in 2015. Immediately, his reign continued the club’s success as the season finished with La Liga glory.

This season, Iniesta has lifted the Copa del Rey and looks set to add another La Liga title to his collection. However, despite recently signing a new ‘contract for life’, it looks likely to be his last at Camp Nou as a potential move to China beckons.

9. Gary Neville (Man Utd)

Gary Neville was named Manchester United’s new club captain in 2006 shortly after Roy Keane’s sudden exit from the club towards the end of the previous year. Unfortunately for the determined defender, much of his time in the role was spent injured.

Having played close to 500 games for United prior to 2006, Neville managed barely more than 100 in his five years as skipper as a result of injury and age. He was ruled out of most of the club’s successful 2007/08 campaign, but played a meaningful role in 2008/09 and 2009/10.  

8. Xavi (Barcelona)

Xavi was Barcelona captain for just a single season in 2014/15 before he left the club to wind down his career in Qatar, but it was an incredible campaign that resulted in Bara completing the second historic treble in their history.

He only started half of the games in La Liga that season and was a substitute in both the Copa del Rey and Champions League finals, but it was the perfect way to bring down the curtain on an incredible career with his boyhood club.  

7. Steven Gerrard (Liverpool)

Steven Gerrard spent 12 long years as Liverpool captain from succeeding Sami Hyypia in the role at the age of 23 to leaving his boyhood club in the summer of 2015 to spend his final 18 months as a professional with LA Galaxy in Major League Soccer.

Gerrard steered Liverpool towards their greatest modern triumph in 2005 when his inspirational performance was central to winning the Champions League. His incredible late goal in the FA Cup final a year later also pushed the Reds to victory.  

6. John Terry (Chelsea)

Having been courted by Manchester United as a youngster, John Terry joined Chelsea at the age of 15 and was eventually captaining his club by the time he was 23, taking over from retiring World Cup winning veteran as Stamford Bridge skipper.

Terry’s first season wearing the armband coincided with Jose Mourinho’s arrival as manager and he lifted the first of four Premier League titles. He also lifted the Champions League in 2012, even though he was suspended for the final, and several domestic cups.  

5. Iker Casillas (Real Madrid)

Goalkeeper Iker Casillas inherited the captain’s armband at Real Madrid in 2010, having already been a first team regular for 11 seasons at that point, and a heavily decorated one at that. He had first joined Los Blancos in 1990 at the age of nine.

Casillas was the Real captain who finally picked up the elusive Decima in the Champions League in 2014, while also lifting the 2011/12 La Liga title and the 2014 FIFA Club World Cup during his five-year reign as skipper.  

4. Raul (Real Madrid)

Raul was initially a youth prospect at Atletico Madrid, but city rivals Real were able to poach the 15-year-old in the early 1990s when controversial Atleti president Jesus Gil opted to close down the academy. Real promptly put the finishing touches on Raul and he debuted in 1994.

His captaincy coincided with the emergence of the Galacticos era, but Raul ensured the club at least retained a home grown element among the marquee signings. In all, he lifted two La Liga titles as Real skipper, as well as a Spanish Super Cup.  

3. Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich)

Philipp Lahm’s first real taste of senior football came during a two-year loan spell at Stuttgart early in his career, but the Munich-born defender was Bayern through and through and would go on to enjoy incredible levels of success with his boyhood club.

Having initially joined the club as a 12-year-old, Lahm became Bayern captain partway through the 2010/11 season and finished that campaign with his first Bundesliga title as captain. He was later skipper for the 2012/13 treble season, eventually retiring at the top in 2017.  

2. Carles Puyol (Barcelona)

A true one-club man, Carles Puyol was made Barcelona captain in the summer of 2004 when Luis Enrique retired and saw great success as the club transitioned from one era to the next, winning back-to-back La Liga titles and the Champions League with an international squad.

Puyol remained a crucial piece of the jigsaw under the management of Pep Guardiola as a senior member of a team filled with fellow La Masia graduates. He was skipper as the club won its first treble in 2008/09, adding a further Champions League title in 2010/11.  

1. Paolo Maldini (AC Milan)

AC Milan is in Paolo Maldini’s blood. His father, Cesare, was a former European Cup winning captain with the club, and a 10-year-old Paolo first joined I Rossoneri junior ranks at the age of 10 in 1978, before himself becoming captain in 1997 after already 12 years in the first team.

Maldini’s first honour as Milan captain was the 1998/99 Serie A title, followed by two further domestic triumphs, a Coppa Italia and Champions League glory in 2002/03 and 2006/07. He eventually hung up his boots in 2009 after more than 900 games, over 400 as captain.  


Change of Agent Boosts Tottenham Hopes of Landing Outcast Barcelona Midfielder

?Tottenham have reportedly jumped to the front of the queue to sign Barcelona midfielder Andre Gomes, as a result of the player changing agents. 

The Portugal international was previously represented by Jorge Mendes, but has recently changed, and is now represented by Paul Martin, whose clients include Ross Barkley and John Stones. According to Italian outlet CalcioMercato, the change of representation means that Tottenham could now be in pole position to land the Euro 2016 winner.

Both Juventus and AC Milan have been monitoring Gomes for some time, while Liverpool have also been mentioned as a possible destination. The former Valencia player’s previous agent was reportedly close with both Italian clubs, with initial talks over the player said to have taken place.

However, Spurs have also been showing interest in the 24-year-old for some time, and the change of agent may work in their advantage, with initial talks between the Italian clubs and the player’s previous mentors now not relevant. 

The midfielder has found game time hard to come by at ?Barcelona, having only made six La Liga starts this season. 

??He admitted last month that he was unhappy at the club, especially because of criticism that he has been receiving from both the club’s fans and the outside media.  

Portugal v Mexico: Group A - FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017

A move away from the Nou Camp in the summer may be seen as the best option for both the player and the club. 

Gomes has been on the Barcelona books since a move from La Liga rivals Valencia in the summer of 2016, for a fee believed to be around £29.3m, but has reportedly been on the look out to move on for some time. 


?Tottenham will now be keeping a close eye on Gomes’ situation over the next few weeks.


REVEALED: Lionel Messi Will Out Earn Cristiano Ronaldo by €32m This Season

?Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi is by far the highest paid player in the world this season and will finish the campaign having earned in excess of €30m more than rival Cristiano Ronaldo.

Messi signed a new contract with Barça in November that is thought to be a major factor behind propelling him ahead of Real Madrid’s Ronaldo.


Neymar was also thought to be ahead of Ronaldo in terms of basic wages following his summer move to PSG, but the Brazilian remains behind the Portuguese overall as France Football’s list also takes into account all bonuses and sponsorship income.

Messi’s overall income this season will total an estimated €126m, ahead of Ronaldo on €94m, and Neymar on €81.5m. The trio, who were Ballon d’Or finalists together in 2015 and 2017, are way ahead of the rest of the world’s best paid players this season.

Ronaldo’s Real teammate Gareth Bale is fourth on the list with earnings of €44m, while Barcelona defender Gerard Pique is next on €29m, almost €100m less than Messi.

Real Madrid v Deportivo La Coruna - La Liga

La Liga players dominate the top 10, with LA Galaxy’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic the only player other than Neymar not at a Spanish club. The Swede famously took a massive pay cut to join the Californian franchise, but his other incomes have been booming this season.

Others playing in England, China and Germany feature in the top 20:

Player? Club? 2017/18 Earnings (€)
?Lionel Messi ?Barcelona (ESP) €126m?
Cristiano Ronaldo? Real Madrid (ESP)? €94m?
Neymar? Paris Saint-Germain (FRA)? ?€81.5m
?Gareth Bale ?Real Madrid (ESP) €44m?
?Gerard Pique ?Barcelona (ESP) €29m?
?Toni Kroos ?Real Madrid (ESP) ?€28m
?Sergio Ramos ?Real Madrid (ESP) €27.5m?
Zlatan Ibrahimovic? LA Galaxy (USA)? €27m?
?Antoine Griezmann ?Atletcio Madrid (ESP) ?€26m
?Luis Suarez ?Barcelona (ESP) ?€26m
?Andres Iniesta ?Barcelona (ESP) ?€25.5m
?Ezequiel Lavezzi Hebei China Fortun?e (CHN) €25m?
Alexis Sanchez? ?Manchester United (ENG) ?€23.5m
?Karim Benzema ?Real Madrid (ESP) ?€23.5m
?Thomas Muller ?Bayern Munich (GER) ?€23m
?Edinson Cavani ?Paris Saint-Germain (FRA) €22.5m?
Oscar? Shanghai SIPG (CHN)? €22m?
Robert Lewandowski? Bayern Munich (GER)? €22m?
?Paul Pogba ?Manchester United (ENG) ?€22m
Manuel Neuer? Bayern Munich (GER)? €21m?


??Messi is the first footballer to earn more than €100m in a single season.