Sergi Roberto Suffers First Half Knee Injury in Barcelona’s Comfortable Win at Eibar

Barcelona ?midfielder/full-back hybrid Sergi Roberto sustained a first-half knee injury and was forced to watch from the sidelines as his side overcame Basque outfit Eibar by three goals to nil on Saturday afternoon, the club confirming the injury after the match. 

Goals from ?Lionel Messi, ?Luis Suárez and Antoine Griezmann, or MSG as they are occasionally called, meant that Ernesto Valverde saw his first-choice front three all net in the same game for the very first time. 

However it was not smiles all round, as 27-year-old Roberto was forced off at the break after sustaining damage to his left knee, eventually being replaced by fellow right-back Nelson Semedo. 

The severity of the injury is not yet known, neither is the extent of time to which Roberto will spend on the sidelines. However the former Barcelona B man will be eager to put his injury woes behind him after missing ten games in all competitions during the 2018/19 season.

The injury will no doubt cause a headache for Valverde, who already has injuries worries over key defenders such as Samuel Umtiti – who returned against Eibar – and summer signing Junior Firpo (muscle injury). 

However, it is apparent that some ?Barcelona fans are not too disturbed by the news of the injury…

Whereas other fans were quick to relay news from local radio on the injury.

Valverde will be keen to get as many players back from injury as soon as possible with a busy schedule just around the corner, with as many as 13 games before the start of the New Year – possibly including a rearranged Clasico.

Barcelona travel to the Czech Republic on Wednesday to take on Slavia Prague in the Champions League at the Sinobo Stadium.

The Catalan giants then get a break before they host Real Valladolid at the Camp Nou six days later, after the Clasico against ?Real Madrid was postponed due to political unrest in Catalunya following the imprisonment of Catalan separatist leaders.


Napoli President Admits That Kalidou Koulibaly and Fabian Ruiz Will Be Sold ‘Sooner Or Later’

Napoli president Aurelio ?de Laurentiis has conceded that defender Kalidou Koulibaly and midfielder Fabian Ruiz are available, although any club wanting them must meet the club’s high valuations.

Koulibaly and Fabian are key members of a Napoli side that is mounting another push for the Serie A title, but they currently find themselves in fourth place and six points behind leaders Juventus after seven games. 

kalidou koulibaly

Both have been linked with moves away in recent months, with ?Manchester United ?seeing a bid rejected for Koulibaly in the summer before they went on to sign Harry Maguire. Fabian, meanwhile, has attracted interest from the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona after appearing to cement a midfield spot in the Spanish national team.

In regard to the centre-back, ?I Partenopei president De Laurentiis has now revealed that he has resigned himself to the fact that there may come a time when he will be forced to sell Koulibaly. Speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport, ?as relayed by Calciomercato, he claimed: “Last August I refused £105m [from Manchester United] and I am aware that sooner or later we will be forced to sell him.”

De Laurentiis then went on to discuss rumours regarding ?Barcelona and ?Real Madrid‘s interest in signing midfielder Fabian. He continued: “Fabian Ruiz? The player likes it, very much. On the other hand, I would not have spent €30m on an unknown boy. If they offer me €180m, then we can also discuss it.”

Fabian Ruiz

Barça have long shown an interest in the player and, although they remain keen, ?they are prioritising bringing in a striker to be a long-term replacement for Luis Suarez. The price quoted by De Laurentiis would most likely further deter the Spanish giants from making a move before they land a new forward.

The president concluded by revealing that he is an admirer of Fiorentina’s Gaetano Castrovilli and Brescia wonderkid Sandro Tonali, but claimed that he does not believe they will be having a busy January transfer window.

As far as Koulibaly and Fabian are concerned, it appears as though their price tags have been set, but it remains to be seen whether any club will be willing to meet these lofty valuations. 


Eibar 0-3 Barcelona: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Front Three All Fire in Vital Away Win

?Barcelona have extended their unbeaten run to 10 games across all competitions with a 3-0 win on the road at SD Eibar on Saturday.

Antoine Griezmann scored the only goal of the first half after just 15 minutes, breaking the offside trap and capitalising on Pablo de Blasis’ slip before squeezing the ball past goalkeeper Marko Dmitrovi? via the inside of the post.

Luis Suárez found the back of the net shortly after the break but was correctly denied by the offside flag, although the Uruguayan was involved soon after as Lionel Messi doubled Barça’s lead just before the hour mark.

Luis Suarez,Lionel Messi

Suárez eventually did get his name on the scoresheet with a simple finish, but it was a goal that was once again only made possible by Griezmann – the Frenchman’s through ball split Eibar’s defence for Messi to tee up his Uruguayan teammate.

Half-chances came for both sides as the game went on but neither could add to the scoreline, with Barcelona eventually running out comfortable winners after a hard-fought opening hour in the Basque Country.

SD Eibar

Player Ratings

Dmitrovic (8); de Blasis (5), Oliveira (7), Arbilla (6), Cote (7); Orellana (7), Diop (5), Alvarez (6), Leon (6); Enrich (7), Charles (6).

Substitutes: Edu Expósito (6), Inui (6), Kike (6).

FC Barcelona

Key Talking Point

Three points are three points at the end of the day, but any assumptions that Barcelona’s trip to Eibar was a walk in the park couldn’t be further from the truth.

Antoine Griezmann

Barça spent most of their afternoon at the picturesque Municipal de Ipurua on the backfoot, with strikers Charles and Sergi Enrich ensuring that they were a handful throughout, even though very little was created by Eibar’s attacking players.

The majority of the visitors’ most impressive moments came either from counter-attacks or by exploiting Eibar’s high defensive line with long balls – something which saw Griezmann break the deadlock in the first half.

Barcelona’s quality eventually shone through as they extended their unbeaten run to 10 games, but there’s still plenty of work for Ernesto Valverde’s side to do if they want to retain their league title this season.

Player Ratings

Ter Stegen (7); Roberto (6), Umtiti (6), Lenglet (8), Alba (7); de Jong (7), Busquets (7), Arthur (6); Messi (8), Suarez (7), Griezmann (9*).

Substitutes: Semedo (7), Vidal (6), Rakitic (6).

Star Man

Eyebrows were raised when Antoine Griezmann moved to Barcelona from Atletico Madrid, but the World Cup winner once again proved why he was a fantastic investment from the Blaugrana.

Griezmann’s shown his worth thanks to his defensive contributions in recent weeks, but the 28-year-old was also involved in each of Barcelona’s three goals on Saturday – getting a goal, an assists, and providing the crucial pass for Suárez’s effort.

It wasn’t a vintage team performance from Barcelona, but Griezmann stepped up exactly when his side needed him to and showed exactly why the club’s key decision makers shelled out €120m for his signature during the summer.

Looking Ahead

Barcelona break for Champions League duty where they’ll be on the road to Sparta Praha, while next week’s El Clasico has been postponed.

SD Eibar travel to Real Valladolid on October 26.

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October Clásico Between Barcelona & Real Madrid Postponed With Clubs to Decide New Date

?The first hugely anticipated Clásico of the 2019/20 season between Barcelona and Real Madrid has been postponed over fears of potential civil unrest and protests relating to the sentencing of Catalan separatist leaders on the same day could engulf the game.

It had been scheduled to take place at Camp Nou later on 26 October, but rather than switch it to Madrid’s Bernabeu, the encounter is expected to be rescheduled for December. 

FC Barcelona v Inter: Group F - UEFA Champions League

RFEF has confirmed that its competition committee will allow the clubs to discuss and decide the date and time of the new fixture, but will intervene and determine it for them if no agreement has been reached by 10am (CEST) on Monday 21 October.

It had earlier been reported that there were conflicting preferences from the competition committee and La Liga over the potential new date of the game.

According to Marca, SPORT and Mundo Deportivo, La Liga proposed the new date be Saturday 7 December, with a weekend fixture rather than midweek thought to have less of an impact on the global audience for what is by far the league’s biggest draw.

That would require other fixtures that Barça and Real are due to play that weekend, against Mallorca and Espanyol respectively, to also be moved – potentially to three days earlier.

The reported alternative proposed by RFEF’s competition committee is 18 December, which falls on a Wednesday. That is not ideal for La Liga, who as already mentioned, prefer their most marketable fixture of the season to be played on a weekend date.

Real Madrid v FC Barcelona - Copa del Rey Semi Final: Second Leg

La Liga president Javier Tebas has also criticised the 18 December date as it would clash with the Copa del Rey second round fixtures that are being played that day – 16 La Liga teams will be in the competition, although Barça and Real won’t enter until a later round.

It presents the problem of El Clásico overshadowing those other games and potentially hindering the sale of television rights as interest will be diminished.

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Ernesto Valverde Insists He Has ‘No Doubt’ That El Clasico Will Go Ahead as Planned Despite Unrest

?Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has insisted that he has no doubt that the upcoming El Clasico fixture will be played out as scheduled, but conceded that the club must adhere to whatever decision the Spanish Football Federation takes. 

Barcelona are scheduled to take on Real Madrid at Camp Nou on October 26, however, following the recent events that saw the Spanish government jail nine Catalan separatist leaders over a failed declaration of independence for Catalonia, tensions have risen all around Spain with protestors taking to the streets to voice their disgust over the decision. 

As a result of these recent events, Spanish football ?authorities proposed that the upcoming match be played at the Santiago Bernabeu, but this was rejected by both clubs. Instead, the RFEF have found another date for the fixture to be played on – Wednesday 18 December.

While it is looking increasingly likely that the fixture will be rearranged, ?Barça manager Valverde was quick to state that he believes that the game will go ahead as normal. Speaking at a press conference, ?as quoted by Marca, he claimed: “It is scheduled for October 26 and I have no doubt that it will go ahead without problems, respecting the opponents and everyone else involved.

“I do not know what decision the [Spanish Football] Federation will take. We will do whatever is decided.”

Ernesto Valverde

The coach reiterated that the match isn’t due to take place for another nine days, meaning that there is still plenty of time for the situation to sort itself out without drastic measures needing to be taken.

“There are nine days left until the match and there is [currently] too much talk. The same was said about October 1 [the date of the 2017 Catalan referendum] and a week later we played at the Wanda [Metropolitano] where everyone expected a dramatic event and it ended up being a great game where people expressed themselves without a problem. 

“There is room to manoeuvre. If the match were tomorrow then perhaps [it wouldn’t go ahead], but there are still nine days to go.” 

In the press conference, Valverde also provided an update on the fitness of superstar ?Lionel Messi ahead of La Blaugrana’s upcoming clash with Eibar on Saturday. He said: “He is in the process of being 100 percent fit. The other day he played 90 minutes and scored, that always reassures the strikers.” 

Lionel Messi

The Barça boss drew his press conference to a close by opening up on the recent form of his team and has spoken of his admiration for the way the players have bounced back from a slow start. 

“We have had a difficult time and what I like is that we have been able to react. That is the most important thing. In fact, it is what we have been doing in recent years, overcoming slumps.”

It is not yet known whether the clash between Real Madrid and Barcelona will take place on the scheduled date, but Valverde has confirmed that he believes it will.