Marc-Andre Ter Stegen Refuses to Deny Rumours He Nearly Joined Manchester City

?Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen refused to deny claims that he was close to joining Manchester City instead of former rival Claudio Bravo in 2016.

A new book about Pep Guardiola’s time at Manchester City, written by journalists Lu Martin and Pol Ballus, claims that Ter Stegen came very close to leaving Barcelona, so much so that his wife had already begun the process of switching to Manchester University.

FBL-CONFED-CUP-MATCH16-CHI-GER

At the time, ?Ter Stegen was Barcelona’s Champions League goalkeeper but ?Bravo was playing all the La Liga matches. The German admits that he had a decision to make but his wife’s studies factored into his decision to stay at the Nou Camp.

“This is the past already,” Ter Stegen told ?ESPN. “What we need to do is look forward. But, of course, after the second season, there was a time when we had to decide and, of course, it’s not just about me as a person, not as a football player. It’s also about family, it’s about my wife, and my wife is studying here in Barcelona.”

While Bravo joined City and failed to impress, Ter Stegen became ?Barcelona’s first choice in all competitions and is now regarded as one of the world’s best. He made his 150th Barca appearance in the draw against Athletic Bilbao on Saturday.

FC Barcelona v Girona FC - La Liga

“You want to play, this is what it is about, this is what matters,” Ter Stegen said. “I don’t think anybody would have been happy with the situation but I kept fighting and there came a situation when the club had to decide. 

“It was a hard situation at that time, but I am happy that everything worked out well and that we’re in this situation, celebrating 150 games.”

Ter Stegen’s Barcelona face Tottenham at Wembley on Wednesday, looking to end a three-match winless run.

Let’

Adrien Rabiot Puts European Clubs on Alert After Rejecting New €138,000 PSG Contract

Liverpool are among the clubs which have likely been encouraged in pursuit of Adrien Rabiot, with reports from France claiming that the midfielder has rejected a new offer to extend his contract at Paris Saint-Germain.

According to source Paris United, this is the third time the player has rejected such an offer from the French giants. PSG’s latest offer – said to be €7.2m-a-year (€138,000 per week) plus bonuses – was turned down by the France international last week.

FBL-FRA-LIGUE1-NICE-PSG

It has also been reported that the player shares a very poor relationship with the club’s sporting director Antero Henrique but the player has always indicated that he wants his future to be one where he is still employed by PSG.

Last month, ESPN reported that the player and his representatives had been contacted over a possible future transfer to Anfield.

As of January 1, Rabiot will be free to engage in negotiations with other clubs unless the Ligue 1 outfit can convince him to sign a new deal before the turn of the year.

Liverpool would do well to bring in a player of Rabiot’s quality next season, especially as it would cost them nothing. However, Barcelona are also thought to have a huge interest in signing the central midfielder and he could be tempted to move to Spain instead of England, given Barca’s status among the world’s elite clubs.

Rabiot has made 217 appearances for the Parc des Princes side and has represented France on six occasions.

He was omitted from Didier Deschamps’ World Cup squad earlier this year and reacted quite angrily, refusing to be named as part of a reserve list.

Let’

Picking the Best Potential Barcelona Lineup to Face Tottenham in the Champions League on Wednesday

Barcelona visit London in the second game of their UEFA Champions League campaign on Wednesday, as they face Tottenham at Wembley on Wednesday.

While still sitting atop both the group within the European tournament and their domestic league, Barca have recently sustained some blows in the form of a shocking defeat to Leganes and an inadequate draw with Athletic Bilbao.

However, Barca have an opportunity to banish their demons and build on the victory against PSV Eindhoven in their first match of the competition. 

Here is how they could look on Wednesday.

3. Goalkeeper & Defenders

Marc-Andre ter Stegen (GK)-  While the German may not be as extremely talented as some of his teammates, he is a constantly reliable feature within the squad and should feature here.

Nelson Semedo (RB)- The young Portuguese talent is highly rated and while he’s prone to a mistake or two on occasion, he is more than capable of improving with some experience.

Clément Lenglet (CB) – Lenglet will fill the void lefty Samuel Umtiti, who is suspended following his red card against PSV.

Gerard Pique (CB) – He has been a source of stability for the Catalans for years now, but he has been part of a leaky Barca defence in recent seasons.

Jordi Alba (LB) – Alba is one of the best attacking full backs in the world and could cause Spurs a load of trouble if he bombs on effectively.

2. Midfielders

Ivan Rakitic  (RM) – Rakitic could be shifted out wide, with reports in Spain suggesting Barca may revert to a 4-4-2.

Sergio Busquets (CM) – Barcelona’s central figure in midfield, Busquets could have a field day if he’s pitted up against Victor Wanyama and Harry Winks, which currently looks likely.

Arturo Vidal (CM) – The Chilean maestro was a spectacular addition to the ranks at the Camp Nou following his transfer from Bayern in the summer. He has impressed so far but still hasn’t shown the full extents of his masterful ability.

Philippe Coutinho (LM) – The Brazilian has terrorised Tottenham before playing Liverpool, so don’t be surprised if he scores a spectacular goal on Wednesday.

1. Forwards

Lionel Messi (ST) – With Barcelona currently in something of a rut in form, Wednesday’s fixture could come down to Messi’s contribution, with the Argentine showing his importance at the weekend in setting up Munir’s equaliser against Athletic Bilbao.

Luis Suarez (ST) – Suarez’s recent form hasn’t been as good as that of the monumental 2015/16 season, but he can turn the narrative of a game on a dime and will be looking to produce some more magic against Spurs.

Let’

Tottenham vs Barcelona Preview: Recent Form, Key Battle, Team News and More

?Tottenham host Barcelona in the Champions League on Wednesday at Wembley Stadium and it promises to be a highly anticipated and exciting affair.

Spurs will be seeking a better performance from their previous European tie, a bitter 2-1 loss to Inter at San Siro.

Barcelona, on the other hand, began their continental campaign with gusto and flair in the 4-0 victory over PSV Eindhoven. They will be equally eager to continue that European momentum in London and will be expected to deliver the goods by the Camp Nou faithful.

FC Barcelona v PSV - UEFA Champions League


Recent Form

After successful but relatively uninspiring results domestically against Watford and Huddersfield, the hosts will be hoping to deliver a performance similar to their impressive displays against Real Madrid last year.

Barcelona will have to be wary when approaching the game after some undesirable recent results, following an embarrassing loss and a draw in La Liga against Leganes and Athletic Bilbao. 

The match could potentially be the most enthralling fixture of the week, in a battle between the first placed team in Spain and the fourth in England.


Key Battle

Danny Rose vs Lionel Messi

The Tottenham left back is arguably in his best form in almost two years after two consecutively brilliant performances. 

The healthy competition between him and ?Ben Davies will hopefully fuel his desire to maintain that form against the most ominous and intrusive threat he could possibly encounter.

FC Barcelona v Athletic Club - La Liga

Lionel Messi is widely regarded as one of the best players in the history of football. After the disappointments of the past few weeks, he will be desperate to lead his side to some better results.

Tottenham have been defensively suspect during the opening few months of the season and Messi will be looking to exploit that in a game where his contribution will likely prove pivotal.


Team News

?Dele Alli is a confirmed absentee for the game, with ?Jan Vertonghen joining the England international on the touchlines. ?Mousa Dembele is also a doubt.

Christian Eriksen is set to return from the stomach problem that kept him out of the Huddersfield game, while Hugo Lloris has returned to training and is available for selection.

FC Internazionale v Tottenham Hotspur - UEFA Champions League Group B

Samuel Umtiti is suspended so Clement Lenglet will start alongside Gerard Pique, with Nelson Semedo covering for the injured ?Sergi Roberto.

Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets will come into the side after starting the Athletic Bilbao game on the bench.


Possible Starting Lineups

Tottenham (3-4-3): Lloris; ??Alderweireld, ?Sanchez, Dier?; ?Trippier, ?Wanyama, Winks, Rose; Lamela, ?Son; ?Kane.

Barcelona (4-4-2): ?Ter Stegen; ?Sem?edo, Lenglet, ?Pique, Alba; ?Rakitic, Busquets, Vidal, Coutinho; ?Messi, ?Suarez.


Prediction

FC Barcelona v Athletic de Bilbao - La Liga Santander

Both sides will be aspiring to go into this game with ferocity and intensity, which would almost certainly play into Barcelona’s hands if not for their recent form.

?Tottenha?m have not been flashy in recent weeks but have importantly picked up wins, while ?Barca have struggled.

While both sides will be eager to get the win on Wednesday night, a draw could be on the cards.

Predicted Scoreline: Tottenham 2-2 Barcelona

Let’

Barcelona President Expects Lionel Messi to Finish His Career as a ‘One-Club Man’

?Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu expects Lionel Messi to stay at the Nou Camp for the rest of his career and retire as a one-club man.

Messi made his senior debut in professional football for Barcelona in 2004 and has made 646 appearances for La Blaugrana since then, scoring 560 goals.

His current contract expires in 2021 but Bartomeu expects him to stay long beyond that date.

“I think we will have him longer than that,” he claimed in an interview with ?the Times. “He doesn’t want to leave. We always tell him he can be a one-club man. That is his project too. 

“Our project is not to sell our best players but, on the contrary, to bring new players with talent, to be more successful, more global, to bring more happiness to our fans. This is what we are doing.”

Bartomeu also said that he would welcome Pep Guardiola back to the club. The Spaniard won seven major trophies in four seasons as Barca manager between 2008 and 2012.

Guardiola is the manager of ?Manchester City now but he has mentioned that he would like to return to ?Barcelona one day in a role with La Masia.

Manchester City v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier League

“He knows the door is always open for him. Even when he told us he wanted to leave in 2012, we suggested to him he could take care of La Masia,” said Bartomeu.

“He preferred [a clean break]. Nobody told him to leave Barcelona. He could come back in future. He knows this. Why not?”

Barcelona, now managed by Ernesto Valverde, face Tottenham at Wembley in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Let’