Liverpool are set to go head-to-head with French giants Paris Saint-Germain for the signature of Barcelona academy player Juan Miranda.
The Spanish left-back recently impressed in the Under-17 World Cup where ?Spain were beaten 5-2 in the final by England, and this has sparked interest in the youngster’s signature.
It has previously been reported that Liverpool had held meetings regarding Miranda and his Abel Ruiz, team-mate at La Masia. The Merseyside club were hoping to tempt the two away from Barcelona before other club’s became interested.
However, Mundo Deportivo report that European big spenders Paris Saint-Germain are also interested in Miranda. The 18-year-old will want to be at a club where he will have the best chance of developing and his current club Barcelona have a good track record for nurturing young talent.
A move may tempt the full-back if he is assured of some first team opportunities elsewhere, and it will be interesting to see if Barcelona are able to keep hold of one of their most promising young players.
?Former Barcelona and England striker Gary Lineker has revealed he still follows all of Barcelona’s games and believes their current forward Lionel Messi is the greatest player of all time.
Lineker played for the Blaugrana between 1986 and 1989, scoring 52 goals in 137 appearances. While at the club, he won the Copa del Rey in 1988, as well as the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1989.
The BBC Match of the Day presenter has revealed his big admiration for Barcelona, and in particular Lionel Messi, who Lineker believes is the greatest of all time.
Speaking in an interview to Lobo Carrasco with Mundo Deportivo via ?Marca, the 57-year-old said: “I love Barcelona. I see all of their games; I am a fan of Barcelona and my four children are too.
“Barcelona have been the best since Ronaldinho, Xavi, [Andres] Iniesta and, above all, Messi. Messi is from another world. He does four or five things in a game that I have never done in my career. He does amazing things, he’s the best of all time.
“I never thought that I’d see someone better than [Diego] Maradona; they say that Maradona won a World Cup and Messi hasn’t, but Leo has four Champions League titles and Maradona has none.
“Barcelona play with 13 players because they have Messi.”
When asked how Messi would have impacted Spain if he had played for them instead of Argentina, Lineker believes they would have won more titles.
He continued: “I have always thought that if Leo had been nationalised for Spain before making his debut with Argentina, Spain would have won even more: three World Cup titles and three European Championships.”
The Liga de Futbol Prodesional (LFP) and Espanyol have condemned recent insults directed towards Gerard Pique and his family in the recent meetings between Barcelona and Espanyol, with a complaint being sent to the Spanish FA, as reported by Marca.
Pique has been public enemy number one when it comes to the Catalan derby in recent years, with the defender a common subject for insults from the crowd.
The player was particularly incensed in 2016 clash after a large banner was displayed disrespecting Pique’s long term partner Shakira.
Espanyol claim this issue of the banner was taken very seriously and banned those responsible, but insults were again directed to Pique during Sunday’s clash.
In relation to the 2016 incident, the club said: ”We deeply regret and do not share the expressions of those fans, both in terms of chants and banners. We didn’t know they existed, we felt cheated.
”The banners did not enter the stadium, they were made inside and we read them as they were leaving.”
However, after scoring a late equaliser in the 1-1 draw, Pique – ?who had also recently provoked the Espanyol faithful with his now infamous ‘Cornella’ comments – celebrated by raising his finger to his lips in a sign of silence causing further backlash.
The LFP has now sent a complaint to the committee of the Spanish FA and the Anti Violence Commission for the events surrounding Pique in the Catalan derby and with insults about Shakira as well as the player himself reportedly flying from the home fans, questions were posed as to whether these were the same section of supporters who displayed the banner two years prior.
While many saw Pique’s ‘shush’ celebration as deliberately provocative, Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu was quick to defend the centre-back’s actions.
He said in an interview with ?Mundo Deportivo: ”
?Andres Iniesta is unquestionably one of football’s greatest-ever midfielders, making the game look simple as anything down the years.
The Spanish maestro has been at the heartbeat of many an incredible Barcelona side, and is credited as being an individual who makes the game look easy with his enviable intelligence.
The 33-year-old is nearing the end of his career now but continues to dominate games by dictating the course of play and allowing those in front of him to shine.
It should come as no surprise that Iniesta is an intelligent guy, with Spanish golfer Pablo Larrazabal revealing it was a trait evident when he was in school.
Larrazabal went to school with Iniesta and told a rather amusing anecdote about the star. He said, as quoted by Marca: “He [Iniesta] has always been the smart one. I can remember during an exam I would ask Andres what the answers were. He simply said I should have studied.”
Iniesta, sitting beside Larrazabal as he spoke, had a different version of events. He laughed: “I don’t believe this. We can’t say this. I was sure that I let you copy me!”
Iniesta has made 17 La Liga appearances so far this season for Barcelona, which is decent going for an individual of his age and injury record of late.
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The Blaugrana will be hoping he can continue to perform well in the middle of midfield as the club close in on stealing the title back from Real Madrid – they currently lead the way, nine points ahead of Atletico Madrid and a staggering 19 in front of Real.
Former Barcelona manager Luis Enrique is believed to be ‘one step away’ from the Chelsea job, with Antonio Conte’s future on the line.
The Italian, who has been under pressure at Stamford Bridge for most of the season, saw things take a shocking turn as his Blues slumped to a 4-1 defeat
Enrique, who stepped down from his post at Barcelona, is thought to be on the brink of taking over affairs at the helm of the London side, and according to Spanish source Sport
Conte, though, is apparently not worried about losing his job.
“No, I’m not worried. I’m not worried about my job,” he said following Monday’s capitulation. “I work every day, and I give 120 per cent. Okay? If this is enough, it’s okay.
“Otherwise, the club can take a different decision. But I’m not worried. Tomorrow is another day. I can be the Chelsea coach or not. Which is the problem? My soul is clear.
“I go to sleep without a problem that maybe, maybe, I could do this or that. I try to do everything. If it’s not good, the club can make a different decision. Life goes on.”
Enrique, meanwhile, drew up a remarkable record at Barcelona, incredibly winning nine trophies in his three seasons as coach, including two league titles and the Champions League.