Luciano Spalletti Claims Barcelona & Real Madrid Must Pay ‘Tip’ on Tottenham Target’s Asking Price

?Inter manager Luciano Spalletti claims that Milan Skriniar is worth 100m (£87m) to most clubs – but Barcelona and Real Madrid must pay a ‘tip’ if they want to sign him.

Skriniar and his teammates survived a Barcelona onslaught to secure a 1-1 draw in their Champions League tie on Tuesday night, putting them on the verge of the knockout stages.


The team that ?Inter are set to eliminate, ?Tottenham, are known to be interested in Skriniar, with ?Manchester United also keeping tabs on the Slovakian centre back according to ?TalkSPORT.

Spalletti claims that any team who wants to sign Skriniar must break the bank to do so – and, in the case of ?Barcelona and ?Real Madrid, they must pay even more.

“How much is Skriniar worth? €100m,” Spalletti told reporters in Italy after Tuesday’s game at the San Siro.

“If I were Barca, I’d offer €120m [£104.5m] and I’d say, ‘€20m is tip’. If I were Real Madrid, I’d offer €140m [£122m], of which €40m is tip.”

Any of these fees would break the world transfer record for a defender, which is currently held by Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk. The Reds paid Southampton 84.5m (£75m) for the Dutchman in January 2018.

Skriniar, who joined Inter from Sampdoria for 20m (£17m) in 2017, played every minute of Serie A football last season, scoring four goals as Inter returned to the Champions League for the first time since 2011/12.

He has played nine of Inter’s 11 league matches at the start of this season and they have the best defensive record in the league, with just six goals conceded so far.


8 of the Greatest Escapes in UEFA Champions League History

Tottenham face an unenviable battle to qualify for the Champions League knockout stages through Group B.

Tuesday night’s 2-1 win over PSG was the north London side’s first win in this season’s group phase after four games. A slow start has left Mauricio Pochettino’s side three points behind second placed Inter and six adrift of group leaders Barcelona.

Spurs face each of the two sides who currently lead them in their remaining two matches of the group phase, knowing that qualification is still possible, but at the same time extremely difficult.

Tottenham need to beat Inter in their next game and then match Inter’s result in the final group game, which happens to be in Catalonia. 

Numerous sides of the past have come back from the dead to progress in the most unlikely circumstances in Europe. Here’s eight teams who overcame the odds to make a great escape in Europe’s elite competition…

8. Arsenal (Group Stage, 2003/04)

Arsenal began their Champions League group stage in the 2003/04 campaign with great difficulty. Arsene Wenger’s side lost 3-0 at home to Inter on matchday one. Two tough away games saw the Gunners held 0-0 at Lokomotiv Moscow and beaten 2-1 by Dynamo Kyiv.

Things looked bleak for Spurs’ north London rivals, with Arsenal bottom of the group and appearing dead and buried, before a winning streak saw the Gunners claim three points in each of their remaining three matches.

A 5-1 win over Inter at the San Siro was the pick of the bunch as a resurgent Arsenal side fought back to claim an unlikely place in the the Champions League knockout stages.

7. Liverpool (Group Stage, 2004/05)

Liverpool’s hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages in the 2004/05 season appeared to be a tall order to say the least, with the Reds requiring a win by two clear goals on the final matchday of their group campaign.

Rafa Benitez’s side took on Greek side Olympiacos in the showdown encounter, having lost 1-0 to Monaco in their previous European outing to make Liverpool’s situation all the more difficult.

However, the Reds were in no mood to lie down and accept their likely fate at Anfield, as Florent Sinama-Pongolle cancelled out a first half Rivaldo strike for Olympiacos, before Neil Mellor struck to give the home side the lead.

Liverpool were still in need of one more to secure the required margin, and up stepped captain Steven Gerrard to duly oblige in some style, hammering in a long-range wonder goal to send Anfield into raptures.

6. Deportivo La Coruna (Quarter Finals, 2003/04)

Having been comprehensively beaten 4-1 at the San Siro in the first leg, Deportivo were on course for a widely expected defeat to AC Milan in the quarter finals of the 2003/04 campaign.

Few besides the Deportivo coach Javier Irureta held out much hope – if any – for a second leg comeback from the Spanish side, but the Spanish outfit stepped up to upset the odds in devastating fashion.

A stunning second leg comeback saw Deportivo overturn Milan’s commanding first leg lead in the most unlikely of fight backs, as strikes from Walter Pandiani, Juan Carlos Valeron and Alberto Luque fired the hosts into a shock 3-0 lead at half time.

One more goal was still required for the Spaniards to complete the comeback on aggregate, and substitute Fran Gonzalez entered the fray to complete the turnaround.

5. Barcelona (Quarter Finals, 1999/2000)

Chelsea appeared well on course for a dream triumph over Barcelona in the last eight of the competition during the 1999/2000 campaign, after the Blues secured an impressive 3-1 first leg advantage over the Catalan giants.

However, the Catalan side flexed their muscles at Camp Nou in the second leg, as Barca produced a thumping comeback display to thrash the Blues 5-1.  

Brazil icon Rivaldo hauled Barcelona back into contention with a first half opener before Luis Figo drew the sides level at 3-3 on aggregate with Barca’s second in the game. However, Tore Andre Flo hit a timely reply on the hour mark to return Chelsea on course for the semi finals.

Barcelona continued the fightback there after, as Dani drew the sides level once more. A missed penalty from Rivaldo threatened to turn the tide once more, sending the tie into extra time. The Brazilian converted from the spot at the second time of asking, though, before Patrick Kluivert settled the tie with a decisive strike to seal a 6-4 aggregate win for Barcelona.

4. Newcastle United (Group Stage, 2002/03)

Newcastle United endured a dismal start to their group stage campaign in the 2002/03 season, losing all of their first three matches in the group – a run which no side had previously recovered from to progress in the competition.

The Magpies were in the mood to make history, however, as Newcastle secured a highly unexpected win at home to Juventus in their fourth outing in the group. A second successive win at St. James’ Park in the competition against Dynamo Kyiv steered Sir Bobby Robson’s side back on course for what had previously seemed unlikely qualification with a 2-1 win.

It all came down to the final match of the group phase to decide the Toon’s fate in the Champions League, as Newcastle travelled to face Feyenoord away, requiring a win whilst needing Kyiv to fail to beat Juventus.

Juventus kept their end of the bargain, overcoming Kyiv 2-1, though Newcastle were struggling to capitalise after surrendering a two goal lead in Rotterdam. However, Craig Bellamy stepped up to restore Newcastle’s lead in injury time to send the Magpies through to the knockout stages in dramatic and unprecedented fashion.

3. Bayern Munich (Group Stage, 2009/10)

Bayern Munich began their group stage campaign in uncharacteristically difficult fashion during the 2009/10 campaign, with just four points obtained from the Bavarians’ first four games in the group phase.

The Bundesliga giants had lost home and away to French side Bordeaux, leaving Bayern in third and trailing the Ligue 1 side and Juventus as the top two in the group, with four points between them and the qualification places with just two games remaining.

A narrow 1-0 win over bottom side Maccabi Haifa kept Bayern’s hopes of progress to the knockout stages alive, as Juventus also helped the Bavarians by failing to secure a win over Bordeaux which would have sent Bayern crashing out.

In the all-important final encounter of the group phase, Bayern faced Juventus in Turin knowing  that only a win would do. David Trezeguet fired the Italians ahead before a remarkable fightback from the visitors, lead by a goal from goalkeeper Hans-Jorg Butt, guided Bayern to a 4-1 win to secure their unlikely comeback win and progress to the knockout stages.

2. Roma (Quarter Finals, 2017/18)

Barcelona looked to be conducting business as usual in the Champions League when they strolled to a 4-1 win over Roma at the Camp Nou in the first leg of their 2017/18 quarter final clash with the Italians.

However, the stage was set at the Stadio Olimpico for a second leg fightback from the Serie A giants which few could have anticipated being on the cards. Prolific marksman Edin Dzeko set up the grandstand with the opener just six minutes into a pulsating encounter.

Daniele De Rossi blew the tie wide open as the Roma icon converted a penalty to put Barcelona well and truly on the back foot, before a stunning late header from Kostas Manolas sent Barca crashing out.

1. Barcelona (Round of 16, 2016/17)

Barcelona were on the right end of what is perhaps the most spectacular comeback win in recent Champions League memory, as they overcame a first leg drubbing to stun Ligue 1 giants PSG.

The Parisians looked to be finally delivering on their plans to conquer Europe as Unai Emery’s side dismantled Barcelona with a tactical masterclass, thumping their Catalan visitors with a 4-0 first leg win at the Parc des Princes.

Barcelona were in no mood to be outdone by the emerging force from Ligue 1, however, as the Catalans dipped into the greatest depths of their vast European experience to produce a stunning 6-1 triumph over PSG in the second leg at the Camp Nou.

Now-PSG star Neymar inspired Barcelona to an attacking rout with a brace, adding to goals from Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi, a Layvin Kurzawa own goal and a stunning last-gasp winner from Sergi Roberto to make Barca the first side in history to overcome a four goal deficit to win a Champions League tie.


Ernesto Valverde Insists He Couldn’t Risk Messi for Barcelona’s Champions League Draw With Inter

Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde claims that he left Lionel Messi out of his squad to face Inter on Tuesday as he didn’t want to risk aggravating the Argentine’s recent arm injury.

The 31-year-old has been out of action for almost three weeks after fracturing his arm during the club’s 4-2 win over Sevilla.

FC Barcelona v Sevilla - La Liga Santander

Messi has returned to training ahead of schedule and he was even included in the squad which travelled to San Siro in midweek. 

However, Valverde claimed after their 1-1 draw with Inter that he didn’t want to risk bringing Messi back into the matchday squad before he is back to full fitness.

It was a decision shared by the team. We couldn’t risk Messi. We wanted him to train with the team but training isn’t the same as playing,” Valverde said, quoted by the Daily Star.

“We were careful in training, but we knew that today’s match would be like how it was with the intensity that there was.

“You do not know what can happen and we didn’t want to take risks. We talked to him about it and he understood.”

Barcelona left it late to take the lead against Inter thanks to a goal from substitute Malcom, but the Nerazzurri’s captain Mauro Icardi had the last laugh by firing the ball into the back of the net with just three minutes left of the match.

The result keeps Barcelona at the top of Group B, while Inter trail by three points. 

FC Internazionale v FC Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Group B

Tottenham revived their hopes of reaching the knockout stages after their comeback against PSV Eindhoven on Tuesday, with the club hosting Inter in a crucial match during the next round of Champions League fixtures.


Inter 1-1 Barcelona: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Mauro Icardi Strikes Late to Stun Barça

Mauro Icardi scored a late equaliser for Inter as the home side drew 1-1 with Barcelona at San Siro on Tuesday. 

Malcom’s opener – and first for Barça – was not enough to secure all three points for Ernesto Valverde’s side, who qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League regardless.

Barcelona started the game on top, with Inter struggling to deal with the Catalan side’s high press. However, the first chance of the game fell to the Italian side in the 18th minute as a low cross into the box found Kwadwo Asamoah, who fired over under no pressure. 

FC Internazionale v FC Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Group B

This was to be the home side’s only real chance of the first half as Barcelona forced saves from Samir Handanovic through Luis Suárez and Philippe Coutinho. However, both sides went into half-time goalless.

The pattern of the game continued in the second half, as Barcelona dominated the ball without creating many clear-cut chances. 

In the 82nd minute, having come on as a substitute, Malcolm picked up the ball on the edge of the box before driving a low finish beyond Handanovic, who perhaps should have done better with the effort. 


In the 86th minute, the home side scored a shock equaliser as a rebounded shot found its way into the path of Icardi, who fought off the attentions of the Barcelona defence before slotting a low shot beyond Marc-André ter Stegen to make it 1-1. 

Here’s out breakdown of this one.


Key Talking Point

Having won their last five home matches in all competitions, Inter seemed to have been making a fortress of San Siro prior to this Champions League clash. However, Barcelona coming to town represented a huge threat to their stronghold. 

After beating Genoa 5-0 in their last home match, Inter were surprisingly toothless in attack against Barcelona on Tuesday night. Their passing was often wayward and their build-up play lacked pace and creativity. 

However, the Italian side showed their resolve and rescued a draw from the jaws of defeat, stretching their unbeaten run at home to six matches. 

Player Ratings

Starting XI: Handanovic (7), Vrsaljko (6), Skriniar (7), de Vrij (6), Asamoah (6), Vecino (6), Brozovic (6), Politano (6), Nainggolan (6), Perisic (5), Icardi (7)

Substitutes: Martínez (6), Balde Diao, Valero (6), Miranda, Padelli, D’Ambrosio, Candreva

STAR MAN: Such was Inter’s rather underwhelming performance, Samir Handanovic was their star player on the night. The Slovenian goalkeeper was peppered with shots throughout the game and dealt with them with ease at times.

With the likes of Suárez and Coutinho often allowed to shoot at will, Inter’s goalkeeper had to be on top form to keep his side in the game and he was up to the task. 

WORST PLAYER: None of Inter’s players were obviously the worst player, but there wasn’t a single outfield player who shone either. Such are the capabilities of Ivan Perisic, he was perhaps the most disappointing of Inter’s players on the night.

The Croatian winger was electric at the World Cup but from his performance on Tuesday night he was unable to provide the spark to his side’s attack. Inter’s star man, Maurco Icardi, was quiet throughout aside from his late goal and it was the lack of service from the likes of Perisic that left the Argentine isolated. 


Key Talking Point

Despite rumours that Lionel Messi had recovered in time for Barcelona’s Champions League Clash with Inter Milan, the Argentine was left out of the squad. Therefore, the question was how Barcelona’s team would react without their talisman.

While Barça probed throughout, they struggled to engineer that final pass and finish to make their dominance count. You have to think that, if Messi had been playing on the night, Barcelona may well have won this game comfortably. 

Player Ratings 

Starting XI: ter Stegen (7), Roberto (6), Piqué (7), Lenglet (6), Alba (7), Rakitic (6), Busquets (7), Arthur (7), Dembélé (5), Suárez (7), Coutinho (8)

Substitutes: Semedo, Rafinha, Cillessen, Malcolm (8), Vidal (6), Aleñá, Brandáriz

STAR MAN: On his return to San Siro, Philippe Coutinho stole the show for Barcelona. The Brazilian maestro oozed confidence on the ball, either choosing to pop off a quick pass or take his man on. 

With Barcelona’s magician, Messi, missing the match through injury, it was clear that Coutinho took the creative burden onto his shoulders and the former Liverpool man dealt with it seamlessly. He was at the heart of everything good about Barcelona tonight and seems to have got even better since his Liverpool days. 

WORST PLAYER: Ousmane Dembélé has endured a tough time at Barcelona since his big-money transfer from Borussia Dortmund two summers ago. The French winger’s long-term injury meant he missed the vast majority of the season, which complicated his transition into the team.

Against Inter Milan, Dembélé was poor in truth. He often seemed to inhibit Barcelona’s attack rather than contribute towards it. Luis Suárez grew particularly impatient with the Frenchman throughout the game and was often seen directing him. It was a night to forget for the £135m man. 

Looking Ahead

In the Champions League, Inter next face a trip to Wembley as they face Tottenham Hotspur on 28 November. The Italian side won the reverse fixture 2-1, thanks to a last minute winner and, so long as they avoid defeat this time around, should qualify from the group. 

Barcelona, meanwhile, take on PSV away from home on the same date, safe in the knowledge that their progression to the last 16 is already assured.


Manchester United & Barcelona in Race to Sign 15-Year-Old Benfica Wonderkid

?Manchester United and Barcelona are set to compete for the signature of Benfica teenager Ronaldo Camara after scouts from both clubs were impressed by the young forward.

At the age of just 15, Camara has already taken his first steps into Benfica’s Under-19 team and made his UEFA Nations League debut against Ajax last month.

The Bissau-born starlet has caught the eye of many European powerhouses, and the Portuguese publication ?Record claims that ?United and ?Barcelona are heavy favourites to complete the signing.

It is understood that ?Chelsea and ?Manchester City were also keeping tabs on Camara over the summer, but both clubs have since cooled their interest.

Camara, who was born in 2003, will turn 16 in January 2019, at which point he will be allowed to sign for any club in Europe. He is under contract until 2020 but Benfica will be keen to offer him improved terms to fend off interest in their young prodigy.

He made his debut for Portugal’s Under-17 side in August 2017 when he was just 14 and scored against Turkey on his fourth appearance. Last month he scored twice in a 10-0 win over Kazakhstan.

Manchester United and Barcelona have both done business with Benfica in recent years, having signed players from the Portuguese side in the 2017 summer transfer window.

Burnley FC v Manchester United - Premier League

United signed Victor Lindelof and Barcelona signed ?Nelson Semedo for €35m and €30.5m respectively.

United also dipped into the Portuguese market this year to sign Diogo Dalot from Porto.