Frank Lampard reveals “difficult problems” concerning Chelsea stars

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has explained “one of my difficult problems” over the selection of his players for matches, stating he “can’t pick them all in the game.”

Lampard left Christian Pulisic and England international Ross Barkley out of his 18-man squad for the midweek Champions League victory in Lille.

Lampard said: “This is one of my difficult problems in this job, that I have good players and everyone has a story.

“Christian Pulisic has a price-tag, Ross Barkley is an international player, Mason Mount is an international player.

“Callum Hudson-Odoi has just signed a new contract, Bayern Munich wanted to buy him last summer, he is an international player.

“Ruben Loftus-Cheek will come back and be an international player — and I can’t pick them all in the game, unfortunately.

“All I have to demand of them is that they show me in training or show me in the game when they get the chances to play that they are worthy of their place.

“That’s not to make me sound like a hard taskmaster, that’s just a brutal reality of my job. Next week I might be asked about two other names.”

Frank Lampard gives update on Chelsea star N’Golo Kante

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has confirmed that N’Golo Kante came through the midweek Champions League contest against Lille unscathed and is in contention to play consecutive Chelsea games for the first time since August.

According to the Blues manager, the Frenchman had no problems following a 90-minute runout against his compatriots on Wednesday night.

While Lampard will be keeping a close eye on his recovery over the coming days due to a lack of match action so far this campaign, there is every chance he will be involved in the match against Southampton at St Mary’s on Sunday.

Lampard said: ‘It’s something we’ll have to watch over the next 24, 48 hours to make sure he’s okay,’ said Lampard. ‘All the players are on a semi-recovery programme after the Lille game but it’s also the fact he hasn’t played much.

‘In terms of the injury, he’s fine and there was no fallout with that from the Lille game so it’s just about making sure he’s fit and ready, which is a call for me to make.’

Barcelona ahead of Juventus as chase for Willian hots up

Latest reports claim Barcelona are ahead of Serie A champions Juventus in the race to sign Chelsea forward Willian.

The Brazilian’s deal is billed to expire next summer without any breakthrough in the contract talks between the player and the London club.

But there are fears that Willian could leave for free as Barcelona and Juventus are both keen to snap him up at the expiration of his current contract.

Willian told Evening Standard after Chelsea’s Champions League victory over Lille during the week: “No, no, nothing. [But] yes, I am still relaxed. I am calm, I am relaxed. I wait for the club.”

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard also said he had “no news” on talks. That’s a conversation between Willy, his representatives and the club,” he said in Paris after the match against Ligue 1 club Lille.

“Everyone can see I’m happy with Willy on the pitch.”

According to Calciomercato, the emergence of Callum Hudson-Odoi also questions the future of the Brazilian at Stamford Bridge.

Willian joined Chelsea from Anzi Makhackala six years ago and it has been claimed in the past that the forward was wanted by Pep Guardiola at the Camp Nou before his move to Russia.

Despite his success in England, the Blaugrana have consistently retained a passing interest in the 31-year old and reports in the UK media over the past 18 months linked the club with a €40M for the unsettled star.

It has been claimed that Barca Coach Ernesto Valverde is a big fan of the player and has pushed a move for him, although it may depend on the future of other attacking stars at the club.

Tension grips Barcelona over Messi-Griezmann relationship

There are reports Barcelona are concerned about the strained relationship between Antoine Griezmann and Lionel Messi.

French outlet Le10 Sport claims that the two have not clicked since Griezmann arrived from Atletico Madrid this summer, and sensationally claim that he could even be a makeweight in a future deal to take Neymar to the Camp Nou.

Griezmann was a summer arrival at Barcelona – who triggered his €120m release clause at Atleti – and despite scoring three goals for his new club, has not fully settled into the rhythm of his new side, report Football Espana.

Messi has been injured for most of the season – and has only completed one full match to date this season, starting just two games so far.

“It has been difficult to get to know each other,” Griezmann admitted in his pre-match press conference earlier this week, ahead of facing Inter, as cited by Marca.

“Neither of us are individuals who like to talk a lot, and he has spent a lot of time injured – so we have not been able to work together a lot on the training pitch.”

However, the French outlet now claims that this was an insight into a difficult relationship with Messi, who always preferred the Blaugrana to land his former teammate Neymar rather than the former Real Sociedad star.

Photo Credit: Twitter @fcbarcelona

(WATCH VIDEO FOOTAGE) Eden Hazard scores his first Real Madrid goal

Eden Hazard is off the mark as a Real Madrid player after hitting his first goal for Los Blancos in the La Liga clash at home to Granada at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday.

The Belgian attacker has had something of a slow start since moving from Chelsea in a €130 million transfer in the summer and he did not see much of the action in the opening 45 minutes against Granada either.

But the 28-year-old kept his cool under pressure from two Granada defenders to lob Rui Silva from just inside the box after Fede Valverde had won the ball back in the opposition half in stoppage time at the end of the opening 45 minutes in Saturday’s game, report the Evening Standard.

Hazard, who was criticised in pre-season for allegedly carrying excess weight as he returned to training and missed the start of the campaign with a thigh problem, has now netted on his sixth official appearance for Real and his fifth as a starter.

Photo Credit: Twitter

Inter Milan star confirms he almost signed for Chelsea in January, says he’s “prepared to die” for Antonio Conte

Inter Milan midfielder Nicolo Barella has revealed he almost joined Chelsea in January 2019.

The former Cagliari star was identified by the Stamford Bridge club as a suitable replacement for Cesc Fabregas who joined Ligue 1 club Monaco.

Barella stated that there were “concrete” talks with the Blues, but remained at Cagliari and eventually signed for Inter in the summer on an initial loan deal with an obligation to buy.

The Italy international told Gazzetta dello Sport that: “Chelsea had been looking to sign me in January, the negotiations were concrete. At Cagliari I said: ‘it is not an easy time for the team, I will stay until the end of the season. Then I will make a decision’.”

Barella has emerged as an important member of Antonio Conte’s first-team squad at Inter, making 13 appearances and scoring three goals, as well claiming two assists.

The 22-year-olld has revealed that he would “die” for his manager, expressing how his extrovert character is having a positive impact on his players.

He added: “He [Conte] has a different attitude, a way of talking to you that gives you something new. I’d die for him, that applies to all his players. And that makes the difference.

“Do you see how Conte’s teams run? It’s not only because they are well prepared. It is the outcome of what he puts in your head.

“Years ago I wrote all my goals down. The first was to get to Serie A with Cagliari: I succeeded. Then there was also the one to wear the Inter shirt: done.”