Diego Simeone reveals ‘trick’ he adopted to try to bring Lionel Messi to Atletico Madrid

October 13th, 2021 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Diego Simeone admits he tried to convince Lionel Messi to join Atletico Madrid this summer.

Six-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi was expected to sign a new contract at Barcelona but the Catalan giants couldn’t afford to complete the deal.

Paris Saint-Germain quickly swooped in to sign the 34-year-old, but not before Atletico had a go.

Speaking to Ole in Argentina, Simeone revealed he had Messi’s close pal Luis Suarez give him a call to see if he would be interested in reuniting at the Wanda Metropolitano.

In quotes carried by Diario AS, the Atletico boss admitted: “I’ll tell you a detail.

“With what happened at Barcelona, we called Luis [Suarez].

“With all due respect, I didn’t call Leo, but I did call Luis to ask how Messi was doing and whether he’d be willing or if there was a small chance he’d come to Atletico.

“But it was something that only lasted three hours, because PSG were already obsessed with signing him.”

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Barcelona design smart move to beat Chelsea, Man City, others to Inter Milan hotshot Lautaro Martinez

April 6th, 2020 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Reports in Spain and Italy claim Barcelona are offering to double the salary Lautaro Martinez would get in a new contract with Inter to ease their move for the prized striker.

Chelsea and Manchester City are both tracking Inter Milan forward Lautaro Martinez but will have to fight off interest from Barcelona.

The 22-year-old is tied down until June 2023, but already, according to Football Italia, discussing an extension with possible raise of the €111m release clause after an excellent campaign.

He scored 16 goals with four assists in 31 competitive appearances, including five in six Champions League games.

According to Sport, negotiations are not going well, because Lautaro Martinez and his agent know full well there are several clubs ready to snap him up this summer, even for the release clause.

Barcelona are by far the favourites, ahead of their rivals, especially if they include Arturo Vidal and other players as part of the deal.

Reports in Spain suggest Inter are offering a €4m per season salary at San Siro in the new contract, but Barcelona are ready to double that.

At this stage, a renewal seems unlikely and the Nerazzurri are almost resigned to losing the striker, albeit at a massive profit.

Despite the interest, Martinez’s representative Alberto Yaque admits there has been no formal talks about his clients future.

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Reports: Barcelona “appoint” new manager as Ernesto Valverde clears belongings out of Camp Nou

January 13th, 2020 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Multiple reports in Spain claim Quique Setien is ‘very close’ to being appointed as the new Barcelona boss.

A report in Diario AS goes together with a similar report in Catalan radio station rac1 by claiming that representatives of Setien are currently in the city to negotiate a deal.

Ernesto Valverde has yet to be officially removed from his position – despite various reports saying that the club told him he would be dismissed earlier on Monday.

That is according to multiple reports including from ESPN and Catalunya Radio, who claim that the Coach was told at the club’s training facilities on Monday.

Reports say that Valverde has already cleared his belongings out of the club and will now be allowed to say his goodbyes to the staff and players.

It would be the first time that Barcelona have sacked a Coach in the middle of a season since Louis Van Gaal in 2003 – when they were 20 points behind Real Sociedad, and eventually finished sixth.

It had been said earlier on Monday that Valverde’s position in the Camp Nou hotseat is in serious danger after a lengthy meeting on Sunday night between those in charge of the club.

Josep Maria Bartomeu – the club’s president – is now due to meet Valverde in another crunch meeting after talking with the club’s CEO Oscar Grau, transfer chief Eric Abidal, his assistant Ramon Planes and Javier Bordas.

According to Football Espana, the meeting began at 9pm on Sunday evening after Abidal and Grau returned from Qatar, where they unsuccessfully tried to persuade Xavi Hernandez to accept the managerial position.

However, Xavi said he had no intention of joining the club in the middle of the season but did leave the door open for a summer move, leading the club to reassess their options.

Setien was appointed at Betis at the start of the 2017-18 campaign, leading them to a 6th-place finish – their highest since 2005, and a return to European football for the first time in five seasons.

However, the Andalusian club suffered a sharp downturn in form in the final six months of his stint and only secured a top-half finish on the final day of the campaign last time out, and he was replaced by Rubi.

Setien led Betis to victories at Barcelona, Real Madrid and Milan last season, alongside defeating Atletico Madrid.

Other candidates include recently sacked Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino, and current Estudiantes de La Plata boss Gabriel Milito.

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Barcelona star sues Catalan club

December 28th, 2019 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

There are are reports Barcelona star Arturo Vidal has taken the amazing step of suing his own club, claiming they owe him £2million in unpaid bonuses.

His Chilean lawyers filed a lawsuit on December 5 claiming the 32-year-old midfielder was eligible for a string of bonuses after his first season following his move from Bayern Munich.

Vidal made 53 appearances for Barcelona last season as they won La Liga and reached the semi-finals of the Champions League.

The Sun report that Vidal’s lawyers claim he is due an extra £2m in bonuses for having played in 60 per cent of all Barca’s games.

But according to Spanish newspaper ABC, his claim has been contested by Barcelona who say he did not reach the minimum of 45 minutes per game.

They claim his lawyers have misinterpreted the clauses in the contract.

Vidal is allegedly ready to settle for half the bonus but Barcelona have refused, so Vidal’s lawyers have begun legal proceedings.

Vidal claims he is owed a total of €4,097,500 (£3,500,637) but he has only received €1,693,000 (£1,446,388) so he now hopes the court will be able to recover the missing amount.

His former boss Antonio Conte, who worked with him successfully at Juventus, is keen to take the veteran star to Inter Milan in January.

Barcelona would reportedly take £17million to get Vidal off their hands.

Photo Credit: Twitter @fcbarcelona.com

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Another Barcelona star robbed before El Clasico showdown

December 18th, 2019 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Reports in Spain claim the house of Barcelona defender Nelson Semedo has been robbed ahead of this evening El Clasico.

According to Marca, the incident took place around 2pm on Wednesday afternoon, when the Portugal international was at the team hotel ahead of the clash with Real Madrid.

A group of men who targeted the houses of famous footballers in Madrid for robberies were arrested back in October, as reported by El Diario.

Football Espana report that four men have been arrested – three in Madrid and one in Toledo – following a series of incidents, with a number of items recovered including large number of stolen jewels, €10k and some valuables, such as the league runner-up medal of Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey and his passport.

The 26-year-old’s residence in Boadilla del Monte was targeted earlier this month while his housekeeper – who escaped unharmed – was present, as outlined by Marca.

The previous week, an attempt was made to rob the property although the intruders were met by a relative inside the building and made off without anyone being harmed or property stolen, as reported by Cadena Ser, via Diario AS.

It followed on from the news that Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro had his house robbed during the Madrid derby at the Wanda Metropolitano earlier in the season.

A number of players have had their properties robbed while living in Spain, with the report citing Casemiro’s Madrid teammates Lucas Vazquez, Isco, Karim Benzema alongside his Coach Zinedine Zidane as being previous targets.

Jordi Alba, Geoffrey Kondogbia, Philippe Coutinho, William Carvahlo, Álvaro Morata, Joaquín, Ezequiel Garay, Kévin-Prince Boateng, Karim Benzema, Ramiro Funes Mori, Arthur, Gabriel Paulista and Gerard Piqué are others to have suffered similar fates in recent times.

Photo Credit: Twitter@FC Barcelona

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Luis Suarez wants Barcelona to sign Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham

December 2nd, 2019 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Barcelona striker Luis Suarez has stated that Tammy Abraham could be his long-term successor at the Catalan club.

The England international has emerged as one of the leading scorers in the Premier League this season so far, scoring ten goals for the Blues.

His prowess infront of goal has consigned Olivier Giroud to the bench at Chelsea, with the Frenchman featuring for against West Ham last Saturday because of Abraham’s injury.

Now, Suarez has taken notice of the youngster, stating that: “There are many excellent young strikers at the moment.”

“There are many players that I take an interest in, and watch when I have the chance to.”

“The No.9 at Chelsea, Abraham is one that I like.”

“He is a very good forward, with strong finishing skills, and good movement for his age.”

Suarez also stated his admiration for international team mate Moi Gomez, and Inter Milan front man Lautaro Martinez, who have both been linked with a move to the Camp Nou.

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Chelsea star desperate for Barcelona move as contract talks stall

November 18th, 2019 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

There are reports Chelsea forward Willian is keen to join Spanish giants Barcelona at the end of the season.

The Catalan club are reportedly determined the Brazilian on free transfer as new contract talks have stalled.

In the summer, it was claimed the Catalans had tabled multiple offers for the former Shakhtar Donetsk man – all of which Chelsea were said to have turned down.

And according to reports, the 31-year-old is interested in swapping London for the Catalan capital.

Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo claim the Brazilian is stalling on penning a new contract with the Blues in the hope of sealing a move to the Nou Camp.

Willian, who is out of contract in the summer, is said to be comfortable at Stamford Bridge but ‘dreaming’ of linking up with the likes of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, report the Daily Express.

News of Willian’s reported desire to join Barcelona comes a few weeks after he revealed the La Liga champions tried to acquire his services after the 2018 World Cup.

He said: “The only real official offer I had came from Barcelona, last year, after the World Cup. Barcelona indeed presented an offer to Chelsea but it was rejected.”

Willian admits he mulled over the possibility of swapping west London for Barcelona, adding: “That was the only actual time I had to discuss something like this with my family, although we really love it here.

“So there were several factors that helped us in staying.”

Willian is aware his days as a Chelsea player will soon come to an end and plans on playing in his homeland before retiring.

“If I have to return to Brazil, I’d like to play at Corinthians again,” he said. “It represents a lot, I was born and raised there, my footballing career began there when I was nine, I’ve spent my entire childhood there.

“I’ve been a Corinthians fan since I was little, even before I played there, my family also supports the club.

“So when I got there all my relatives were very happy, and then, after I got to the first team, everyone was overjoyed.”

Photo Credit: Twitter @chelseafc.com

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Barcelona President reveals club’s plan after Lionel Messi retires from Nou Camp

July 29th, 2019 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu says the club are already planning ahead of post-Lionel Messi era.

And although there is no suggestion 32-year-old Messi is set to hang up his boots anytime soon, Bartomeu says the club have ‘an obligation’ to minimise the loss when he does.

The Argentine star has been a fixture in the club’s attack for the past 14 seasons but celebrated his 32nd birthday last month and thoughts may now be turning to the future of the club behind him.

“I think our obligation is to work in the post-Messi era,” Bartomeu explained to reporters, as cited by Diario AS.

“We are already thinking about that because we are bringing new players. As president I hope that Leo is still with us for many years but we have to think about this change for when he decides to stop playing.”

The Argentine forward remains the central point of the club’s attack and despite prolonged investment over the years, is widely regarded as the world’s most valuable player, report Football Espana.

Messi has netted 603 goals across 687 first-team appearances for the Blaugrana and has won 34 trophies at his time with the club, including 10 La Liga titles and four Champions League crowns.

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Antoine Griezmann transfer to Barcelona gets messy as Atletico Madrid set to discipline player

July 8th, 2019 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

There are reports Atletico Madrid will internally discipline Antoine Griezmann after the forward failed to turn up for the start of pre-season training.

Fotball Espana had reported earlier that Griezmann was informed via his agent that he would be expected to join the squad before leaving for the USA on July 7, and if the former Real Sociedad should go on strike, he would face disciplinary action from Atletico Madrid.

And, ESPN FC have now confirmed that the Diego Simeone side are poised to discipline the forward for going AWOL from the team.

It is the latest development in the ongoing dispute between the parties with the Frenchman attempting to force through a move to Barcelona.

The forward’s release clause dropped from €200m to €120m on 1 July but the Catalan giants have failed to deposit the specified amount in a lump sum payment, and instead would prefer to pay in instalments.

Los Rojiblancos will not negotiate on any sale for the player below his clause, with reports that he reached a contractual agreement with Barca in March – just days before Atleti’s Champions League exit.

Griezmann stated at the end of last season that he would be leaving the capital club this summer as he appeared set to join the Blaugrana, whom he rejected last summer before signing a long-term contract extension with Diego Simeone’s side.

“Logically a disciplinary process will be opened as Griezmann did not present himself for an official call-up with the club where he is under contract,” the report cites an Atletico source as saying.

Atleti have already signed forward Joao Felix from Benfica, who will theoretically replace Griezmann, while Paris Saint-Germain were previously linked to the Frenchman.

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Dani Alves pushes for Barcelona return after leaving PSG

June 24th, 2019 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Reports in Spain claim that former Barcelona defender Dani Alves has offered himself back to the club once he leaves Paris Saint-Germain this summer, say reports.

Alves, who is currently away on international duty with Brazil, will formally leave the Parisian club on June 30 when his contract in Paris expires.

Diario Sport lead their coverage on Monday with a report taken from Catalan radio station RAC1 that the full-back has informed the Blaugrana of his intentions.

The Catalan giants may be looking to strengthen in that position this summer as they only have one natural right-back in their squad: Nelson Semedo, report Football Espana.

However, the Portuguese defender himself has been linked with a move away this summer as he is not a regular in the side ahead of Sergi Roberto – a natural midfielder – in the position.

Alves, 36, played 391 games (netting 21 goals and providing 103 assists) with Barça between 2008 and 2016, after he joined the club from Sevilla.

Photo Credit: Sky Sports

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