No point resting Lionel Messi, says Barcelona boss Valverde

Lionel Messi is having yet another season to remember. (AFP)
Updated 02 April 2019

No point resting Lionel Messi, says Barcelona boss Valverde

  • Barca face Villarreal on Tuesday and Atletico Madrid on Saturday ahead of Champions League clash against Manchester United.
  • But despite 10-point lead in La Liga Barca boss insists Argentine ace will play both league matches.

BARCELONA: Lionel Messi will probably play against Villarreal in La Liga this week, because “there’s no suitable scenario for resting” the Argentine superstar, Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said on Monday.

Barcelona are 10 points clear at the top of the Spanish League ahead of Tuesday’s away game, followed by a home tie with second-place Atletico Madrid on Saturday and then Manchester United away in a Champions League quarterfinal next Wednesday.

“We attach great importance to this game,” Valverde said of the Villarreal game before acknowledging that “many people have their sights on the Champions League and also the Atletico game.”

“We’ll see tomorrow about Leo,” Valverde said of his 31-year-old forward who has 31 league goals so far this season.

“The three points tomorrow are worth the same as those against Atletico,” Valverde said.

“It is a perfect match to win,” he said, when asked about rotating his squad. “It does not escape me that our rivals are waiting for a slip to feed their hopes of catching us. We don’t want give it any opportunities.”

“There are nine games, if we win six we are champions,” he added. “But having to win six games does not mean we have the league won, we have a lot of work to do.”

Valverde said he did not think renewed rumors that Antoine Griezmann was going to leave Atletico for Barcelona would not destabilize either club.

“It’s the usual stuff, we’re used to it,” said Valverde.


Neymar future remains up in the air as PSG reject Madrid offer

Updated 23 August 2019

Neymar future remains up in the air as PSG reject Madrid offer

  • Paris club said to turn down an offer from Barcelona of €40 million plus Coutinho and Rakitic

PARIS: Neymar remains no closer to getting his desired move away from Paris Saint-Germain amid reports Thursday the French club have rejected an offer from Real Madrid of €100 million($111 million) plus players.

French sports daily L’Equipe said Real had offered cash plus Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez and goalkeeper Keylor Navas, but PSG turned it down because “the overall value of the offer did not match their expectations.” 

Paris paid €222 million to sign Neymar from Barcelona two years ago and their sporting director Leonardo is understood to be determined to only sell the forward for a deal considered to be of the same value.

Real have spent the summer trying to offload Bale, while James is unwanted after returning from a loan at Bayern Munich and Navas is no longer the club’s first-choice goalkeeper.

Meanwhile, Barcelona remain hopeful of bringing Neymar back to the Camp Nou, but Catalan daily Sport claims an attempt to sign the player on loan with an obligation to buy for €160 million at the end of the season has been firmly rejected in Paris.

Sport claims Barcelona feel “it is very clear that PSG are trying to prevent the Brazilian from returning to the Camp Nou in any scenario.” 

PSG had previously reportedly turned down an offer from Barcelona of €40 million  plus Philippe Coutinho and Ivan Rakitic. Coutinho has since joined Bayern on loan.

Juventus are also believed to have stated an interest in signing the 27-year-old, who has not featured in any of PSG’s matches so far this season having been frozen out amid the uncertainty over his future. The transfer window closes in France, Spain and Italy on Sept. 2, meaning time is fast running out for a deal to be done.

Watford loan Sweden winger Sema to Udinese

Watford winger Ken Sema has completed a season-long loan move to Udinese, the Serie A side confirmed on Thursday.

The six-times capped Sweden international only moved to Vicarage Road last summer from Ostersunds FK and made 22 appearances for the English club.

The 25-year-old's departure follows the arrival of Senegal international Ismaila Sarr to the Premier League outfit on a club record transfer of €35 million   ($38 million) from Rennes. The northeastern Italian club and Watford are both owned by the Pozzo family.

Udinese host AC Milan in their opening match of the Serie A season on Saturday.