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Neymar dropped the bombshell that he was leaving Barcelona for Paris St-Germain while he was attending Lionel Messi’s wedding this summer, his former teammate Xavi has revealed.
The Brazilian striker moved to PSG for a world record fee of £200 million last summer, in a saga that lasted most of the window. Neymar was at Barca for 4 years, two of those with Xavi, who moved to Qatari side Al Sadd in 2015.
But he chose to tell his then teammates about his impending departure at Messi’s wedding – nothing like pulling focus from the happy couple – in July, Xavi told the World Football Show on the BBC World Service.
“He said to us at Messi’s wedding that he wanted to change club,” Xavi said. “I said to him but why? He said ‘I am not happy in Barcelona, I prefer to leave, to have a new experience in Europe at PSG’ and finally he did, it was his decision, we must respect it.”
Manchester City could mount a sensational world-record bid for Barcelona star Lionel Messi, if he doesn’t put pen to paper on a new contract at the Camp Nou.
In July, Barca officials announced that a deal to keep Messi at Barcelona until 2021 had been done. However, it seems that announcement jumped the gun as, three months on, the deal has not been signed and there are more than just a few formalities to be sorted out, according to a report in Spanish newspaper Marca.
Should talks not prove fruitful, Manchester City could come in with a bid. Marca reports a potential €400 million (£356.5 million) offer, which would dwarf the current world record £198 million Paris St-Germain paid to Barca in the summer for Neymar.
Unnamed sources close to City say that “serious conversations have been held with the footballer’s inner circle,” although this remains confirmed, Marca add.
However, it should be remembered that this report has appeared in Marca, which is associated with Barca’s great rivals, Real Madrid – so should be taken with a pinch of salt, especially with unnamed sources quoted. Likewise, it is known that Messi and his family are settled in Barcelona and he has not fallen out with the club in any way. In addition, the club are still saying that the deal is complete.
So, while this is speculation and just that, let’s just dream of what it would be like to have Messi in the Premier League.
Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has offered to retire from international football if his presence in the squad is deemed a problem over his support for Catalan independence.
Pique made the offer after Barcelona’s 3-0 win over Las Palma yesterday [October 1], which was held behind closed doors as a protest against the violence that erupted in various places in the region during the unofficial independence referendum being held there.
Pique had cast his vote in the election – declared illegal by the Spanish government – earlier in the day. He told Spanish newspaper AS after the match: “I am, and I feel Catalan, and I am very proud of the people, of their behavior, like in the last seven years.”
He is now set to link up with the Spanish national side – for whom he has nearly 100 caps – for their World Cup qualifiers against Albania and Israel.
However, should his stance cause problems for national team manager Julien Lopetegui or the Spanish FA, Pique has said he will step away from the side.
Could we see Stoke City v Barcelona on a wet Tuesday night in future? The Catalan sports minister seems to think so, especially if the people of Catalonia vote for independence this weekend.
If Catalonia were to become independent from Spain, it has been said by the Spanish FA that Barcelona – along with other sides from the area such as Espanyol and Girona – would be barred from competing in La Liga.
So, Gerard Figueras, the Catalan sports minister reasons, they could end up applying to compete in another league, such as Serie A, Ligue Un or the Premier League. He noted that clubs from Andorra compete in the Spanish league, while Monaco play in Ligue Un and Welsh clubs are in the English Football League.
However, this scenario is just hypothetical at the moment. The Spanish government has said that Catalonia’s independence referendum is illegal and the Prime Minister has said that the vote won’t happen.
In a recent statement, Barcelona said it would respect the will of the majority of Catalan people.
So, while the idea of Barcelona in the Premier League will remain a dream, its just nice to think about what it would be like. Who wouldn’t want to see Messi and co up close every weekend?
Another day, another goalscoring feat by Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi: this time, he has scored his 300th goal at the Camp Nou.
His 300th goal – which also completed his hat-trick – was scored against Eibar in a La Liga match last night (September 19). In all, Messi bagged 4 goals on the night as Barca ran riot, winning 6-1 against their mid-table counterparts.
Messi has now scored 301 goals at the Camp Nou, in 13 years – which is an average of more than 23 strikes per season. Most strikers (except for Christiano Ronaldo, obviously) would be happy to get 23 in just one season, home or away. But then Messi has never been ordinary.
The Argentinian has also scored 9 goals in his last 4 La Liga matches, which has helped Barca maintain their perfect start to the season – 15 points from 5 games with 17 goals scored. They are currently 5 points clear in the early table, but have played a game more than several of their rivals.