It is clear from this season that Barcelona have some work to do strengthening the squad. The defensive side, especially, is in need of an overhaul, with Puyol now 34-years old and Abidal set to retire or move into coaching. There are young defenders like Bartra, while Alex Song and Adriano can play in central defence if necessary, but one or two top class defenders are needed to strengthen the spine of the team and avoid any repeat of the Champions League debacle against Bayern Munich.
Archive for the ‘champions league news’
It was reported in the Spanish media last week that the Brazilian striker Neymar’s move to FC Barcelona could be in jeopardy. It is thought that an agreement has been in place between the Spanish champions, Neymar and his current club Santos for some time, but representatives of Real Madrid went to Brazil offering ridiculous sums of money to try to hijack the transfer.
This appears to have sparked officials at Barca into action, according to Mundo Deportivo. They have apparently decided to push the transfer forward rather than wait until next summer and are already in Brazil to negotiate this, the paper reports.
The party started on the streets of Barcelona and all over Catalunya last night, with isolated pockets of celebration all over Spain and around the world. FC Barcelona were confirmed as winners of La Liga and the Spanish title holders for the fourth time in five years after Real Madrid could only manage a draw at Espanyol.
The troubles between the Real Madrid players and Jose Mourinho continued yesterday, with Cristiano Ronaldo being left on the bench after directing some abuse at Mourinho after scoring in midweek. He did come on in the second half as Madrid were struggling to get any control of the game. They should have been a lot more than one behind, but Espanyol missed a number of chances and an awful decision by the officials ruled out a perfectly good second.
Barcelona are looking to make quite a few changes this summer in a bid to freshen up the team in the aftermath of the Chempions League exit at the hands of Bayern Munich. The most obvious area that needs strengthening is the defence, but there will probably be players coming and going all over the pitch.
With David Villa probably on his way out of the Nou Camp this summer, Barca definitely need some more attacking threat, because there is too much reliance on Lionel Messi. Nobody really gave a second thought to the Manchester United and England striker Wayne Rooney, but in the wake of Alex Ferguson announcing his retirement, it has emerged that Rooney wants to move on as well.
It would not have been the best way to win the Spanish title if Barcelona had got it by default last night. That did not happen, though, because Real Madrid beat Malaga 6-2 at the Bernabeu. They still need to beat Espanyol on Saturday to have any hope of retaining the Spanish title, but that will disappear if Barca can win at the Vicente Calderon stadium on Sunday.
By beating Real Betis on Sunday, Barcelona went some way to getting over the Champions League disappointment against Bayern Munich. The win also put them on the brink of clinching the Spanish Primera Liga title for the 22nd time and the fourth time in five years. In fact, Barca could win it this week without playing, if Real Madrid fail to beat Malaga at the Bernabeu tomorrow.
There has been a lot of talk in the media about Barcelona and what has happened to them recently. The fact that people see a Champions League semi-final loss as a disaster just shows how much Barca have dominated European football over the last few years. There have been two main thrusts to what football reporters and commentators have been saying.
The first is about it being the end of an era, not just for Barcelona but for the style of play known as tiki-taka. This is blatantly ridiculous, because the other main proponent of this style is Spain, the team that became the first ever to win three international tournaments in a row.
Not too long ago, Barcelona were 16 points clear at the top of the Spanish Primera Liga table, but a poor run of form which has also seen an ignominious Champions League double defeat by Bayern Munich has seen that slip a bit. Real Madrid just managed to get the better of Valladolid in a seven goal thriller yesterday, so a win against Real Betis today would not be enough to confirm the title.