The performance of Lionel Messi was one of the few positives to come out of the Barcelona vs Valencia game at the weekend. Not only did Barcelona lose at the Nou Camp for the first time this season, the defeat meant that the Spanish champions slipped off the top of La Liga for the first time in well o0ver a season.
It seems as though Barcelona are on the verge of finally capturing the replacement for current keeper Victor Valdes. The Ctalan club have given Valdes every chance to change his mind about leaving when his contract expires at the end of the season, but he has been open and honest and is set on moving on.
The result of this two legged tie was almost settled in the favour of Barcelona in the first leg at Levante, but the Spanish champions made absolutely sure with a professional and ruthless performance at the Nou Camp last night. The weather was awful, but the team warmed the home fans up with five goals and a place in the Copa Del Rey semi-finals.
The opponents in that semi will probably be Real Sociedad and they must be wondering if they have any chance at all after Barcelona won 5-1 without Messi and made the aggregate score 9-2 against decent La Liga opponents. Messi was rested and Alexis Sanchez was given a chance to shine in the middle. He grabbed it with both hands and scored a nice brace.
The president of Barcelona has sensationally resigned from his post today. Sandro Rosell made the announcement after calling an emergency meeting of the club. His role has been taken for now by Jose Maria Bartomeu, although it is not clear how long this will last and whether there are set to be new elections.
It seems like the case of the transfer of Neymar to Barcelona from Brazilian club Santos was the last straw for Sandro Rosell. There have been all sorts of claims and accusations in the Spanish media all week and, although there is a confidentiality clause in the contract which is supposed to stop details of it becoming public, someone managed to get hold of it and leak all the different factors to the press.
It seems as if FC Barcelona are under concerted attack at the minute. The latest comes under the guise of a suggestion that the Catalan club has falsified it’s accounts and misled it’s shareholders over the amount of money it cost to bring the Brazilian superstar Neymar to the Camp Nou last summer.
Spanish newspaper El Mundo has published the claims, seemingly gathered from leaked court documents given to the authorities by Barcelona executives. The paper claims that the real cost of Neymar’s transfer could be as high as 95 million euros, with some payments apparently hidden in things like payments for scouting work done by Neymar’s father, payments for friendlies between Santos and Barca and many other things that are not necessarily anything to do with the transfer..
Barcelona traveled to play Getafe in the second leg of the Copa Del Rey clash last night and Tata Martino could have been forgiven for sending out a team of youngsters and fringe players as they were already ahead 4-0 from the first leg at the Nou Camp.
At the end of the game, which Barca won comfortably 2-0, the manager may have wished that he had. Halfway through the first half, the Brazilian superstar Neymar, just back from a spell on the sidelines with illness, went over on his right ankle and slow motion replays did not look good.
There was all sorts of transfer speculation in the summer concerning Barcelona and their need to sign a top quality centre back. Plenty of players were linked with a move to the Nou Camp, but apparently the club did not see the need as desperate, because nobody was signed.
The first choice was Thiago Silva of PSG, but the Brazilian international ended up signing a new contract with the mega rich French champions. The noises coming our of Barcelona after that was that they were not going to sign a player just for the sake of it.
It was billed as the clash of the titans in La Liga and for good reason. It was only a superior goal difference that was keeping Barcelona above Atletico Madrid at the top of the Spanish league table. The fact that Atletico had home advantage as well and had only lost the two-legged Spanish Supercup on away goals, all pointed towards it being a very tough game.
Add to that the fact that Tata Martino had a selection headache, with two of the club’s best players, Lionel Messi and Neymar, as doubtful to start. The Barca boss has been criticised from some quarters in Spain for leaving the two stars on the bench, even though both did come in in the second half, but is that really fair?