Barcelona’s Luis Suarez Gets All-Clear to Return to the Pitch

Luis Suarez is officially back in commission…

The 33-year-old Uruguayan professional footballer and Barcelona striker has been given the green light to return to action almost five months after undergoing a knee operation

 Luis Suarez

Suarez last played for Barca in a 3-2 defeat to Atletico Madrid on January 9 and underwent surgery three days later to repair a problem in his right knee.

Suarez would have missed the remainder of the season had La Liga not been halted in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The striker’s return will be a boost for Barca manager Quique Setien, with Suarez having scored 11 goals and set up seven more in 17 league appearances before he sustained the injury.

Barcelona trained at the Camp Nou stadium for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown on Saturday.

Barca are set to return to action against relegation-threatened Mallorca on June 13.

Barca hold a two-point lead over rivals Real Madrid at the top of La Liga with 58 points after 27 games. Their last game in the league was a 1-0 victory over Real Sociedad on March 7.

Barcelona Expresses Interest in Eric Garcia

There’s growing interest in Eric Garcia… 

Futbol Club Barcelona has enquired about the 19-year-old Spanish footballer’s situation at Manchester City as they line up a potential move to bring the defender back to Camp Nou, according to ESPN.

Eric Garcia

Manchester City was quick to knock back Barca‘s initial approach, with high-ranking executives at the English club making it clear that Garcia isn’t for sale. 

Team manager Pep Guardiola is especially fond of Garcia and, while ManCity hope to sign a new centerback this summer, they also want to keep him involved as part of the first-team squad.

However, there is also an understanding at the club that the uncertainty over Guardiola’s long-term future could become a problem at some point. Players are also in the dark and with two years left on his contract, Garcia is in a strong negotiating position.

This provoked Barca to ask about his availability during recent talks between the two clubs regarding a possible swap deal involving right-backs Nelson Semedo and Joao Cancelo.

Garcia was considered one of the brightest prospects in Barca’s La Masia academy when he decided to leave in 2017 to join Premier League champions Manchester City,

Guardiola handed him his full debut in a League Cup game against Leicester in 2018 and he has made 11 appearances this season, starting twice in the league and once in the Champions League.

He’s also been capped five times by Spain under-21s and Barca have followed his development closely since he left three years ago.

A number of different sources at Barca said the club view Garcia as a “good fit” centerback for the team’s style of football. He was brought up on the club’s philosophy and one of his major strengths is his ability on the ball.

Barca, who missed out on Matthijs de Ligt to Juventus last summer, have been searching for a central defender for a long time as they contemplate a future without Gerard Pique, who turned 33 in February.

Manchester City’s reluctance to sell makes a move for Garcia this summer unlikely, especially as Barca expect to be less active in the transfer market due to the effects the coronavirus pandemic has had on their budget. They will focus on their main target, Inter Milan striker Lautaro Martinez, and will not have money left over to invest elsewhere.

But sources tell ESPN that Barca will not give up on Barcelona native Garcia in the long-term and will continue to monitor his situation as he moves into the final two years of his contract at the Etihad Stadium.

FC Barcelona Stepping Up Efforts to Bring Neymar Back Into the Fold

Will Neymar return to Spain?

Futbol Club Barcelona will reportedly step up the team’s efforts to sign the 27-year-old Brazilian professional footballer next summer, according to ESPN.

Neymar

The Barca hierarchy believes that Neymar is the natural replacement for Lionel Messi. The club believe it’ll be easier to bring Neymar back to Camp Nouonce Messi is gone, given that Neymar has already played there and there aren’t too many players at his level.

The Brazil international retains a good relationship with Barca despite his acrimonious exit to Paris Saint-Germainfor a world-record €222 million fee.

Mundo Deportivo‘s front page earlier this week said Barca will attempt to sign the forward depending on his performances during the second half of the season, when PSG will look to finally win the Champions League.

Neymar has a tense relationship with the French champions, who refused to let him join Barca last summer despite the club’s best efforts.

PSG’s owners continue to make things difficult for Barca, which could go to FIFAto decide a fee, given the player has been at the club for three years and has no release clause.

Yerry Mina Signs Lucrative Deal with Barcelona FC

Yerry Mina is headed to Barcelona…

The 23-year-old Colombian professional footballer has agreed to a deal with Barcelona FC.

Yerry Mina

Mina moves to the Camp Nou for a fee of €11.8 million, and the Colombian’s five-and-a-half-year contract includes a €100m release clause.

Barca had an option to sign Mina for €9m after the 2018 World Cup, but have decided to fast-track the transfer due to Javier Mascherano‘s pending move to Chinese Super League side Hebei Fortune.

As a result, they have had to pay Palmeiras €2.5m more than had originally been agreed for the deal to be completed this summer.

Mina arrives to provide competition for Samuel Umtiti, Gerard Pique and Thomas Vermaelen in defense.

The Catalan club said in a statement: “He will bring a physical presence as his 1.95 metre frame suggests but he is also a quick, ball-playing defender. The Colombian, who is joining from Palmeiras, uses his aerial prowess to impose himself and score goals.”

Mina has won nine caps for Colombia, scoring three goals, and becomes the first-ever player from his homeland to represent Barcelona.

He joined Palmeiras in 2016 from Bogota-based Santa Fe, who are in line to receive a small windfall from the transfer.

Former Colombia international Faustino Asprilla says Mina is more than ready to take the leap to the Camp Nou, comparing him to former Barca and Juventus defender Lilian Thuram.

“Mina’s ready to play for Barcelona,” Asprilla said last month. “He already plays for Colombia, he’s good on the ball, quick and dominates in the air. He would adapt quickly and he has a lot of character. He reminds me of Thuram.”

Lionel Messi Signs New Contract with Barcelona Until 2021

Lionel Messi isn’t going anywhere…

The 30-year-old Argentine soccer star has ended speculation about his future by signing a new contract with Futbol Club Barcelona until 2021.

Lionel Messi

Messi’s previous deal was due to expire at the end of the season, but this is the ninth professional contract the Argentina international has signed since he moved to Camp Nou and commits him to the club until he is 34.

Barca announced the news in an official club statement, which read: “FC Barcelona and Lionel Messi signed on Saturday morning a new contract that will keep the Argentinian superstar at the Club through the 2020/21 season.

“The buyout clause was set at €700m. Thus, by the time the new deal expires, Messi will have spent 17 years with the first team.”

On his official Twitter account, Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu said: “We are in luck with the Barça players. We continue to enjoy the best player in the history of football.”

Messi avoided the chance to clear up the doubts about his Barcelona contract situation as he accepted the European Golden Shoe award on Friday.

Barcelona had already announced that Messi had agreed to a new deal until 2021 in July but the forward had not yet signed the contract himself.

There had been some concern over his future as Barca allowed him to edge closer to the end of his deal.

At various points throughout the last year he was linked with a move away from Catalonia, with a number of clubs reported to be monitoring the situation, including Manchester City.

However, Barca always remained optimistic that he would renew, telling ESPN FC in November that they were confident he would pen a new deal.

Messi joined Barca in 2001 from Newell’s Old Boys, made his first-team debut against Espanyol in 2004 and has since gone on to win 30 trophies with the club, including eight La Ligas and four Champions Leagues.

Messi scored the first of his club record 523 goals — they have come in just 602 matches — against Albacete in May 2005 and has since claimed the Ballon d’Or on five occasions, more than any other player.

Roca Named New Bengaluru Football Club Head Coach

It’s the start of an Indian summer for Albert Roca

The 53-year-old Spanish futbol coach has been named the new head coach of the Bengaluru Football Club.

Albert Roca

He joins the Indian champions on a two-season deal after the departure of Englishman Ashley Westwood.

Roca was most recently in charge of the El Salvador national team. He’s perhaps best known as Frank Rijkaard‘s long-time assistant at Barcelona and Saudi Arabia.

As a player, the former central defender spent two seasons in La Liga and more than a decade in the Spanish second tier.

“I’m very satisfied to have signed with Bengaluru FC,” Roca told the AFC.

“They are the champions of India, have fantastic supporters and most importantly, have a great support system and a management that is always hands on and wants to stay at the top. I want to assure our supporters that we will always give it our best. I want the supporters to be happy about the way we play.”

Roca was in charge of El Salvador for two years from 2014 and faced up to Vicente Del Bosque‘s Spain, losing 2-0 in the United States.

He worked under Rijkaard at the Camp Nou between 2003-08 when Barcelona won two La Liga titles and the 2005-06 Champions League crown.

His first competitive matches for Bengaluru will be against Tampines Rovers on September 14 and 21 over two legs in the final eight of the AFC Cup.

Neymar Expresses Interest in Extending Contract with FC Barcelona

Neymar doesn’t want to move…

The 23-year-old Brazilian soccer star said he wants to extend his contract with FC Barcelona after scoring more goals in Saturday’s 4-0 La Liga win against Real Sociedad at Camp Nou.

Neymar

La Liga leaders Barcelona strolled to victory against the Basque side — with Neymar and Luis Suarez scoring in the first half, and the Brazilian netting his second after the break before Lionel Messi wrapped up the scoring late on.

The latest display from the Catalan side’s superstar attacking trio showed just how well they dove-tail on the pitch, and comes amid further speculation of behind-the-scenes negotiations about a new deal that would tie reported Manchester United target Neymar to Barca for a further three years until 2021.