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.

Formiga Signs One-Year Contract Extension with Paris Saint-Germain’s Women’s Side

Formiga is staying in the game…

The 42-year-old Brazilian footballerwill extend her professional career into a 27th season after signing a one-year contract extension with Paris Saint-Germain‘s women’s side.

Formiga

Formigais the French side’s vice-captain and is now tied to the club until the summer of 2021.

Formiga – whose full name is Miraildes Maciel Mota– has been in Paris since January of 2017 when she joined from Sao Jose.

She scored four goals en route to winning the 2018 Coupe de Franceand has made 77 PSGappearances. She set the record for the oldest female scorer in European competition at 41 years and 193 days when she found the net in a 7-0 rout of Sporting Bragain the Champions Leagueround-of-16 first leg in September 2019.

In 2015, Formiga became the oldest scorer at a women’s World Cupwhen she netted at the age of 37 years, three months and six days.

She broke another record in France last summer when she played in her seventh World Cup– 24 years after the first of her 195 caps, in which she has scored 29 goals.

Formiga was also a Copa Americawinner with Brazil in 2018 and has made six Olympic appearances with the aim of retiring from the professional game after the rearranged 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

PSG were second to Lyon in the table, three points behind and due to host the leaders next, when football was brought to a global standstill by the coronavirus.

Although the French Football Federationhave since announced that the 2019-20 season has been brought to premature end, Lyon have not yet been officially crowned champions for a record 14th time.

Gio Reyna Becomes Youngest American to Play in the Champions League

Gio Reyna’s name has been etched in the soccer history books…

The 17-year-old part-Argentine American soccer player made his Champions League debut on Tuesday for Borussia Dortmund against Paris Saint-Germain, becoming the youngest American to play in Champions League at 17 years and 97 days.

Gio Reyna

Reyna was promoted to the Dortmund senior squad in January after only having joined the club’s academy in the summer of 2019 and has since gained game time in every match. 

A member of the U.S. squad at last year’s Under-17 World Cup, Reyna made his senior team debut for Dortmund on January 18 in a Bundesliga match at Augsburg.

Reyna had already scored in Dortmund’s German Cupdefeat at Werder Bremenearlier this month, but was instrumental for his side on Tuesday as he set up Erling Haaland’s second goal in a 2-1 first-leg win over PSG.

At 17 years, 3 months. 5 days, Reyna bettered the mark for youngest American set by Gedion Zelalemwhen he played for Arsenalat 17 years, 317 days old. Chelsea star Christian Pulisicwas four days shy of his 18th birthday when he made his Champions League debut while with Dortmund in a group phase opener at Legia Warsawin 2016. Pulisic started and assisted on Dortmund’s fifth goal in a 6-0 win.

His father, USMNTgreat Claudio Reyna, appeared in eight Champions League group phase matches for Glasgow Rangersin 1999 and 2000 and also scored a key goal in a Champions League qualifier in 1999 against UEFA Cupchampion Parma. Claudio scored eight goals in 112 appearances for the U.S. from 1994 to 2006, appearing in three World Cups. Gio Reyna’s mother, Danielle Egan Reyna, scored one goal in six appearances for the U.S. women’s side in 2003.

Speaking to reporters after Tuesday’s match, Gio Reyna said he was proud the team got such an important victory and of his assist to Haaland for the winner, only two minutes after Neymar levelled the score.

“A lot of emotions are going through my head right now,” he said. “To get my Champions League debut against Paris was a dream come true for me. To get an assist was even better.

“We knew Paris are such a good team. And the result is the most important thing. The way we fought as a team was so impressive,” he said. “Our work ethic and our will to win games really showed tonight.”

“It’s a super pass from Reyna,” Dortmund coach Lucien Favresaid of the ball that set up Haaland’s goal. “He plays it in brilliantly. He orients the ball very, very quickly.

Diego Alonso Named Head Coach of Inter Miami CF

Diego Alonsois headed to Miami…

Inter Miami CF has appointed the 44-year-old Uruguayan football coach and former player as their first ever head coach, the club has announced.

Diego Alonso

Alonso most recently served as head coach for CF Monterrey in Liga MX, where he led them to the 2019 CONCACAF Champions Leaguetitle.

“In Diego we found a manager that fits our culture and has a strong desire to build a winning club for our fans,” the club’s sporting director Paul McDonoughsaid in a statement.

“He brings a lot of experience and championship-winning mentality as we begin our drive to be among the best clubs in the Americas. We have big aspirations for our club and believe Diego has the right drive, passion and leadership to accomplish our goals.”

Prior to coaching Monterrey, Alonso guided Pachuca to the CONCACAF Champions League crown in 2017. He also coached clubs in Paraguay and Uruguay before moving to Mexico.

Inter Miami’s inaugural season opens on March 1 at LAFC.

The club also announced the signings of defender Denso Ulysse and goalkeeper Drake Callenderlast week, while they also traded for United States international Juan Agudelo.

Lionel Messi Wins Record Sixth Ballon d’Or

Make that a whopping six for Lionel Messi

The 32-year-old Argentine soccer star became the first men’s footballer to win the Ballon d’Or award for a sixth time, taking the award for the world’s top men’s player on Monday at a Paris gala.

iLionel Messi

Messi scored 46 times for club and country in 2019 — including the only goal in FC Barcelona‘s 1-0 win over Atletico Madrid on Sunday. He also helped the Camp Nou side win La Liga.

Messi beat out Liverpooldefender Virgil van Dijk, who was instrumental in helping Liverpool win the Champions League, for the award voted on by a panel of international journalists.

“I am very lucky, I am blessed. I hope I will continue for a long time,” Messi told reporters. “I realize that I’m lucky even if one day it will be time to retire.

“It will be tough, but I still have some years ahead of me. Time flies, so I will enjoy football and my family.”

Messi also came out on top in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015 and he is now one clear of Cristiano Ronaldo, who has five.

Liverpool forward Sadio Mane finished fourth behind Ronaldo in the final voting.

“It was amazing,” Van Dijk said. “There are a couple of players like him [Messi] who are fantastic. I’m proud of what I’ve achieved with Liverpool and Holland. It’s going to be tough [to win the award] when these guys are around.”

Messi’s and Ronaldo’s 10-year grip on the award organized by France Footballmagazine was ended last year by Luka Modric.

But Messi was back on top of his game over the past 12 months. He scored 36 times last season en route to a 10th Spanish La Liga title, and was the Champions League top scorer. His goals in La Liga also made him the top scorer in Europe’s biggest leagues, earning him the Golden Shoeaward.

“A few years ago, I received my first Ballon d’Or here in Paris,” Messi said. “I was 22 years old. It was something unthinkable at the time. Today is my sixth Ballon d’Or. As my wife used to say, you should never stop dreaming but always work to improve and continue to enjoy yourself.”

United States soccer star Megan Rapinoewon the Women’s Ballon d’Oraward after being voted the tournament’s best player and joint top scorer as the USWNTwon the 2019 World Cupin France.

Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson was the first-ever recipient of the Yachine Trophy, given to the best goalkeeper. The 27-year-old Brazilian international beat out Marc-Andre ter Stegen of Barcelona and countryman Ederson of Manchester City.

Dutchman Matthijs de Ligt, a key player in Ajax Amsterdam‘s thrilling run to the Champions League semifinals and now at Juventus, won the Kopa Trophyfor the best under-21 male player in the world.

Lionel Messi Among the Barcelona FC Teammates Featured in New Documentary “Matchday”

Lionel Messi is sharing his life story with the world…

Matchday, a new behind the scenes documentary about Barcelona FC‘s 2018-19 season gives viewers access to exclusive never seen before footage, including a special look at the 32-year-old Argentine soccer star.

Lionel Messi

The documentary, narrated by Hollywood actor John Malkovich, offers a glimpse into the life of one of the world’s biggest soccer stars.

The documentary centers on eight key games from last season where Barcawon La Liga and reached the semifinals of the Champions League, where it was blown away by Liverpoolin one of the greatest comebacks in the history of European football.

There’s also footage from outside the locker room with cameras being allowed into the players’ homes including a barbecue at Luis Suarez‘s house where he’s joined by Messi and Jordi Alba.

Gerard Piqueis also featured, spending time with his family, while Ivan Rakiticshows off his culinary skills and Marc-Andre ter Stegentalks about designing his new home.

Last week, in front of an adoring home crowd at the Camp Nouin a Champions League match against German team Borussia Dortmund, Messi made it 700 appearances for Barca, games in which he’s contributed 613 goals and 237 assists.

Messi scored one and set up two others as Barca claimed top spot in Group F with a 3-1 win over Dortmund.

Barca is just the latest big soccer club to allow cameras into the club. Manchester Cityand Juventushave both been subjects of documentaries while a series on Tottenhamis currently being filmed by Amazon.

The series, which consists of eight 45-minute episodes, is being broadcast by Rakuten TV , with the documentary also being shown in Japan.

Real Madrid Phenom Rodrygo Makes History with Hat-Trick Against Galatasaray

Rodrygo is proving age is but a number while making history…

The 18-year-old Brazilian soccer player and Real Madrid forward scored a blistering hat-trick as his team pummeled Galatasaray 6-0 at home on Wednesday to take a giant step towards qualifying for the Champions League knockout stages.

Rodrygo

Rodrygo put the 13-times European champions ahead in the fourth minute by turning two defenders in the area and firing into the bottom corner to score for the first time in Europe’s elite competition.

Rodrygo struck again in the seventh by nodding home a cross from compatriot Marcelo, completing the fastest double in Champions League history.

Real Madrid didn’t ease off after their rampant start and extended their lead in the 13th minute with a typically cheeky ‘Panenka‘ penalty from captain Sergio Ramos.

Karim Benzema netted their fourth on the stroke of halftime, knocking the ball into the net after another thrilling piece of play from Rodrygo.

Benzema struck again from close range in the second half to move on to 50 Champions League goals for his club, moving ahead of Real great Alfredo Di Stefano as the Spanish side’s third top scorer in Europe’s top competition.

But the night belonged to Rodrygo, who rounded off a dream home European debut at the Santiago Bernabeuby completing his treble in added time, racing towards goal and exchanging passes with Benzema before tapping into the net.

Rodrygo, who became the second-youngest player to score a hat-trick in the Champions League after Real great Raul, was serenaded by the home crowd.

“Hearing the Bernabeu singing my name is a dream come true,” Rodrygo said. “I’m so happy, it has been a joyous night but I must try and stay calm.”

Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane praised the youngster’s performance.

“When he has the chance to play, he plays well and he’s done it again,” Zidane said. “It doesn’t surprise me, we all know the quality he has. He came here to do what he’s doing. This is just the beginning. Let’s hope he carries on like this. We need to stay calm with him.”

Real Madrid, who picked up only one point from their first two games in the competition, are second in Group A with seven points from four matches.

Their next opponents Paris Saint-Germain are at the top with 12, with Club Brugge third on two and Galatasaray bottom on one.

Victory over PSG, who have reached the last 16, would send Real Madrid into the knockout stage with a game to spare.

Paris Saint-Germain Signs Goalkeeper Keylor Navas from Real Madrid

Keylor Navasis headed to the City of Light

Paris Saint-Germain has completed the signing of the 32-year-old Costa Rican professional footballer and goalkeeper from Real Madrid on a permanent basis with Alphonse Areola moving in the opposite direction.

Keylor Navas

Navas established himself as the Spanish giants’ first-choice goalkeeper after his arrival in 2014 from Levanteand helped Real Madrid to three consecutive Champions Leaguetitles between 2016 and 2018.

Navas said in a tweet: “If God changes our plan it is because he has something better in mind. I hope to begin a new path and make history with PSG.”

Navas also won the La LigaSupercopa de Espana, two UEFA Super Cupsand three FIFA Club World Cuptitles but has since fallen to second in the pecking order behind Thibaut Courtois.

He joins PSG as No. 1 ahead of Sergio Rico and fellow summer signing Marcin Bulka — a move that ends years of uncertainty over the goalkeeping hierarchy.

Navas, who underwent his medical in Spain, should debut for the French champions at home to Strasbourg in Ligue 1 after the international break.

He’ll also immediately come up against his former employers Madrid in the opening match of PSG’s Champions League Group A campaign at Parc des Princes.

Areola moves to the Bernabeu on a one-year loan deal with no option to purchase.

Real Madrid’s Dani Ceballos to Join Arsenal on Season-Long Loan

Dani Ceballosis weaponizing…

The 22-year-old Spanish professional footballer has agreed to join Arsenal on a season-long loan with the Gunners expected to finalize the terms of the agreement with Real Madrid soon, according to ESPN FC.

Dani Ceballos

Tottenham HotspurSevilla and AC Milan also tried to sign the midfielder but different sources told ESPN FCthat Unai Emery has been decisive in Ceballos accepting Arsenal’s proposal even though they won’t participate in the Champions League this season.

Another key factor in Ceballos’ decision was Arsenal’s flexibility to accept a personal loans deal without an option to buy as opposed to the Spurs‘ insistence on a permanent deal being an eventual feature of any deal they made.

Ceballos has failed to establish himself at Madrid since joining from Real Betis in 2017, but club sources trust that this loan will help him to earn “regular time” and prove why Real Madrid “made a big gamble” on him in the summer of 2017.

Ceballos caught the attention of Milan, Tottenham, Sevilla and Arsenal after helping Spainwin the European Under-21 Championshipearlier in the summer.

Ceballos wanted to leave on loan to find regular playing time and decided the Premier Leaguewas the best place to continue his development.

Tottenham looked the favorites but sources close to Emery said he has been “key” in the decision as the Arsenal manager is ready to “to give him regular game time to prove his worth” and to “give him freedom to shape the game in the midfield.”

The agreement between clubs is also on track and several media outlets in Spain are even claiming that that the player could undergo his medical exams this week before travelling to USA to join Arsenal in their preseason tour.

David De Gea Among 55 Players in Contention for FIFPro and FIFA’s World XI

David De Gea is in the running…

The 27-year-old Spanish soccer play, a goalkeeper for Premier League club Manchester United and Spain’s national team, is among the contenders in the reckoning to feature in FIFPro and FIFA‘s World XI.

David De Gea 

FIFPro and its affiliated player associations asked professional footballers to pick a team from the best players in world football last season.

It will include one goalkeeper, four defenders, three midfielders and three attackers who were the best at their position in 2017-18.

Once the 55 players have been selected, the XI will be unveiled by FIFA and FIFPro during the Best FIFA Football Awards ceremony in London on September 24.

De Gea, on a five-man shortlist that includes last year’s winner Gianluigi Buffon, is joined by Manchester United teammate Paul Pogba.

Other Latino players on the list include Barcelona‘s Philippe Coutinho, Real Madrid‘s Isco (Francisco Román Alarcón Suárez) and Manchester City’s David SilvaAndres Iniesta, who left Barcelona for Japan’s Vissel Kobe, is on the list for the 12th year in a row. He has already won nine World XI awards, including last year’s.

Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos— who lifted Real Madris’s third successive Champions League trophy, at the expense of Liverpool– also appears on the list alongside his Madrid teammate Marcelo.

The 20-strong list of defenders also includes Barcelona’s Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba. Daniel Alves and Ramos are on the list for the 12th consecutive time, level with Bayern Munich legend Philipp Lahm. All three now share the record among defenders.

This is the 14th edition of the World XI.

Here’s the complete list:

Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon, Thibaut Courtois, David De Gea, Keylor Navas, Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Defenders: Jordi Alba, Dani Alves, Daniel Carvajal, Giorgio Chiellini, Virgil van Dijk, Diego Godin, Mats Hummels, Joshua Kimmich, Dejan Lovren, Marcelo, Yerry Mina, Benjamin Pavard, Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos, Thiago Silva, Kieran Trippier, Samuel Umtiti, Raphael Varane, Sime Vrsaljko, Kyle Walker.

Midfielders: Sergio Busquets, Casemiro, Philippe Coutinho, Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard, Andres Iniesta, Isco, N’Golo Kante, Toni Kroos, Nemanja Matic, Luka Modric, Paul Pogba, Ivan Rakitic, David Silva, Arturo Vidal.