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.

Lionel Messi Leads Barcelona to 1-0 Win Over Atletico Madrid

Lionel Messi leads Barcelona back to the top of the standings…

The 32-year-old Argentine soccer star hit a sensational late goal on Sunday to give Barcelona FC a 1-0 win against rival Atletico Madrid, as the team reclaimed the top spot in La Liga from Real Madrid.

Lionel Messi

Messi, playing his 701st game for Barca, settled a pulsating and tense encounter in the 86th minute, galloping down the right wing before cutting inside and playing a one-two with Luis Suarez before guiding the ball into the bottom corner.

It was Messi’s first goal against Atletico at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium and gave his side their first win over their rivals at the ground in three attempts after successive draws in the last two seasons.

“Whenever you have a game like this which is really tight and really tough, being able to count on Messi is always an advantage,” said Barca coach Ernesto Valverde.

The strike saw Barca return to the top of the standings with 31 points after 14 games, ahead of Real Madrid on goal difference, while Atletico were left in the sixth spot with 25 points, having played one match more than Barca and Real.

Both sides hit the woodwork and Barca keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen also made two stunning saves, while Atletico felt that Gerard Pique should have been shown a second yellow card in the second half for a late tackle on Alvaro Morata.

Atletico were also fortunate not to have a player sent off when Vitolo slammed into Pique’s knee with a fierce challenge a few minutes later after picking up an earlier booking.

“We feel very hard done by,” said Atletico midfielder Saul Niguez. “We played superbly and Barcelona had hardly any chances but when Messi appears he is capable of doing anything and he made it look so easy, that’s why he is the best.”

Atletico had won only one of their previous six games in all competitions and looked intent on making an early statement as they came out pressing Barca high up the pitch and peppering their box with crosses.

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.

Rafael Nadal Leads Spain to Davis Cup Title Over Canada

Rafael Nadalhas helped Spain win big…

The 33-year-old Spanish tennis star, ranked No. 1 in the world, risked injury by playing eight matches — five singles, three doubles — in six days at the Davis Cup Finals, the new World Cup of tennis.

Rafael Nadal

Nadal won all of them, leading Spain to its sixth Davis Cup title after a 2-0 win over first-time finalist Canada on Sunday.

But in Nadal’s view, the only hero for Spain was grieving teammate Roberto Bautista Agut. He sent Spain on its way to victory by winning the first singles match on Sunday, three days after the death of his father.

“I’ve won the eight matches but the person who was vital in this Davis Cup was Roberto,” Nadal said. “For me, what he did was something almost inhuman. I don’t know how to explain it. It will be an example for the rest of my life. He had to leave, then his dad died, then he came back and practiced with us yesterday, and today he was ready again to play at a very high level. It was something incredible.”

Spain Davis Cup

Before Nadal defeated Denis Shapovalov 6-3, 7-6 (7) to clinch the title — Spain’s first since also winning at home in 2011 — Bautista Agut had given Spain a 1-0 lead by beating Felix Auger-Aliassime7-6 (3), 6-3.

Bautista Agut pointed his finger to the sky after winning the final point in his match, and was in tears while speaking briefly to the crowd, which chanted his name. And he was the Spanish player lifting the cup in the title celebrations.

Bautista Agut’s father died on Thursday — a day after his son had defeated Nikola Mektic of Croatia — with his health deteriorating quickly after an illness that stemmed from a 2016 accident.

Bautista Agut, No. 9 in the world, played as teammates Pablo Carreno Busta and Marcel Granollers nursed injuries entering the final.

As for Nadal, he considered himself lucky to be able to play all matches.

“It’s true that I held up, but we know that playing so many matches in this [hard-court] surface is risky for me, something can happen at any time,” Nadal said. “That’s how it’s been in the past, but luckily I held up.”

Spain’s Granollers and Feliciano Lopezhad been scheduled to face Shapovalov and Vasek Pospisilin the now-canceled doubles match, although Nadal was likely to play if the title had been at stake. Nadal played in the decisive doubles on Friday and Saturday.

Voted the tournament’s best player, Nadal sealed the title with his 29th straight Davis Cup singles win, igniting the home crowd’s celebrations.

Tournament organizer and Barcelona soccer star Gerard Pique, his wife Shakira — who performed in the closing ceremony — and Spanish King Felipe VI were among those celebrating Spain’s triumph.

Spain’s other Davis Cup titles were in 2000, ’04, ’08, ’09 and ’11.

The new Davis Cup Finals is the result of a 25-year partnership between the International Tennis Federation and the Kosmos group co-founded by Pique.

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.

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.”

Neymar Returns to FIFPro World 11 Team

Neymar is officially back on the list…

The 25-year-old Brazilian soccer star, a forward for Paris Saint-Germain and the Brazil national team, joins Gianluigi Buffon and Leonardo Bonucci as the new names in the 2017 FIFPro World 11, joining the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Neymar

Neymar returns to the World 11 after a year’s absence, replacing his former Barcelona teammate Luis Suarez.

Juventus and Italy goalkeeper Buffon was named to the team for the first time since 2007, ending a four-year reign by Bayern Munich‘s Manuel Neuer.

AC Milan’s Bonucci is the only new defender since last year’s awards, receiving the honor for the first time at age 30. He edged out Barcelona’s Gerard Pique, who FIFA said was the closest player left out.

Messi and Ronaldo were both named to the team for the eleventh straight time, sharing the record for the most appearances since the world players union’s award began in 2005.

Barcelona’s Messi received the most votes with 22,229 — only 14 more than Sergio Ramos, who made the team for a sixth straight edition and seventh overall.

Real Madrid had the most players on the list with five as Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Marcelo retained their spots along with Ramos and Ronaldo.

Goalkeeper: Gianluigi Buffon (Italy, Juventus)

Defenders: Dani Alves (Brazil, Juventus/Paris Saint-Germain), Leonardo Bonucci (Italy, Juventus/AC Milan), Sergio Ramos (Spain, Real Madrid), Marcelo (Brazil, Real Madrid)

Midfielders: Luka Modric (Croatia, Real Madrid), Toni Kroos (Germany, Real Madrid), Andres Iniesta (Spain, Barcelona)

Forwards: Lionel Messi (Argentina, Barcelona), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal, Real Madrid), Neymar (Brazil, Barcelona/Paris Saint-Germain)

Shakira Notches 37th Career Hit on Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs Chart with “Me Enamoré”

Make that 37 hits for Shakira

The 40-year-old Colombian superstar’s earns her 37th career hit on Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart as “Me Enamoré” bows at No. 11 on the chart dated April 29.

Shakira

The song, the second single from her forthcoming album, is an ode to Shakira’s relationship with Spanish soccer star Gerard Pique.

The track lifts 168 percent at radio (to 8.2 million audience impressions in the week ending April 16, according to Nielsen Music), triggering a 42-12 jump on the Latin Airplay chart after debuting with partial week data following its April 7 release.

The song arrives with 1.1 million U.S. streams and 7,000 downloads in the week ending April 13.

Shakira is tied with Ana Gabriel for the third-most Hot Latin Songs hits among women. Ednita Nazario leads with 52, followed by Olga Tañón with 38.

Mascherano Renews Contract with Barcelona

Javier Mascherano is staying put…

The 32-year-old Argentine soccer player has renewed his contract with Futbol Club Barcelona until June 30, 2019, according to officials from the Catalan club.

Javier Mascherano
Mascherano has established himself in recent years in the heart of the defense alongside Gerard Pique, making together an irreplaceable duo.

This summer, however, Barcelona has signed French Samuel Umtiti to generate more competition in this defensive point.

Mascherano, according to the club’s official website, will be entering his seventh season at Barça in 2016/17. Signed from Liverpool in 2010, the defender has gained the adoration of the fans for his leadership and effort.

In his time at Barça, Mascherano has always played over 40 matches per season, 282 in total, and has picked up 16 titles along the way.

Shakira & Carlos Vives Release Their Collaboration “La Bicicleta”

Shakira is pedaling her latest collaboration…

The 39-year-old Colombian singer-songwriter has joined voices with Carlos Vives to release their new song “La Bicicleta,” the first collaboration between the two Colombian artists.

Shakira & Carlos Vives

The vallenato-reggaeton track pays homage to the singers’ respective hometowns, which are located on Colombia’s Caribbean coast.

“Hey, Carlos take me on your bicycle, and if you ever show Piqué the Tayrona, he won’t want to return to Barcelona,” sings Shakira, alluding to her boyfriend, Barcelona soccer player Gerard Piqué.

The music video for “La Bicicleta” was shot in Vives’ native Santa Marta and Shakira’s Barranquilla. The two Latin superstars shared photos on social media while filming the clip.

“This is a song that represents us both very well. He is the king of vallenato,” said Shakira about the collab. “He is one of the most impressive artists that Colombia has given us. I’ve always admired him, the style of his compositions, his charisma, his commitment to our country, his incomparable artistic talent and I’m very honored to be invited to participate in this project.”