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.”

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.

Sanchez Helps Propel Chile to Copa America Title Win Over Argentina

Alexis Sanchez is kicking his way into the history books…

The 26-year-old Chilean soccer player, who plays for English club Arsenal and the Chilean national team, helped lead his country to its first Copa America title on Saturday.

Alexis Sanchez

Chile defeated Argentina 4-1 in the penalty shootout, which followed two hours of scoreless action on the field.

Sanchez gave his country the win after Argentines Gonzalo Higuain and Ever Banega failed to convert from 11 meters (36 feet), ending a drought of nearly 100 years for La Roja in the oldest international continental soccer competition.

The final at Santiago’s National Stadium was a clash of titans, an intense battle that was characterized more by the teams’ effort and hustle than artful play.

Chile won the possession battle from the outset, imposing its ball-control style against a side that also typically dominates in that facet of the game.

That led to a golden opportunity in the 11th minute for Chilean midfielder Arturo Vidal, who received a ball that had been lobbed in the air on a deflection by an Argentine defender and nearly booted it past goalkeeper Sergio Romero, who was forced to make a diving save.

Fourteen-time Copa America champion Argentina also had some chances in the first half, including a header at point-blank range by Sergio “Kun” Agüero that Chilean Claudio Bravo was able to deflect out of play.

In the second half, Argentine midfielders Lucas Biglia and Javier Mascherano struggled to impose any order in their team’s attack, rendering super-striker Lionel Messi unable to work any playmaking magic.

With the Chilean crowd urging them on, Jorge Sampaoli’s squad aggressively sought out the winning goal and was nearly rewarded for their efforts when a shot by Sanchez barely missed the mark in the 82nd minute.

Then on the final play of regulation, Argentina had its best scoring opportunity of the match when Ezequiel Lavezzi received the ball on the left side from Messi and sent a pass that scooted past Bravo and found Higuain, but the Argentine forward received the ball too close to the goal line and could only slam a shot into the side of the net.

The extra period was mostly uneventful, with both teams wary of making a costly error, although a miscue by Mascherano nearly ended in a goal for Sanchez in the 15th minute.

Argentine’s offensive ineptness continued in the penalty shootout, with Higuain sending his shot far over the crossbar and Bravo denying Banega’s attempt, leaving Messi as the only member of the Albiceleste to score.

Sanchez put the finishing touch on the historic victory with a soft strike that slowly bounded into the left half of the goal after Romero had dived to the other side.

Chile finally won the Copa America title match in its fifth appearance to end nearly a century of frustration at this event, which was known as the South American Championship between 1916 and 1967.

La Roja finished runner-up in 1955 (when it was also the host nation), 1956, 1979 and 1987.

Mascherano’s Words of Encouragement to Sergio Romero Go Viral

It’s no wonder Javier Mascherano is considered Argentina’s de facto team captain…

The 30-year-old Argentine footballer’s inspiring words to the team’s goalie Sergio Romero during his team’s FIFA World Cup semifinal match against the Netherlands on Wednesday, just moments before the end of the match, have gone viral thanks to a Vine clip, and made him a star in his own right

Sergio Romero

“Listen to me. It’s today. Today, you become a hero,” says Mascherano seconds before the penalty kicks showdown that closed the semifinals.

Romero saved two penalty kicks from the Netherlands, making Mascherano’s words ring true and leading his team to victory — and the final match against Germany on Sunday.

Vine footage of that short and powerful dialog quickly went viral, prompting Mascherano, who lead his team in a legendary performance against The Netherlands and tackled a very dangerous shot by the Dutch’s feared star Arjen Robben,to nationwide praise throughout social media.

Memes were also replicated all over Facebook and Twitter, comparing the FC Barcelona midfielder to Che Guevara and South American Liberator Jose de San Martin, among other strong and brave leaders.

“Must say, Mascherano was immense. What a heart!” tweeted England football star Gary Lineker.

The social media buzz even earned him Chuck Norris status through the hashtag #maschefacts, with posts like: “Mascherano asks bouncers for their IDs,” “Mascherano can win the Hunger Games with a teaspoon,” and “Mascherano goes to negotiate with vulture funds and brings back change,” among others.

Soccer Star Xavi Weds Fiancee Nuria Cunillera

Xavi Hernandez is officially off the market…

The 33-year-old Spanish soccer star, a midfielder for Futbol Club Barcelona, has married his fiancée Nuria Cunillera.

Xavi Hernandez

The couple tied the knot in a ceremony at the Marimurtra Botanical Garden in the Spanish city of Blanes on Saturday night before some 180 invited guests, including most of the soccer team.

Following the ceremony, Hernandez and his new wife held the reception at the neighboring building “El Convent,” a 16th century structure.

The Barça star’s nuptials attracted about 100 curious members of the public who cheered Hernandez when he arrived at the botanical garden, which offers several magnificent views of the Costa Brava.

Among the guests at the ceremony were Barça midfielder Sergio Busquets, former players Santi Ezquerro, Oleguer Presas, Gabri Garcia and Albert Jorquera, as well as former Athletic Bilbao player Joseba Etxeberria.

The last guests to arrive, accompanied by their spouses or girlfriends, were Cesc Fabregas, Leo Messi, Javier Mascherano, Pedro Rodriguez, Jordi Alba and Andres Iniesta, who all showed up together in one vehicle and sparked a frenzy among fans who were waiting at the door.

Cunillera was the last to arrive riding in an antique Bentley.

The newly married couple are said to be planning a honeymoon in the Seychelles this summer.

Daddy Yankee to Perform at Messi’s Charity Soccer Match

Daddy Yankee is partnering with soccer star Lionel Messi to raise money for at-risk children…

The 35-year-old Puerto Rican reggaeton star will perform Thursday in Bogota during Match of the Stars, a benefit soccer match that aiming to raise money for the Leo Messi Foundation.

Daddy Yankee

“I wanted to accompany Messi and the rest of the players who are getting behind this cause,” Daddy Yankee said about the project organized by the 24-year-old Argentine futbolista, who was recently named the world’s best soccer player for the third straight year.

Daddy Yankee, the mastermind behind the popular songs “Gasolina” and “Impacto,” will sing during the halftime show at the exhibition game to be played at Bogota’s iconic El Campin stadium.

The money raised for the Messi Foundation will be used to help needy children in Colombia.

“Colombia has given me a lot and we have to support every initiative that helps make sure that the different foundations sheltering poor boys and girls in Colombia can to keep caring for them,” said Daddy Yankee.

During his halftime show, Daddy Yankee will premiere his new single “Pasarela” for the Colombian audience, as well as perform his hit song “Lovumba.” Both singles are included on his latest album Prestige, which goes on sale later this summer.

The lineup for the Match of the Stars will include the Argentines Messi and Javier Mascherano, Uruguayans Diego Forlan and Luis Suarez and the Colombian Radamel Falcao, all of whom will take part in the World Soccer Masters Tour at Miami’s Sun Life Stadium on Saturday, June 23.