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.

Real Madrid’s Navas Sets La Liga Clean Sheet Record

Keylor Navas is a perfect No. 10 in the La Liga record books…

The 28-year-old Costa Rican soccer player has broken a club record for clean sheets at the start of a season, after racking up a fourth consecutive clean sheet in La Liga and fifth in a row in all competitions with his clean sheet in Real Madrid’s 1-0 win over Granada on Saturday.

Keylor Navas

Navas is the tenth goalkeeper in La Liga’s 86-year history to record such a streak at the beginning of the campaign.

The fifth straight shutout since the start of 2015-16 betters former Real Madrid keeper Miguel Angel‘s sequence of four on the spin at the beginning of the 1975-76 campaign.

“It was a difficult night for me at the end of the transfer market but that is now in the past,” Navas told reporters.

“Now I am thinking of the present and the coach [Rafa Benitez] believes in me. I have had the chance to stay and I will give my best. I am very grateful to the Real fans for their support which is not easy to earn.”

Marca reports that Navas is now just 10 minutes away from bettering Iker Casillas‘ personal best without conceding a goal, after the Spaniard went 460 minutes without being beaten in 2008-09.

Before Navas, Claudio Bravo was the last man to join the exclusive club of keepers to have remained unbeaten four weeks into the La Liga season, with the Chilean settling quickly into life at Barça last term. Real Madrid’s only other member of this hall of fame is Miguel Ángel, who didn’t concede in any of his first four league appearances in 1975-76.

Navas’ streak has put him in the esteemed company of Barça legends Salvador Sadurní (1968-69), the first to achieve the feat, and Pello Artola (1977-78); Atlético Madrid great Abel Resino (1991-92); Deportivo‘s Paco Liaño (1993-94); Real Sociedad‘s José Ramón Esnaola (1970-71); Celta Vigo‘s Pablo Cavallero (2001-02), Zaragoza‘s Manolo Villanova (1972-73) and Compostela‘s Javier Falagán (1995-96).

Alonso Agrees to Two-Year Deal with Bayern Munich

Xabi Alonso is leaving his beloved home country and heading to Germany…

The 32-year-old Spanish soccer star has agreed to a two-year contract with Bayern Munich for an undisclosed fee.

Xabi Alonso

Alonso had been a midfielder for Real Madrid for five years following his £30m move from Liverpool in 2009.

Alonso, a Champions League winner in May, had just signed a new two-year deal in January.

Bayern moved for Alonso after Toni Kroos joined Madrid following the World Cup and fellow Spaniard Javi Martinez was ruled out until 2015 with a knee injury.

“He has bags of experience and a big personality,” said Bayern boss Pep Guardiola.

“We need a player with his quality and vision. I know he’s 32 but that doesn’t matter in this position, where you need intelligent players, rather than the legs and stamina for the flanks.”

“I had a great time here, we have won big things and now a new chapter opens for me. It was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to take,” said Alonso. “The club did not want me to go. It was my decision and I asked them to understand. The club didn’t share my idea but they understood my need to start a new chapter, to start from zero in a new club.”

Alonso, who won two European Championships and a World Cup with Spain, joined Liverpool from Real Sociedad in 2004 where he won the Champions League at the end of his first season.

Casillas Named IFFHS’ Goalkeeper of the Year

Íker Casillas has reached his goal again…

The 31-year-old Spanish soccer star, captain of Real Madrid and the Spanish national soccer team, has been named goalkeeper of the year for the fifth straight time by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS).
Casillas earned 224 points in voting by sports journalists worldwide to beat out Juventus and Italian national team goalie Gianluigi Buffon, who received 128 points.

Iker Casillas

Chelsea’s Petr Cech finished third with 92 points, followed by Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer with 85, Manchester City’s Joe Hart with 26 and Barcelona’s Victor Valdes with 15.

Prior to winning the award for the first time in 2008, Casillas had finished in the top four in the voting on four occasions between 2003 and 2007.

Casillas picked up the honor despite struggling at the end of last year and being replaced by backup goalkeeper Antonio Adan for Real Madrid’s last match of 2012, a road loss to Malaga in Spanish league action.

Casillas told reporters this week that he’s determined to win back his starting spot in time for Madrid’s next league match Sunday against Real Sociedad at the Bernabeu.

Real Madrid is in third place in the Spanish league standings and trails leader FC Barcelona by a whopping 16 points after 17 games played.