Neymar Slams Hit On Ex-club “Barca Deserve Much Better”

Paris Saint-Germain’s world record signing Neymar launched a scathing attack on his former club’s directors, saying “Barca deserve much better”.

The people in charge at the Catalan giants “are not the people who should be there, for the direction of Barca,” Neymar told reporters after scoring twice on his home debut as PSG thumped Toulouse 6-2 in Ligue 1 on Sunday.

“I want to speak the truth, I’m very sad with them,” said the Brazilian star who cost the Paris club a world record 222 million euros ($261 million) to prise from Barcelona.

“I spent four years there and I was very happy. At the start, I was happy. I spent four beautiful years there and I parted happily. But with them (the club’s directors), no.

“For me, they are not the people who should be there, for the direction of Barca,” said Neymar.

“Barca deserves much better and the whole world knows it.”

Despite securing the massive fee for Neymar, Barcelona is struggling to replace him before the transfer window closes.

The club has had bids in excess of 100 million euros for Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho and Dortmund’s Ousmane Dembele turned down.

And the club has been criticised for splashing out 40 million euros ($47 million) for Brazil midfielder Paulinho, who has spent two years at Chinese Super League champions Guangzhou Evergrande.

But Neymar said he could not comment on what the club was doing before the transfer window closes at the end of the month.

“I cannot speak now I am in another team. I don’t know what’s going on there, but I see my old teammates sad, and it’s that which makes me sad because I have a lot of friends there,” he said.

“I hope that things will improve for Barca and that they will become a team that can rival others.”

However, former Tottenham flop Paulinho’s arrival has not been warmly received by Barca fanatical supporters at the Camp Nou.

Over 80 percent of fans urged the club not to pay more than 20 million euros for Paulinho in a survey conducted by Barcelona sports daily Mundo Deportivo.

Barca New Boy Paulinho Confident Despite Fan Scepticism

Brazil midfielder Paulinho is confident he can make an impression at his new club Barcelona amid skepticism from supporters of the Spanish giants about his signing.

The 29-year-old was presented to media at the Camp Nou on Thursday following a 40 million-euro ($47 million) transfer from the Chinese club Guangzhou Evergrande.

The robust Paulinho is the club’s first signing since the sale of Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain for a world record 222 million euros.

He is not a technical player in the mold of club legends Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta. He was a key element of the Brazil side humiliated on home soil in the 2014 World Cup and left for China two years ago after struggling in his last spell in Europe with Tottenham Hotspur.

All that explains why his arrival has not been warmly received by the Barca fanbase – over 80 percent of supporters urged the club not to sign him for over 20 million euros in a survey conducted by Barcelona sports daily Mundo Deportivo.

But after passing a medical on Thursday he said: “This is a very special moment in my life, in my career. I thank all those for the effort they made to bring me here.

“I am going to try to make up for that by playing well on the field. I come here full of confidence and I will do a good job.”

Paulinho was joined by president Josep Maria Bartomeu, with the club under pressure to strengthen the squad following the loss of Neymar and the comprehensive defeats in both legs of the Spanish Super Cup to bitter rivals Real Madrid.

“He is a player the club were interested in for a long time and we must thank him for the effort he made to come here,” said Bartomeu of Paulinho, who has signed a four-year deal with a 120 million-euro buyout clause.

Paulinho, who will wear the number 15 jersey, is the club’s third summer signing after Gerard Deulofeu was brought back to Barca from Everton and Portuguese right-back Nelson Semedo arrived from Benfica.

Ernesto Valverde’s side begins their La Liga campaign at home to Betis on Sunday evening.

Liverpool Reject Barcelona’s €100 Million Coutinho Bid

Liverpool has rejected a second bid from Barcelona for influential Brazilian playmaker Philippe Coutinho worth 100 million euros (£90.3 million), British media claimed Wednesday.

Barcelona is desperate to land the 25-year-old to replace fellow Brazilian Neymar who was sold for a world record 222 million euros to Paris Saint Germain last week.

However, the BBC reported that Liverpool has again told Barcelona that Coutinho, who signed from Inter Milan in 2013, is not for sale.

The Liverpool Echo newspaper added Wednesday: “Liverpool have told Barca they will be wasting their time if they come back in with a third offer and are adamant that Coutinho will not be Neymar’s replacement at the Camp Nou.”

Barcelona believes the Brazilian international has the ability to not only replace Neymar alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez in a star front three but could also provide cover for 33-year-old captain Andres Iniesta in midfield.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp told Barcelona “to save their energy” last week, claiming the player wasn’t for sale.

However, he was left out of Liverpool’s squad for a friendly win over Athletic Bilbao in Dublin at the weekend while a back injury seems certain to sideline him from the club’s opening Premier League match at Watford on Saturday.

Should Barcelona fail to tempt Coutinho to Spain, they are expected to turn their attentions to highly-rated French star Ousmane Dembele of Borussia Dortmund.

Dembele, 20, was involved in a training ground bust up with Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Burki last week and has spoken of his desire to one day play for Barca.

 

 

Source: The Guardian

Barca Doing Well Without Neymar, Honors Chapecoense

Barcelona eased into life without Neymar by honouring Chapecoense, the Brazilian side still reeling from a devastating plane crash that killed 19 players and 24 club officials last year, in a 5-0 friendly win on Monday.

On an emotional night for the visitors, Chapecoense were captained by Alan Ruschel, one of only three players to survive the crash, on his return to action.

Ruschel was joined by the two other survivors Nieto and Jakson Follmann from the squad who were on their way to face Atletico Nacional in the final of the Copa Sudamericana when the aircraft crashed into the Colombian mountains on November 28 last year, killing 71 people.

Nieto and Follmann, who had his right leg amputated after the crash, both broke down in tears as they were invited to take an honorary kick-off in front of a crowd of 65 000 at the Camp Nou.

“I am filled with happiness to be returning to play,” Ruschel told Spanish newspaper Marca.

“I am one of the happiest people in the world because I am living something almost unthinkable. I consider myself fortunate to be in Spain, facing Barcelona, playing in a stadium where I never thought I would be.”

Funds raised from the match will “help Chapecoense rebuild institutionally and recover the competitive level it had before the tragedy”, Barca said in a statement.

Ruschel was given the unenviable task of facing up to five-time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi on his return and despite the sentimentality of the occasion, Barca didn’t let up once the game got underway.

On a sporting level the Catalan giants have had a turbulent week with star Brazilian forward Neymar joining Paris Saint-Germain for a world record 222 million euro ($264 million) transfer fee.

Barca are expected to splash some of that cash in the coming weeks with a host of players rumoured to be possible Neymar replacements, including Liverpool’s Phillipe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele of Borussia Dortmund.

However, Gerard Deulofeu made his case to at least keep his place for Sunday’s Spanish Super Cup first leg against Real Madrid with a goal and two assists before halftime.

The former Everton winger opened the scoring with a tap-in after neat work from Ivan Rakitic and his cut-back was then curled into the top corner by Sergio Busquets to make it 2-0 inside 11 minutes.

“It has been an incredible experience. They deserve to be here and have enjoyed this marvellous day,” said Deulofeu.

“They are heroes. When I think about what happened to them I start to cry.”

Messi got his goal when he slotted home Deulofeu’s low cross before Ruschel was given a standing ovation as he was substituted after 35 minutes.

Barca understandably took their foot off the gas after halftime, but Luis Suarez finally managed to get his name on the scoresheet from Messi’s pass 10 minutes after the break before Denis Suarez rounded off the scoring.

Chapecoense did have one moment to savour when goalkeeper Artur Moraes saved Paco Alcacer’s penalty late on.

Bartomeu Say “Neymar Is Not Bigger Than Barca”

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu insisted no player is bigger than the Catalan giants on Monday in the wake of Neymar’s world record 222 million euro ($264 million) move to Paris Saint-Germain.

Bartomeu and his board are under pressure to wisely reinvest the huge sum, which more than doubled the previous record for a transfer fee, before the transfer window closes on August 31.

“No player is above Barca,” Bartomeu told the world congress of Barca supporters groups.

“You know that Neymar formed part of the success of our club, but Neymar is now history. He wanted to go. It was his decision although we did everything in our hands for him to stay.”

Barca was powerless to stop Neymar leaving after PSG met the buyout clause in the Brazilian’s contract, which he had signed just last year.

However, Bartomeu defended himself from criticism that the club should have insisted on inserting a much higher buyout clause in that deal to fend off PSG’s millions.

Neymar’s clause rose from 200 to 222 million from July 1 and would have jumped to 250 million had he entered the third year of the five-year deal.

“We foresaw that he could leave in the future, that is why we raised his buyout clause in the new contract,” added Bartomeu.

“Receiving this money allows us to face the future with guarantees to strengthen the team.

“When the doubts over his future began we were calm because his decision would be a good one

“If he stayed we would maintain a great player and if he went, obviously paying his clause, we had the guarantee of being able to bring new players.”

Barca has been linked with a series of potential replacements for Neymar with Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho heading their wish list.

Yet, Bartomeu promised to act with “prudence” despite having to deal in a transfer market characterised by hyperinflation due to booming television rights deals.

“The 222 million euros that we received for Neymar Jr will be administered with prudence, rigour and serenity,” he said.

Neymar Shines In Serene Amid Contemplation Of Incompetence

Brazilian golden boy Neymar is riding high on a wave of unprecedented popularity at home where a year ahead of the World Cup news of his possible transfer has become an issue of national debate.

Reportedly pondering a 222-million euro ($256.8 million) move to Paris Saint-Germain from Barcelona, the Brazil captain showed this week why the French club would be willing to pay a world-record price to get him.

Neymar remained serene amid the speculation frenzy, scoring for Barcelona in a 1-0 victory over Manchester United in an International Champions Cup friendly midweek.

But the general view among football pundits at home is that he must leave Barcelona to emerge from the shadow of Argentinian teammate Lionel Messi and target individual glory.

Brazil fans see Neymar as the key to a sixth World Cup title in Russia next year and the first Brazilian to win the Ballon d’Or since Kaka in 2007.

In a recent poll carried out by Globoesporte.com 75 percent of fans favoured his transfer away from Barcelona.

All rumours are meticulously dissected in the Brazilian media, with television station Esporte Interativo creating a global buzz in mid-July by announcing that Neymar had “accepted PSG’s offer”.

In Brazil, Neymar is an icon, and the transfer has become a national issue.

If Messi has long been criticised in Argentina for his lack of national commitment, Neymar has always delivered.

At just 25 years he is already the fourth top scorer in Brazilian history with 52 goals from 77 matches – three goals shy of Romario and already past legends such as Bebeto or Jairzinho.

The player from Sao Paulo has always had huge pressure on his shoulders as the unique Brazilian star of his generation.

Since his early days at Santos – also the team of the legendary Pele – Neymar has been touted as the next superstar.

In 2013 he even inherited the number 10 jersey immortalised by three-time world winner Pele, despite always playing 11 for his club side.

Under the guidance of Tite, Brazil was the first country to book a ticket to the 2018 World Cup, with Neymar scoring five times and contributing six decisive passes in six games.

NEYMAR BRAND

But the Neymar phenomena goes beyond the football pitch.

Every appearance in Brazil is accompanied by frenzy among his adoring followers – the so-called ‘Neymarzetes’ – his adoring, mostly teenage, fans.

A champion of social network he has 78.3 million followers on Instagram and over 30 million on Twitter.

Omnipresent on Brazilian television he features in round-the-clock daily advertising spots for products ranging from batteries to food and shower gels.

His revenue is calculated at $37 million by Forbes, who estimates he is the only footballer to earn more from sponsorship contracts that his salary as a player.

Paradoxically the only place in Brazil where Neymar is not highly regarded is his former club Santos, who believe they were short-changed during his controversial multi-million dollar transfer to Barcelona in 2013.

The Neymar brand was damaged in March 2016 when the player was found guilty of tax fraud in his home country.

But despite his tax problems in Brazil and Spain he maintains an image of a naive young man and his father a hard money-obsessed businessman.

Former Barcelona President Sandro Rosell Has Been Arrested

Former Barcelona president Sandro Rosell was arrested on Tuesday in a money laundering operation related to image rights in the Brazilian national football team, a police spokesman told AFP.

The operation was mainly carried out in the north-eastern region of Catalonia and for the moment “there are four or five detainees, including the former president of Barça, Sandro Rosell, and his wife,” the police spokesman said.

The investigation focuses on “money laundering in companies linked to the image rights of the Brazilian football team,” police added.

Businessman Rosell, 53, was the manager of sporting goods giants Nike in Brazil and oversaw the contract for the national team to wear the US brand, before taking over as president of Barcelona in 2010.

Rosell resigned as Barcelona president in 2014 after being charged with alleged tax fraud relating to the club’s signing of Brazil striker Neymar from Santos. He was later cleared of all charges in connection with the case following an agreement with prosecutors.

Rosell will nevertheless be tried for fraud and corruption relating to a parallel complaint filed by Brazilian investment company DIS, which owned 40 percent of Neymar’s sporting rights at the time of his transfer.

DIS claim it was cheated out of its real share because part of the transfer fee was concealed by Barcelona, Santos and the Neymar family.

 

 

Source: SuperSport

Barcelonia’s Victory Over Valencia

Lionel Messi struck twice as Barcelona beat 10-man Valencia in a thrilling match to move two points behind La Liga leaders Real Madrid.

Eliaquim Mangala headed the visitors in front from a corner, before Luis Suarez steered in an equalizer.

Messi’s penalty made it 2-1 after Manchester City loanee Mangala was sent off for dragging back Suarez, but Munir El Haddadi swept Valencia level.

Messi scored his second after the break and Andre Gomes made it four late on.

Barcelona desperately needed a victory after losing ground in the title race with a surprise 2-1 defeat at Deportivo last weekend.

In the end, they should have won by more goals than they did – but they were all over the place defensively for the first hour.

Luis Enrique’s three-man back line was caught out too often, with Munir denied by keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen when clean through seconds before Mangala scored from the resulting corner.

Valencia were equally sloppy in defense, though. Ezequiel Garay was outpaced down their right by Suarez on more than one occasion, and the Uruguay international was quick to pounce for the equalizer when the visitors switched off at a Neymar throw-in.

Mangala, already on a yellow card, could have no complaints about his dismissal just before half-time.

Enrique, though, had plenty of reason to fume when his own defenders allowed Munir, on loan from Barcelona, all the time he wanted to turn in Jose Luis Gaya’s pull-back.

Barcelona did not seem to know how to cover their right flank defensively, and Enrique eventually sent on Sergi Roberto in a move to a back four.

That settled the home side, who could have had plenty more goals – with Neymar going closest as he hit the post with a free-kick.

In the end, they settled for two in the second half; Messi – La Liga’s leading scorer – caught out keeper Diego Alves with a near-post drive and substitute Gomes tapped in from Neymar’s pass.