BARCA DEMAND £40M FOR RAKITIC

Whilst he was once considered the heir to Andres Iniesta's dynasty at Barcelona, it now looks like Ivan Rakitic is going to be n the move - perhaps with Coutinho finally being given the chance to impress in the advanced midfielder role that Iniesta made his own.

The Croatian attacker has been linked to both Manchester United and Bayern Munich in the past few weeks with different speculation about the transfer coming from his homeland too.

ESPN pundit insists Hazard will never get 40 goals like Messi

ESPN pundit Craig Burley has said that Eden Hazard has been a very good player at Chelsea but he does not have the credentials to achieve the 40-goal target like Lionel Messi at Barcelona. The Belgium international is currently enjoying his best-ever season with the Blues and he has contributed 19 goals and 13 assists across all competitions.

Speaking on ESPN FC, the former Chelsea midfielder indicated that the Blues have been overly dependent on Hazard to produce the goods in difficult situations. He added that the Belgian can never become a Messi to deliver 40 goals through a campaign and that has hampered the team which has witnessed inconsistent performances from several players.

Malcom’s agent hints about potential interest from European clubs

Malcom’s agent Leonardo Cornacini has acknowledged that his client is attracting interest from some of Europe’s elite clubs ahead of the summer transfer window. The Brazilian has barely featured for Barcelona since making the switch from Bordeaux last year but Cornacini has suggested that the attacker could stay put with the club next term.

Speaking to Calciomercato.it, Malcom’s representative confirmed that there is plenty of interest in his client, who has been previously linked with the likes of Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Inter Milan. However, he added that his client has been adapting well to the demands of the Spanish game and he could yet stay put with the La Liga holders, he quipped: “Malcom is certainly an interesting player for any European club. But he a long contract, until 2023, with Barcelona. “He is adapting well and we believe that next year he will do much better than this.”

Andres Iniesta praises Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele

Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta has heaped praise on Ousmane Dembele’s showing this season and believes the Frenchman can become a very important player for Barcelona in the future. The France international endured a difficult first season with the Blaugrana last term where hamstring concerns reduced his gametime from the starting lineup.

However, he has enjoyed a much better season this time around with 13 goals and seven assists across all competitions and his progress has caught the eye of Iniesta. Speaking to Goal.com, the former Spain international hailed the qualities of the World Cup winner and stated that the forward can become a hugely influential figure with the Catalans in years to come.

DAVID VILLA REUNITED WITH INIESTA

Former Barcelona forward David Villa has expressed his utmost delight at the opportunity of reuniting with one of his former teammates Andres Iniesta following his most recent transfer move.

The Spanish international completed a move from Major League Soccer outfit New York City FC to Japan to represent top flight club Vissel Kobe. The Japanese club is being managed by a fellow Spaniard, Juan Manuel Lillo.
Vissel Kobe have shown their determination to go for major honors this season, completing the signing of a host of former European league legends including Podolski, Iniesta and most recently, David Villa.

Arsenal confirm the long-term absence of Spanish defender through injury

Arsenal have confirmed that Hector Bellerin has ruptured the anterior crucial ligament on his left knee and this should keep him out of action between six and nine months with an operation required to rectify the problem. The Spaniard had made his maiden league start for the Gunners in over a month against Chelsea last weekend but he could not last the entire 90 minutes after sustaining the long-term injury.

Speaking after the 2-0 triumph, manager Unai Emery confirmed that the defender could be sidelined for the long-term and the Gunners have now revealed that remains the case after a thorough medical examination. A statement on the club’s website read: “Further to the injury sustained during our match against Chelsea on Saturday, we can confirm that Hector has ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament of his left knee. Hector will undergo surgery to repair this in the coming days. The rehabilitation process is expected to take between six to nine months and therefore rules Hector out of action for the remainder of this season.”

Andres Iniesta slams Mourinho

Andres Iniesta reckons that the way Jose Mourinho guided the Real Madrid squad during his spell as head coach there for duration of 3 years, it was not good for Spanish Football because he developed hatred in the minds of the Madrid players for their arch rivals Barcelona.

According to Iniesta, the matches between Madrid and Barcelona are always intense because the two teams have been the arch rivals for a long time, but that doesn’t need to lead to hatred. Rivalry is one thing and hatred is a completely different thing. What used to happen in the clasicos during Mourinho’s stint was not just rivalry, it was something else and it’s not that only Barcelona players felt it, even some of the Real Madrid players would have felt that it was obnoxious and it had its direct effects on the development of the national squad.

Arturo Vidal fancies Ousmane Dembele to have a bright Barcelona future

Barcelona midfielder Arturo Vidal has backed Ousmane Dembele to have a fantastic future ahead with the Catalan giants despite experiencing a mixed start to the campaign. The Frenchman’s future has been a topic of question over the past few weeks and he managed to provide the perfect response over the weekend by scoring a late equaliser in the 1-1 draw against Atletico Madrid.
Speaking in a press conference, Vidal highlighted that Dembele remains a very important player for the Spanish champions and the Frenchman only needs more affection from the club’s faithful, he said: “Ousmane needs love. He's a very important player for us, he's scored some big goals and he's going to be important for some time to come.”

Meanwhile, manager Ernesto Valverde backed the thoughts of Vidal but suggesting the weekend’s goal was hugely influential and he has the confidence that Dembele will continue playing with the same consistency for the Blaugrana, he told: “It was very important. It was a goal that kept us from possibly losing the match. I have confidence that Ousmane Dembele will continue to give his best when he's out there on the field.”

Philippe Coutinho refutes Andres Iniesta comparisons

Barcelona attacker Philippe Coutinho has highlighted that Andres Iniesta was a genius and he cannot be compared with the club legend, who has won every silverware within his reach. The Brazil international has adapted splendidly since joining from Liverpool during the January transfer window but he does not want to be compared with the superlative talents of Iniesta.

Speaking to Diario AS, Coutinho indicated that he does not like the ongoing comparison with Iniesta, who made 674 appearances for the Catalan giants before joining Vissel Kobe during the summer. He added that he would like to make his own impression with the Spanish champions and he needs to work hard on every aspect of his game.

Iniesta Moved To Japan And Become A Golazo-Scoring Fiend

There is a saying that one cannot teach old dogs new tricks. There is also a saying that there is always an exception present that proves any a given rule. The switch of Andrés Iniesta to Japan and his transformed into Lionel Messi has seems relevant to above mentioned comments.

Iniesta is the former legend of Barcelona. He left the only club had known till this summer to join the team of Japanese Vissel Kobe, which is famous for having an attacking end. However, his performance on the ground has not been the same as his dribbles, movement and passes that have consistently been going on over the years. At the present time, Iniesta has probably curiously failed to make the number of goals that one might predict from a good and advanced midfielder who is playing for one of the most successful attacking team in history.

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