Neymar Edging Closer to PSG Exit as Club Looks to Rid Itself of ‘Celebrity Culture’

Reports from France are indicating that Paris Saint-Germain are willing to sell Neymar this summer, two years on from his record-breaking move from Barcelona.

Neymar arrived in Paris in 2017 for a monumental £200m fee, making him the most expensive player in the world. The Brazilian has largely been a success on the pitch for the Parisians, registering 51 goals and 29 assists during his time in the French capital, but reservations still linger over whether he has lived up to his huge price tag.

FBL-FRA-CUP-RENNES-PSG

Now, according to French outlet ?L’Equipe, PSG will be happy to part ways with ?Neymar this summer – so long as they receive what they would consider to be a suitable offer.

The imminent arrival of Leonardo as the club’s new sporting director will spell a new era for the French champions, who are looking to shake things up behind the scenes to ensure that they are able to make the next step – particularly on the European front.

The report also suggests that the player himself is also happy to move on this summer, which could open the door for the likes of ?Real Madrid and former club ?Barcelona, who have both previously ?been linked with an approach for the Brazilian. 

The news follows recent comments from president Nasser Al-Khelaifi, who recently told France Football (via ?The Sun) that he is looking to clamp down on celebrity culture at the club.

FBL-FRA-LIGUE1-PSG-MONACO

“Players will have to assume their responsibilities even more than before. It must be completely different,” he declared.

“They will have to do more, work more. They are not there to please themselves.

“And if they do not agree, the doors are open. Ciao! I do not want to have any celebrity behaviour anymore.”?

Let’

Lionel Messi ‘Bitter’ as Argentina Suffer Defeat to Colombia in Copa America

Lionel Messi admits his Argentina side were left feeling ‘bitter’ after their Copa America ?defeat to Colombia, but insists they must put the result behind them as they prepare to face Paraguay in a now crucial encounter. 

La Albiceleste improved in the second half following a lacklustre opening 45, but it wasn’t enough as Colombia scored twice in the last 20 minutes to condemn Argentina to their first competitive defeat under ?Lionel Scaloni. 

FBL-COPA AMERICA-2019-ARG-COL

“There’s a good group, we’re going to get up, and we’re ready to take the challenge,” Messi said of the loss, as quoted by ?Mundo Deportivo.

“We have to be strong, think about what’s coming and don’t give up. There’s still a long way to go. Beyond the result, there were good things. We have to lift our heads and go on,”

“I don’t know if the first half was bad. We retreated a bit and let them have the ball. Although they did not reach us. And when we were at our best, in the second half, [Colombia scored],”

“We leave bitter because, at the best time, they scored the goal.” 

Sergio Agüero,Lionel Messi,Cristian Borja

It was the worst possible start for the Argentines, as they rebuild following their poor showing at last year’s World Cup. 

Messi will also be conscious that time is running out for him to win that elusive international trophy and the pressure will surely be on him to deliver sooner rather than later as the ?Barcelona forward is now in his 30s.

Argentina have two remaining group stage fixtures against Paraguay and Qatar respectively.  With arguably the hardest group game out the way now, the Argentines can look to rebuild their confidence and hopefully kickstart a successful campaign.  

Let’

8 Defenders Barcelona, PSG & Man Utd Should Consider Instead of Matthijs de Ligt

There are two kind of people in this world: those who want Matthijs de Ligt, and liars.

The Ajax wonderkid is being chased by the likes of Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United, and he will almost certainly command an astronomical transfer fee. Only one side can sign him, but those who miss out should not get too down. There are plenty of other exciting defenders to take a look at. 

Here are eight centre-backs who should be on everyone’s wish list this summer.


Ibrahima Konate

Ibrahima Konate

Club: RB Leipzig

Age: 20

It’s testament to France’s youth development that there are plenty of young players who can be described as the future of French football, but Ibrahima Konate is a cut above most.

The RB Leipzig starlet can truly do it all. His huge frame gives him a major advantage in aerial battles, but he also boasts the kind of agility that makes him a nightmare to play against. On the ball, he is a composed dribbler, and his passing has looked incredibly promising at times.

?Arsenal have already been heavily linked with Konate, but there will be plenty of other elite sides who are taking notice of the Frenchman. 


Dayot Upamecano

Dayot Upamecano

Club: RB Leipzig

Age: 20

Whoever has been in charge of RB Leipzig’s recruitment in recent years deserves a medal, their own TV show and a statue in Leipzig city centre.

Shortly before Konate arrived, ?Dayot Upamecano made his way to the club. Like his teammate, Upamecano is the perfect embodiment of a modern centre-back. He uses his speed and power to dominate opponents and loves to burst into midfield with the ball at his feet, often helping his side move forward and break down stubborn opponents.

He previously told ?UEFA that he looks up to ?Real Madrid star ?Raphael Varane, and comparisons between the two are clear to see. Can somebody please sign at least one of Konate or Upamecano, before Leipzig boast the most dominant defensive line of all time?


Malang Sarr


Club: OGC Nice

Age: 20?

Malang Sarr is just 20 years old, but he already has 99 appearances for OGC Nice under his belt. Since his breakthrough in 2017, Sarr’s development has been accelerated and there is a real belief that he could be yet another future French star.

Sarr’s decision-making is incredible, and he can often be seen pushing up into the opponents’ half to put pressure on a midfielder. Further back, he is comfortable drifting out into wider positions to track tricky wingers, and he boasts the passing skills to set his side off on a quick counter attack once he recovers possession.

He is by no means the finished product, but his sky-high potential is clear to see. He would be far cheaper than De Ligt, but could blossom into everything you’d expect the Dutchman to be.


Peru Nolaskoain

Peru Nolaskoain

Club: Athletic Bilbao

Age: 20?

Athletic Bilbao have plenty of exciting youngsters in their ranks, but Peru Nolaskoain is one of the brightest stars. A midfielder by trade, the Spaniard has recently proven his ability in defence, and many teams will certainly have taken notice.

Another of those who can do a bit of everything, Nolaskoain’s experience as a midfielder has helped improve his passing, whilst his defensive ability is also incredibly impressive. There’s not a lot that Nolaskoain can’t do.

Despite impressing for the senior team last season, minutes have been hard to come by for Nolaskoain, and a chance to perfect his craft elsewhere could be an intriguing proposition for the youngster.


Luiz Felipe

Luiz Felipe ramos March

Club: Lazio?

Age: 22

Injuries tried their hardest to derail Luiz Felipe’s development last season, but the 22-year-old stayed strong and enjoyed another impressive campaign.

Italy have fought to win his international allegiance from Brazil, and it’s easy to see why. He is a born leader, rarely shying away from barking orders at his senior teammates. His vision on the pitch is astounding, and he always seems to be able to sniff out danger before most.

?Tottenham Hotspur have chased him in recent years, but they will certainly not be alone in their admiration of Felipe. 


Jonathan Tah

Jonathan Tah

Club: Bayer Leverkusen?

Age: 23

One of the biggest positives about signing De Ligt is the fact that he could waltz straight into the first team and keep his place there for the next ten years. The same can be said for Bayer Leverkusen’s Jonathan Tah.

The 23-year-old is already one of Germany’s top defenders, using his stunning blend of speed and power to dominate opponents. His tackling and positioning is fantastic, and history has shown us that Tah has plenty more years before he is even supposed to reach his peak, which is a frightening concept.

He’s only going to get better, and his price tag is only going to increase. It’s time for interested sides to act, before they end up ruing their missed opportunity.


Mario Hermoso

Mario Hermoso

Club: Espanyol

Age: 23?

The likes of Arsenal, ?Bayern Munich and Real Madrid have been in pursuit of Espanyol’s Mario Hermoso in recent months, which is evidence of just how impressive the 23-year-old has been.

An excellent tackler, Hermoso’s most intriguing attribute is certainly his long passing. Regardless of where his teammates are on the field, Hermoso knows he can find them, which adds an exciting dynamic to his side’s play.

Being discarded by Los Blancos as a youngster has clearly not impacted his quality, as Hermoso plays as if he truly believes he is one of the finest young defenders around. In his defence, he’s not wrong.


Jason Denayer

Jason Denayer

Club: Lyon

Age: 23?

Jason Denayer was tipped for big things as part of ?Manchester City’s academy, but always seemed to be a step short from making it at the top level. Since his permanent switch to Lyon last summer, he has taken that step.

The Belgian has blossomed into an incredibly disciplined defender who is comfortable leading a top side. Another of those with imposing speed and power, Denayer has been a dominant aerial force for years, whilst his passing ability is one of the things which tempted City to sign him back in 2013.

Everything with Denayer is done at a high tempo, as he plays the ball out of defence with urgency in an attempt to score goals. He still has plenty of time to improve, but he is already good enough to make it a the highest level.

Let’

Barcelona Loan Players: How They Got on Away From Camp Nou During the 2018/19 Season

?Following a dominant showing in La Liga this season, ?Barcelona look like they will be even stronger next campaign with the arrival of Frenkie de Jong – as well as potentially Matthijs de Ligt and Antoine Griezmann.

But before they admire the new, it could be time for Barça to take stock of what they already have – including players they may have forgotten they have.

Four potential first team contributors headed out on loan last season, so have they played their way back into Ernesto Valverde’s plans? Let’s see how they got on.


Denis Suárez

Denis Suárez

??Arsenal fans had hoped that Denis Suarez would add some sparkle to their midfield, though his time in north London was ravaged by injury.

After making only four appearances for the Gunners, he picked up a groin injury against BATE Borisov in the Europa League – and never returned.

The 25-year-old ?has since admitted that it was a “year to forget” after a string of other injury problems, claiming he was operating at less than half capacity for much of his time in England.

“I don’t think I was even at 50%. After 15 days of being at Arsenal I wasn’t right. From the 16th I wasn’t even at 50%,” Suarez said.

His loan move to the Emirates came with an option to buy, but that won’t be taken up – and a return to Camp Nou ahead of a permanent move away seems likely.

Rating: 1/10


Arda Turan

FBL-TUR-ESP-TURAN

?Arda Turan moved to Barcelona from Atletico Madrid for €34m in 2015, though his time at Camp Nou has not been particularly memorable. 

After failing to make a single appearance during the 2017/18 campaign, the former Turkey star moved to ?stanbul Ba?ak?ehir on a two-year loan deal. 

Though his side have recently endured unprecedented success, having narrowly missed out on the Super Lig title this season, Turan has endured a difficult time in the Turkish capital with disciplinary issues and injury concerns galore.

Following a physical altercation with a match official in May 2018, he was originally ruled to miss 16 games through suspension – though this was later reduced to 10. Elsewhere, Turan has missed 11 games through injury and racked up a mere five goals and three assists in his 27 appearances.

Still, another year to go.

Rating: 4/10


André Gomes?

?Andre Gomes was a vital cog in Marco Silva’s wheel last season and came into his own during a successful loan spell at ?Everton, making 27 appearances alongside Idrissa Gueye in midfield and largely impressing in both a defensive and attacking capacity.

The 25-year-old moved to Barça in 2016 for a fee of €35m but struggled to make much impact for the Catalan giants, which was reflected by being voted the worst signing of the season by readers of Spanish publication Marca.

With Arthur, ?Arturo V?idal, Sergio Busquets and the arriving Frenkie de Jong ahead of him in the pecking order, it’s unlikely Gomes will be staying put at Barça. The Times claim that the Portuguese international has already rejected advances from West Ham in an attempt to secure a permanent move to Goodison Park. 

Rating: 8/10


Douglas 

Douglas made the switch from Sao Paulo to Barcelona in 2014 but five years on it had, until now, appeared that they wasted every penny of the €4m they paid for the Brazilian. 

After a string of unsuccessful loan moves, most notably Benfica, Douglas was sent out to Super Lig side Sivasspor in July 2018. Since then, he has rediscovered his form and enjoyed a fruitful run in the starting line-up. 

Last season he notched three goals and seven assists from right-back in 32 appearances, but is out of contract in the summer and available on a free transfer.

Despite his good form, he’s unlikely to be offered a new deal – with Nelson Semedo and Sergi Roberto established in the first team squad.

Rating: 8/10


?

Let’

Takefusa Kubo: The Bizarre Reason Why Barcelona Missed Out to Real Madrid for ‘Japanese Messi’

?Real Madrid snuck in to seal the signing of highly rated Japanese forward Takefusa Kubo from FC Tokyo for free ahead of rivals Barcelona, thanks to their attention to detail.

Clásico rivals Barcelona were also keeping tabs on the player, who spent four years in their academy between 2011 and 2015, along with Paris Saint-Germain, but it was Los Blancos who ultimately ?announced the deal on Friday.

18-year-old Kubo, who is set to spend next season in Real Madrid’s B team under the tutelage of club legend Raul Gonzalez, returns to Spain after four years, when a Barcelona transfer ban for the illegal signing of youth players ultimately led him to leave La Masia to return to Japan.

Takefusa Kubo

Nicknamed (somewhat predictably) the ‘Japanese Messi’ big things are expected of Kubo, who made his senior Japan debut in 2019. Barcelona had been tipped as favourites to re-sign the wonderkid but, according to ?Marca, they were tripped up by his contract termination date. 

The report claims that Real Madrid were aware his contract ended this summer, while (possibly confused by an error on the website Transfermarkt) Barcelona and PSG were under the impression that the deal ended on 31 January 2020.

Los Blancos made Kubo an attractive offer, a five-year contract worth 1.2m a year, in order to steal the talent from under the noses of their rivals, who were still mulling their propos thinking they had more time.

When asked about joining ?Real Madrid, the 18-year-old, who is currently on international duty, said: “I am very happy to have signed for Real Madrid. 

“I’m calm. It’s a normal day, but I’m very happy.”

On Real’s ?website, Los Blancos described their new player as ‘technically gifted and hugely talented’. 

Takefusa Kubo

Real Madrid will have one of the most promising young players in world football. An attacking midfielder of excellent technique, very skilled, with vision of game, great dribble and goal [scoring],” their statement reads.

Although not one for the first team just yet, Kubo’s signing takes Real Madrid to six so far this window as Zindedine Zidane looks to rebuild his squad and reassert their dominance in both Spanish and European football. 

Let’

Copa America 2019: A Combined XI of the Best Players at This Summer’s Tournament

?The Copa América kicked off on Friday 14 June as host nation Brazil beat Bolivia 3-0 in Sao Paulo, and there was some outstanding talent on display

This will be common throughout the tournament as some of the world’s best players descend on Brazil to compete for CONMEBOL’s flagship competition. 


Chile are defending champions, but face a challenge from tournament hosts Brazil and a Lionel Messi inspired Argentina, who are looking to win a first international trophy with their legendary player, having missed out on this trophy to Chile in the past two competitions. 

Here’s a best possible XI from the players on show this summer.


Goalkeeper & Defenders

FBL-FRIENDLY-URU-PAN

Alisson (GK, Brazil) – Liverpool’s Champions League goalkeeper makes the cut here. There are a few decent keepers at this tournament – not least Alisson’s teammate Ederson – but Brazil’s number one edges the competition out through his combination of incredible shot-stopping ability and eye for the pass. 

Dani Alves (RB, Brazil) – Paris Saint-Germain’s 36-year-old right-back was recently handed the captaincy of his country, and with 110 caps behind him, is one of Brazil’s most experienced players. He is third on the list of all-time appearances for the Seleção and will revel in leading his side out at this tournament.

José Giménez (CB, Uruguay) – 24-year-old Giménez has become a key part of two of the meanest defences in world football for both his national and Atletico Madrid in recent years. He already has 50 senior caps for La Celeste.

Diego Godín (CB, Uruguay) – Alongside Giménez is captain and now former club teammate Diego Godín. The 33-year-old is still regarded as one of the very best defenders in the world and forms a formidable partnership at the centre of the Uruguay defence. He is La Celeste’s most capped player, with 127 appearances for the senior side.

Nicolás Tagliafico (LB, Argentina) – Tagliafico has had an outstanding domestic campaign with Ajax, helping them reach the Champions League semi-finals. He made his international debut in 2017 but is fast securing his place on the left-hand side of the Argentinian defence.


Midfielders

Manuel Rosas,Giovani Lo Celso

?Fernandinho (CDM, Brazil) – Anchoring the XI is Manchester City man Fernandinho. Still one of the best defensive midfielders in the world despite his 34 years, he combines experience and energy? to disrupt opposition play and begin his team’s attacks. Without him, City may not have pipped Liverpool to the Premier League title this season.

Arturo Vidal (CM, Chile) – Chilean dynamo Vidal has had a generally impressive campaign for Barcelona, after his signing raised eyebrows, and has filled the void left by the experienced all-action Paulinho. The 32-year-old midfielder is even more important at international level and is one of manager Reinaldo Rueda’s key lieutenants. 

Giovani Lo Celso (CM, Argentina) – Lo Celso has enjoyed a breakout campaign for Real Betis in La Liga this season. Argentina fans caught glimpses of his potential at last summer’s World Cup and will hope he can become the oft-missing link between midfield and attack as La Albiceleste look to win the tournament for the 15th time.

Lionel Messi (CAM, Argentina) – The ace in the whole. Messi needs no introduction, but what he does need is an international trophy to add to his already impressive haul. He will try all he can to drag Argentina to the final, but sometimes even the magic of Messi isn’t enough to secure victory.


Forwards

Miguel Araujo,Duvan Zapata

Sergio Aguero (ST, Argentina) – Manchester City front man Aguero is one of the deadliest finishes in world football. Argentina will need him firing on all cylinders if they are to triumph in the tournament and with players like Lo Celso and Messi feeding him the ball, expect Aguero to rack up the goals in Brazil.

Duván Zapata (ST, Colombia) – Zapata’s frankly absurd scoring record this season at loan club Atalanta has forced him into contention for this combined XI. In 37 appearances for La Dea this season, Zapata netted 23 times and Colombia. He is a relative newcomer at international level despite already being 28. He made his debut in 2017 and has just nine caps. However, his form means coach Carlos Queiroz may lean on him more than the ageing legend Radamel Falcao.

Let’

Luis Suarez Calls Champions League Defeat to Former Club Liverpool the Worst Moment of His Life

?Luis Suarez is the latest Barcelona star to reflect on the horror of the Champions League semi-final defeat to Liverpool last month, calling the shock 4-0 reverse at Anfield the ‘worst moment’ of his life.

Suarez, who left Liverpool to join Barcelona in 2014, scored in the first leg as Barcelona defeated the Reds 3-0 at Camp Nou as the Spanish champions appeared to be cruising towards the final.

The Uruguayan striker celebrated his goal against his old club, but (now infamously) insisted he wouldn’t in the return leg at Anfield.

Luis Suarez

As it turned out, he never got the chance as ?Liverpool stunned the world of football with a 4-0 win, courtesy of doubles from Divock Origi and Gini Wijnaldum, to overturn the deficit.

Jurgen Klopp’s side went on to win the final against Tottenham in Madrid, while ?Barcelona were left reeling, with many fans calling for the head (mostly figuratively) of manager Ernesto Valverde.

?Lionel Messi and Gerard Pique both spoke on the devastation following the game at Anfield, with the latter suggesting that the ?loss contributed to Barça’s subsequent defeat in the Copa del Rey final to Valencia.

FBL-EUR-C1-LIVERPOOL-BARCELONA

Suarez, speaking ahead of the Copa America (as quoted by the Liverpool Echo) said: “The days after back in Barcelona were the worst moments of my life and career along with the 2014 World Cup, I wanted to disappear from the world.

“I didn’t want to take my children to school, everyone could see I was in a very bad way, I had days I didn’t want to do anything, they were very difficult moments.”

Like most fans, Suarez also admitted he didn’t see the comeback, since dubbed the Redmontada, coming and revealed the post-match atmosphere in the away dressing room.

He said: “I didn’t see it [the comeback] because we are Barcelona and we thought we’d have two or three chances to score, but we became nervous, we gave stupid passes away, we didn’t show the right attitude.

“When the first goal came we didn’t know how to react, we knew we had really messed up. After the game in the dressing room no-one could say anything, there was sadness, bitterness and disappointment because we knew we’d given an awful image.”??

?Klopp called the Liverpool players ‘mentality monsters’ after the game which became the defining moment in the Reds’ run to their sixth European Cup.

Let’

Barcelona Remain Confident Over Matthijs de Ligt Signing Despite PSG’s Interest

?Barcelona remain confident of completing the signing of Ajax captain Matthijs de Ligt this summer.

The 19-year-old is the most sought after young commodity in world football, after a captivating season in Amsterdam saw De Ligt lead his side to the Champions League semi-finals, as well as sealing a domestic double in the Netherlands.

FBL-NED-EREDIVISE-AJAX-ARNHEM

Ajax’s style and swagger has earned plaudits from all around, but it’s De Ligt who has always been the centre of attention in the Dutch capital – courting interest from the likes of Manchester United, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, and more importantly Barcelona.

The Catalan giants are keen to bring him to ?Camp Nou this summer alongside teammate Frenkie de Jong, who has already signed on the dotted line in a deal worth €86m, and are confident, ?90min understands, that he wants to move to Spain, rather than opting for the riches of Paris.

They do not feel under pressure to offer De Ligt further financial incentives and will wait for the young Dutchman to make his decision, rather than trying to match any improved offer that PSG may have made him.

Super agent Mino Raiola, who represents De Ligt, has already panned suggestions that he’s been in the French capital finalising a move to Ligue 1, while De Ligt himself has remained tight lipped in recent weeks – refusing to answer any questions put to him over his future.


There is also interest in De Ligt from Manchester United, but ?they are focusing their attentions on Leicester and England defender Harry Maguire instead, who is keen to test himself at a higher level.

The Red Devils are also interested in Napoli’s Kalidou Kouilbaly, which may be an indicator that United have no serious interest in pursuing a deal for De Ligt.

Let’

Andre Gomes ‘On the Verge’ of Permanent Move to Everton as Barça Midfielder Chooses Toffees

?Barcelona midfielder André Gomes is close to finalising a deal to sign for Everton on a permanent basis.

The 25-year-old joined the Toffees on a season-long loan in August 2018 and had a strong campaign at Goodison Park.

Gomes became an integral part of Marco Silva’s side, making 27 Premier League appearances and putting in a series of impressive displays from midfield, after a disappointing stint at Barcelona.

Andre Gomes

His good form attracted interest in him from others clubs, including ?West Ham who made a bid which was ?rejected by Gomes. 

According to Barcelona-based newspaper ?SPORT, the Portugal international is now ‘on the verge’ of finalising a permanent move to ?Everton. 

The report states that the deal has progressed in recent days after Gomes’ representatives flew out to Barcelona to sort out the finer details of the transfer.


?Barcelona have set a €30m asking price which Everton are attempting to bring down but the deal is still expected to take place.

Gomes was part of the Portugal squad that won Euro 2016 and after the tournament he joined ?La Liga giants Barcelona from Valencia. He struggled to make an impact in his first season at Camp Nou and was voted as the worst signing of the season by the readers of Spanish publication Marca.

Andre Gomes

He barely featured in his second campaign, starting just seven games in all competitions after falling out of favour under Ernesto Valverde.

His lack of game time for his club ultimately cost him a place in Portugal’s 2018 World Cup squad.

The 25-year-old has made 78 appearances for Barcelona, scoring three goals. He was won one La Liga title, the Copa del Rey twice and the Spanish Super Cup once during his time with La Blaugrana.

Let’

Rodrigo’s Move to Barcelona Back on as Denis Suarez Confirms Desire to Leave Catalonia

Valencia striker Rodrigo’s proposed move to Barcelona is back on after it was revealed his current employers desperately need to bring in ?€30m before the start of July.

Los Murcielagos will use it to balance their books for the 2018/19 season, though they remain hopeful of receiving a sizeable fee for the 28-year-old. He has a €120m buyout clause in his contract, though the club are willing to consider lesser offers.

Sport report that La Blaugrana are eager to reopen talks with Valencia over the signing of Rodrigo, with Luis Suarez the only traditional centre forward in Ernesto Valverde’s squad.

FBL-ESP-CUP-BARCELONA-VALENCIA

Rodrigo scored his side’s second during the Copa del Rey final victory over ?Barça in May, taking him to 15 goals in all competitions last term.

That result ensured the Catalans would finish the season with just one trophy, the club’s second consecutive ?La Liga title failing to lift the disappointment of their? Champions League semi final collapse against ?Liverpool.

Adding another frontman is a necessity, with Suarez’s recent understudy Kevin-Prince Boateng having spent most of his career as a midfielder before converting. However, recruitment is not the sole focus for club directors.

They must also shift dead weight from the squad and ?Sport write that one of the individuals on their way out is Luis’ namesake, Denis Suarez. Fortunately for Barça, the Spaniard is equally keen on ending their association.

FBL-RSA-BARCELONA-SUNDOWNS

When asked about his future, the diminutive playmaker said: “What I want is to leave Barça and play again. I’d prefer to stay in La Liga. I’ve spent the last two months in Barcelona recuperating from my injury and no one at Barça has said anything to me.”

Suarez’s comments breathe new life into La Blaugrana’s pursuit of Rodrigo, as Valencia coach Marcelino is thought to be keen on bringing him to the Mestalla. The pair worked together previously at Villarreal, where the 25-year-old’s performances impressed his manager.

It would really be no surprise to see Barcelona make an offer of cash-plus-Suarez for Rodrigo and it would be equally unsurprising if Valencia accepted. The deal suits all involved; it’s smiles all round!

Let’