Barcelona Confirm Ousmane Dembele Is Set for Five Weeks Out With Hamstring Strain

?Barcelona have revealed Ousmane Dembele will be out for around five weeks after the France international suffered a strain to his left hamstring.

Dembele played a full 90 minutes as Barca were beaten 1-0 by Athletic Club on Friday night, Aritz Aduriz scoring an overhead kick in the 89th minute to win it for the hosts.

In the same game Luis Suarez was withdrawn with a calf complaint, while Lionel Messi was unavailable, also with a calf complaint.

?Barca have now confirmed the timespan Dembele will be on the sidelines for, revealing in a ?statement: “A medical examination on Ousmane Dembélé has diagnosed a strain of his left hamstring. The Frenchman is set to be out for approximately five weeks as a result.”

This latest news puts an awful lot of responsibility on the shoulders of new signing Antoine Griezmann, who produced an uninspiring performance on his competitive debut for the La Liga champions.

Ousmane Dembele

Rafinha was brought on for Suarez after the Uruguayan fell to injury, but how Barca will line up for their first game at Camp Nou this season against Osasuna remains to be seen. 

Young midfielder Carles Alena could be pushed into a more attacking role, with ?Messi still not in full training. The Argentine was expected to be involved on Monday but instead trained on his own, with ?AS confirming the lack of involvement with his teammates was not down to a setback in his recovery.

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Barcelona Reveal Details of Philippe Coutinho Deal – Despite Bayern Saying Details Won’t Be Revealed

?Bayern Munich were made to look foolish after Barcelona released details regarding Philippe Coutinho’s loan move to Bavaria – despite the Bundesliga champions saying the details wouldn’t be revealed.

The Brazilian completed a season-long switch to Die Roten on Monday, though the Bundesliga side will have the chance to purchase the midfielder for €120m at the end of the 2019/20 campaign. Bayern were evidently under the impression that no financial figures would be disclosed to the public, but Barça have made them available for all to see.

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In a ?club statement following the capture of Coutinho, the German champions said: “?FC Bayern possess an option to buy the 27-year-old following the expiry of his loan contract on 30 June 2020. All parties have agreed not to disclose any financial details of the agreement.”

That seems straightforward enough. The only people who need to know how much money exchanged hands are those involved, right? Wrong! ?Barcelona want the world to hear how much they got out of Munich for the most frustrating member of their squad.

La Blaugrana paid ?Liverpool an eye-watering £140m to land Coutinho in January 2018 and it has looked like terrible business from the Catalans ever since. As a result, it’s understandable that Barça want people to see they’ve recouped a sizeable chunk of that fee.

Announcing the playmaker’s departure, their official w?ebs?ite read: “FC Barcelona and Bayern Munich have reached an agreement for the loan of the player Philippe Coutinho to the German club for the 2019/20 season.


“Bayern Munich will pay 8.5m and the player’s wages. The agreement also sees an option to buy for Bayern fixed at 120m.”

That looks a lot like someone disclosing the financial details of the agreement. The ?La Liga outfit don’t care; now everyone knows they’re not the only ones to pay over the odds for Coutinho!

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Barcelona: Their 10 Worst Signings of the 21st Century

As one of the finest teams in the world, Barcelona have had more than their fair share of unreal talent. 

However, not all of their signings have been a success – evidenced recently by the dismal spell Philippe Coutinho has endured at the club. Expectations at Camp Nou are always high, but some have never looked capable of getting to grips with things from the moment they arrived.

Here, 90min look at Barcelona’s worst signings of the 21st century.


Philippe Coutinho

Philippe Coutinho

When you’re signed for around €142m, you’re supposed to deliver time and time again. Unfortunately for Philippe Coutinho, that just didn’t happen following his move from ?Liverpool in 2018.

The Brazilian instantly looked a shadow of his former self at Camp Nou, and regularly attracted the criticism of fans who felt he was only getting into the team because of his high price tag.

He managed 21 goals in 76 appearances, before being offloaded to ?Bayern Munich on loan with a view to a permanent move.


Alex Song

Alex Song

Nothing about Alex Song’s £15m move from ?Arsenal to ?Barcelona made sense in 2012, and it makes even less sense looking back on it today.

?Signed as a versatile midfielder who could fill in at centre-back, it quickly became apparent that Song wasn’t good enough in either position, and his lack of mobility and vision often dragged the rest of his teammates down as well.

Unfortunately, he is remembered more for a video of Barcelona’s 2013 ?La Liga triumph, in which he thought he had been specifically chosen by captain Carles Puyol to lift the trophy, only to be brutally dismissed in favour of the legendary Eric Abidal. Ouch.


Emmanuel Petit

Arsenal v Barcelona

Emmanuel Petit spent three impressive years with Arsenal, so it was no surprise to see him make a £7m switch to Barcelona in 2000. However, what happened next certainly was surprising.

Manager Lorenzo Serra Ferrer seemingly felt that the midfielder was actually better suited to play in defence, which was just painfully wrong. Understandably, Petit looked out of his depth at the back, and a string of debilitating injuries only made things worse.

He was quickly shipped off to ?Chelsea after just one season, allowing everyone to move on from this nightmare as quickly as possible. ?


Alexander Hleb

Alexander Hleb,Razvan Rat

What is it about Arsenal players that just doesn’t work for Barcelona?? The next unlucky man was Alexander Hleb, who sealed a €17m move to the club in 2008. With a €90m buyout clause in his contract, Barcelona expected big things of Hleb.

The winger simply couldn’t get into the team, and was bitterly disappointing on the rare occasions that he did. He was part of their treble-winning season, but could have hardly played a smaller role if he tried.

He began openly flirting with Bayern Munich, before being loaned out to Stuttgart, ?Birmingham City and Wolfsburg. When none of them wanted him permanently, Barcelona decided to cancel his contract in 2012.


Dmytro Chygrynskiy

Barcelona's Ukrainian defender Dmytro Ch

?Poor Dmytro Chygrynskiy. Barcelona tried so very hard to sign him from Shakhtar Donetsk back in 2009, and it took weeks of failed bids and intense negotiations to convince the Ukrainian side to sell him for €25m. But then things went wrong. Really wrong.

Brought in for his supposed aerial prowess and ball-playing skills, Chygrynskiy never looked good enough to play for Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona, and the club decided to cut ties with him after just one season.

Guardiola actually wanted to keep him, but the club’s dire financial situation at the time saw Barcelona sell Chgrynskiy back to Shakhtar for just €15m.


Ibrahim Afellay

Ibrahim Afellay

Back in 2010, there were few young wingers who could generate excitement quite like Ibrahim Afellay. Almost certainly destined for greatness, the Dutchman sealed a €3m move to Barcelona, but that’s about as good as it got for him.

For reasons unknown, Afellay simply couldn’t force his way into the Barcelona side, and a number of injuries – including a serious ACL tear – prevented him from building up any momentum.

Loans with ?Schalke and Olympiacos followed, but Barcelona had already seen enough of Afellay. They released him in 2015, allowing him to seal a move to ?Stoke City – a real fall from grace.


Arda Turan

Arda Turan

Arda Turan’s €34m move from ?Atletico Madrid in 2015 could have hardly got off to a worse start. The Blaugrana were in the midst of a transfer ban, so Turan was not allowed to play for the club until January 2016.

Was he worth the wait? Not exactly. He was billed as the replacement for a declining Andres Iniesta, but the Spaniard decided he wasn’t ready to lie down just yet and actually outperformed Turan with ease. Imagine being replaced by the player you’re supposed to be replacing in the first place.

He’s still on the books at Camp Nou, but is out on a long-term loan with Istanbul Basaksehir, where he made his name by pushing an assistant referee and being hit with a huge ban. Something tells me his time at Barcelona is probably over.?


Andre Gomes

Andre Gomes

After realising Turan was not the man to replace Iniesta, Barcelona turned to Valencia playmaker ?Andre Gomes, shelling out around €35m to bring him to Camp Nou in 2016.

Yet again, it didn’t work out for the Portugal international, who was voted by ?Marca readers as the worst signing of the season.? In Gomes’ defence, he didn’t get too much time to prove himself, and he was even used as a right-back on occasion.

He managed two seasons at the club, before joining ?Everton on loan in the summer of 2018. He looked a completely different player at Goodison Park, and was recently rewarded with a permanent move.


Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Barcelona's Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrah

?In 2009, Barcelona gave up everything to sign Zlatan Ibrahimovic. They paid ?Inter £40m, on top of giving them Samuel Eto’o, so it’s safe to see that they were all-in on the nomadic Swede.

Almost instantly, Ibrahimovic looked like an awkward fit in Guardiola’s side. He wasn’t mobile enough, and the emergence of ?Lionel Messi as a central striker saw Ibrahimovic regularly dropped from the team, which didn’t sit well with him.

A memorable bust-up with Guardiola followed, before Ibrahimovic was ultimately sent out on loan to ?AC Milan after just one year. 


Philippe Christanval

Philippe Christanval

During his time with Monaco, young centre-back Philippe Christanval played like one of the most exciting youngsters around. Barcelona liked what they saw, and struck a £6.5m deal to sign him in 2001.

On the flight over, it seemed like Christianval lost his consistency, and he looked nothing like the promising youngster who had broken through at Monaco. He looked awkward on the ball, found himself out of position far too often, and just looked out of his depth.

He was released just two years later, before failing a trial with Arsenal in 2005. A move to ?Fulham followed, but life wasn’t much better for him there, and he retired in 2009 after failing to find a new club.


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Jordi Alba Hits Out at ‘Tiring’ Rumours Linking Neymar With Summer Camp Nou Return

?Barcelona full-back Jordi Alba described the never-ending transfer whirlwind surrounding former teammate Neymar as ‘tiring’, and wished Philippe Coutinho all the best ahead of his loan move to Bayern Munich. 

Neymar is determined to leave Paris Saint-Germain this summer, and a possible return to Barcelona has been the main talking point of this transfer window. 

Although both clubs and the player are open to the move, a deal has yet to be reached and the Brazilian star’s future remains up in the air. 

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Speaking to ?Marca after his side’s surprise opening day defeat to Athletic Club, Jordi Alba gave his insight into the ?Neymar transfer saga, which continues to rumble on. 

“It’s already tiring,” he said. “We have to wait until the window closes. He’s a great player. It’s the club’s decision. If he comes, great, but we have to wait and everyday there’s talk of a different team.”

Whilst Neymar’s immediate future is still very uncertain, another Brazilian star has been shown the door from the Nou Camp following an underwhelming stint in Catalunya.

Coutinho has agreed to join German giants ?Bayern Munich on a season-long loan, with an option to buy at the end of the campaign. 

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The 27-year-old joined la Blaugrana in January 2018 in a deal worth up to £142m from Premier League side ?Liverpool, but he has failed to perform to the levels expected of him by the demanding Barcelona supporters. 

Alba was full of praise for his teammate, saying: “He’s a great player. He’s one of the most talented players in the world and I wish him well.”

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Philippe Coutinho Loan Fee Revealed as Brazil Star Is Pictured Arriving in Germany for Medical

Philippe Coutinho has been pictured in southern Germany ahead of his impending move to Bayern Munich, while the actual fee the club will pay for the Barcelona forward has also been revealed.

The Brazilian has been heavily linked with a move away from Barcelona this summer, with La Blaugrana desperate to rid themselves of the forward, who has failed miserably to justify his hefty price tag since moving to Catalonia from Liverpool for a fee that could have potentially risen to £142m.


With a whole host of clubs rejecting the chance to sign the 27-year-old this window, previously unlinked ?Bayern have swooped in to sign the ?Barcelona forward on an initial loan deal as they eyed replacements for the departed Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben.

Bayern Munich sporting director Hasan Salihamidži? has also confirmed the deal, stating as quoted by ?Calciomercato: “I can confirm that Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and I have been in Barcelona and we have reached an agreement with the club, the player and the agent. We are very happy to bring this player to Bayern.”

Philippe Coutinho

Images have also surfaced online of Coutinho arriving in Bavaria ahead of putting pen-to-paper on the one-year loan deal with an option to buy. However, ?Bild have dismissed suggestions that the loan fee would be as high as €20m, instead claiming it will be €8.5m.

Where the confusion may have arisen is over the player’s current salary, a staggering €13m per year. The German publication have revealed that Bayern will pay the entirety of his wages, however, the loan fee will stand at the aforementioned figure.

While the loan fee is less than previously touted, the option to purchase Coutinho will remain at €120m, an option Die Roten may or may not choose to take next summer. 


If Bayern do opt to make Coutinho’s move permanent next season, he will become the most expensive player in ?Bundesliga history, surpassing the €100m-mark for the first time in the competition’s existence.

It is becoming a case of two wingers out, two wingers in at the Allianz Arena after Bayern confirmed the signing of Ivan Perisic from Inter on a similar loan deal with an option to buy.

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Neymar Still Convinced He Will Leave PSG This Summer as Barcelona Work on Potential Deal

?Brazilian superstar Neymar is determined to engineer an exit from Paris Saint-Germain this summer and is eyeing a return to former club Barcelona as the transfer window deadline creeps ever closer. 

The 27-year-old declared his intention to leave the French side over the summer, but a deal has yet to be agreed with any potential suitors. 

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Barcelona remain in pole position to land the sulking forward, but the Catalan club are struggling to come to an agreement with the Parisians. PSG are seemingly happy to see the back of the Brazilian winger this summer, but only for the right price.

According to ?Le Parisien, ?Neymar’s entourage has reiterated their client’s desire to leave France, and Barcelona are likely to launch another bid to land the superstar.

La Blaugrana have already splashed a huge amount of cash this summer, spending €120m on Antoine Griezmann from Atletico Madrid and €75m on Dutch wonderkid Frenkie de Jong.

Antoine Griezmann

?Barcelona will subsequently need to include at least one of their own players in a swap-deal with PSG, so as not to incur the wrath of the Financial Fair Play committee.

Former Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho was the prime candidate to depart Camp Nou and head to Parc des Princes, but he is instead set to join ?Bayern Munich on loan with a view to a permanent move at the end of the season. 

This agreement may force Barcelona to insert winger ?Ousmane Dembele into the Neymar deal, although the Frenchman has stated he has no interest in leaving the Spanish side this summer. 

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How Much Barcelona Still Owe Liverpool for Philippe Coutinho as Bayern Close in on Loan Deal

Reports in Spain in recent hours have suggested Liverpool are set to pocket a handy €20m from Philippe Coutinho’s imminent season-long loan switch from Barcelona to Bayern Munich – but that doesn’t appear to be the case.

The Brazil international has been subject to near constant speculation about his future this summer and now looks set to end his underwhelming spell in Catalonia with a temporary move to the German champions.

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However, reports Liverpool are set to receive €20m from this loan deal appear to be somewhat wide of the mark. ?

The Echo understands that the European champions have already received as much as €155m from Barcelona for the 27-year-old, with just €5m still outstanding between the two clubs.

Liverpool’s coffers were significantly swollen back in January 2018, after their want-away star finally sealed his €160m switch to the Catalan giants, following months of frustrating transfer speculation.

Despite netting 21 times in 76 appearances and bagging back-to-back La Liga titles during his time at the Camp Nou, Coutinho has faced frequent criticism from the press and the terraces as he struggled to live up to his huge price tag. 

The deal negotiated by the club’s now famed sporting director Michael Edwards, was the largest in ?Liverpool‘s history. The funds went some way to the funding of a club record move for Virgil van Dijk as Liverpool’s fortunes dramatically improved on the field.

Edwards also included a clause, effectively barring ?Barcelona from making a move for any other Liverpool stars, until the summer of 2020. The prohibitive clause would see Los Cules having to pay a whopping €100 premium for any Reds player on their radar.  

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7 of the Biggest Opening Day Shocks in European Football History

?Curtain-raisers produce some weird, wild and wacky results.

It’s always difficult to assess a team’s chances after several months away from competitive action and a recent tour of Asia, the United States or any other far-off reaches of the globe. Nevertheless, we always marvel at the sight of an underdog toppling one of the big boys, even if it’s the first fixture of the new campaign. 

Antoine Griezmann

Athletic Bilbao’s ?late victory over Barcelona on Friday night certainly caught the attention of football lovers the world over, whilst Bayern Munich’s ?captivating 2-2 draw with Hertha Berlin was a result few saw coming.

However, those are not the greatest shocks to have occurred on matchday one. Here, we take a look at seven of the biggest opening day upsets from across the continent.


Offenbacher Kickers 6-0 Bayern Munich (1974)

Jonny Hansen

?Die Roten’s record for round 1 fixtures is far superior to any other ?Bundesliga club, with a 6-0 crushing of Werder Bremen in 2016 the joint-largest first game victory since the league’s foundation in 1963.

Fittingly, they were also involved in the only other 6-0 win in a German curtain-raiser. Unfortunately for the Bavarians, they were on the receiving end as Offenbacher Kickers humiliated the reigning European champions in 1974.

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge was given a top-flight debut he would never forget on that late-August afternoon, the legendary forward ghosting through the contest as the illustrious Bayern Munich were brought to their knees.


Aston Villa 3-1 Manchester United (1995)

VILLA V MAN. UTD

Alan Hansen’s reputation as a pundit went south after ?Manchester United secured a league and cup double at the end of the 1995/96 season. After the Red Devils had lost their first ?Premier League match of the year 3-1 to ?Aston Villa, the Scot made a memorable comment about youth.

Hansen had claimed that (as quoted by ?BBC): “You can’t win anything with kids”. 

In his defence, United’s frailties had just been ruthlessly exposed by a team that finished one place above the relegation zone just three months prior and there were glaring questions about team personnel.

How was the former ?Liverpool defender to know the fame and glory that Sir Alex Ferguson’s young recruits would garner in the coming years? David Beckham, Gary Neville and Paul Scholes were mere mortals back then.


Numancia 1-0 Barcelona (2008)

Thierry Henry

Semi final exits in both the ?Champions League and Copa del Rey, combined with a third spot ?La Liga, had seen Frank Rijkaard vacate his position as ?Barcelona manager in the summer of 2008.

La Blaugrana decided to gamble and gave the reins to Pep Guardiola, who had been coaching in the Barça academy setup since retiring from on-field matters. We all know the success that he would bring to the Nou Camp during his four years at the helm, but it started horribly for Pep.

A star-studded lineup failed to overcome newly-promoted Numancia in front of a 9,000-strong crowd, with supporters swiftly turning on Guardiola and his strange footballing philosophy. Just have a look at a few of the players that started against the minnows: Samuel Eto’o, Lionel Messi, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Yaya Toure, Carles Puyol… how did they not win 8-0?


Wigan Athletic 0-4 Blackpool (2010)

Alex Baptiste

Having been exiled from the top division of English football since the late 1960s, Blackpool made an unexpected return to the promised land in 2010, courtesy of an enthralling 3-2 triumph over ?Cardiff City in the ?Championship playoff final.

The Tangerines had been favourites to drop down to the third-tier that season and they were once again marked down as relegation fodder when they began their maiden Premier League campaign.

Though they would ultimately succumb and slip through the trap door, Ian Holloway’s fearless seasiders could always be relied upon for fun. Their reputation as the league’s great entertainers started with an attention-grabbing 4-0 victory away to ?Wigan Athletic, Marlon Harewood hitting a brace as Blackpool stole second position in the table.


West Bromwich Albion 3-0 Liverpool (2012)

Luis Suarez,Gareth McAuley

Brendan Rodgers had worked wonders at ?Swansea City, instilling grit as well as a slick style-of-play to keep the Welshmen’s heads above water in their first season since gaining promotion to the Premier League.

So impressive was Rodgers’ performance in the dugout, that the mighty Liverpool lured him north to Anfield for the 2012/13 campaign. There were serious issues with the club at the point in time, however, and the Northern Irishman was given a baptism of fire at the Hawthorns.

Still getting to grips with his squad, Rodgers helplessly watched on as ?West Bromwich Albion tore them to shreds with a convincing display on opening day. 


Juventus 0-1 Udinese (2015)

Paul Pogba,Paulo Dybala

Four Scudetti had been added to ?Juventus’ enormous trophy cabinet in the space of four years. The Old Lady had fallen agonisingly short of collecting their third European Cup as they lost 3-1 to Barcelona in May. They had a team packed with household names.

None of that mattered when the Bianconeri kicked off their challenge for a fifth successive ?Serie A title at home to Udinese in 2015, a side who had come 16th the year prior. Cyril Thereau got the winner as the contest drew to a close, Paul Pogba and co left speechless as the striker coolly slotted home a late volley.


Newly-Relegated Championship Sides (2019)

Marcus Bettinelli

The Championship is notoriously difficult to navigate. Even so, it was a jolt to the system to see the three sides relegated from last year’s Premier League – ?Fulham, Cardiff and ?Huddersfield Town – all fall to defeat in Round 1.

Jan Siewert was the first manager to pay the price for an underwhelming starts as his spell as Huddersfield boss came to an untimely end on Friday. The Cottagers and Bluebirds both bounced back from their losses, but Town went down once again.

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Athletic 1-0 Barcelona: Suarez Injury Update, Griezmann’s Debut & Valverde’s Reaction to Shock Loss

?Barcelona stuttered to a shock defeat in their opening La Liga clash of the season, going down 1-0 to Athletic Club after a fabulous late overhead kick from veteran striker Aritz Aduriz.

Ernesto Valverde’s side came close to breaking the deadlock on a number of occasions and even hit the woodwork twice, with both Luis Suárez and Rafinha being denied by the post and crossbar respectively.

But Suárez’s effort was his last involvement in the game, as he then limped off injured – instead enduring a watching brief as his teammates underwhelmed in Bilbao. Here’s some of the fallout from Barça’s opening day misery.


Luis Suarez Injury

As alluded to, the Uruguay international went down with an injury – which Barcelona have now confirmed on their official website to be a calf problem.

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The club have not made it clear how long they expect the 32-year-old to be out of action for, but calf injuries can often range anywhere from two to six weeks.

With Suárez now set to join Lionel Messi on the treatment table, all eyes are likely to be on Antoine Griezmann after an underwhelming debut for La Blaugrana.


Antoine Griezmann’s Debut

Griezmann’s long awaited debut was disappointing to say the least, with the Frenchman unable to stamp his authority on proceedings.

Perhaps feeling the weight of expectation, Griezmann was a peripheral figure for much of the game against Athletic. You may think that Valverde would leap to the defence of his new signing, but Barça’s boss instead claimed that the £108m man must do more to get involved.

Antoine Griezmann

If he’s near the area, he is decisive and moves well, but you have to dominate the game for that to happen,” Valverde said, quoted by Goal“Putting him on the left side, we know that you are going to focus on the goal, but we have a side and players that can hold the game.

“Of course, he is aware that we all expect a lot from many players and he has to look to get more into the game.”


Ernesto Valverde’s Reaction

Valverde’s management will be under intense scrutiny after last season’s Champions League failings, in which Barça surrendered a three goal lead to Liverpool at the semi-final stage. So defeat in the first game is not what he would have needed – and Valverde was acutely aware that things were not good enough, admitting that Lionel Messi’s absence through injury was felt.

“It was not good, but the best chances were ours although we didn’t do well, we were too far back. In the second the game was ours and we corrected the situation,” Valverde admitted, via Sport.?

Ernesto Valverde

“It’s true we’re used to playing in a way and Leo shines in a lot of situations because he beats a man or filters a pass through. We’re not all like him and we have to learn to cope when he’s not there. It’s inevitable to miss him, but we need to do other things too. We have to transform possession into goal chances, that’s what counts.”

Joining Griezmann and Suárez in Barça’s front three on Friday was their second most expensive signing of all time, Ousmane Dembélé. But collectively, Valverde’s side managed just two shots on target at the San Mamés Stadium – which must be addressed going forward.

Barcelona’s 1-0 loss was the first time that they’d walked away from the opening weekend of a La Liga season without a point or even a goal since 2008, where then-manager Pep Guardiola saw his side lose on the road to CD Numancia.

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Athletic Club 1-0 Barcelona: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Late Goal Sends Barça Bottom of La Liga

Athletic Club started their La Liga season in the best way possible on Friday night, beating reigning champions Barcelona thanks to a stunning strike from Aritz Aduriz.

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Athletic had two big opportunities to take the lead early on, but Marc-Andre ter Stegen denied Inaki s on both occasions. The first was a wonderful save from s’ powerful long shot, before ter Stegen got down quickly to push away his shot from inside the box.

Barcelona could’ve taken the lead soon after when a woeful backpass fell straight to Luis Suarez, but the Uruguayan couldn’t capitalise, as he turned and smacked the post before coming off injured moments later.


Chances were limited in the second half, with Ivan Rakitic blazing a golden opportunity over the bar and Antoine Griezmann missing a few headers. Athletic also had chances of their own, with Yeray Alvarez and Yuri coming close.

As the game looked to be ending goalless, Athletic snatched the three points in the 89th minute thanks to a stunning strike from Aritz Aduriz. The 38-year-old substitute got the ball on the edge of the box, and pulled off a spectacular bicycle kick to stun the visitors. 


ATHLETIC CLUB

Key Talking Point


Athletic knew that they had a tough task when they were preparing to face the reigning champions, and produced a very strong first half performance – controlling the game and creating the better chances, though they were frustrated as they couldn’t capitalise.

The visitors improved after the break, threatening the Athletic goal far more often. The hosts were nonetheless excellent and disciplined in defence, doing well to reduce the amount of attempts Barcelona had on goal. 

Athletic really deserved the win, as they were the better side for the majority of the game and kept on fighting. A fantastic start to the season for the Basque club, who can go into the rest of the season full of confidence after beating the best team in the country.


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Simon (7); Berchiche (6), Nunez (6), Alvarez (7), Capa (6); D.Garcia (6), Lopez (6); Muniain (7), R.Garcia (6), De Marcos (6); s (7*).

Substitutes: Sancet (6), Benat (6), Aduriz (7).


Sergi Roberto,Inaki s

STAR MAN – Inaki s was excellent from start to finish, and played a huge role in Athletic’s promising performance. He worked the hardest, ran the furthest and created all of the chances, and while he didn’t score the winner he helped inspire Athletic to the win.


BARCELONA

Key Talking Point

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??Ba?rcelona? kicked off their league defence in Bilbao, after cruising to their 26th La Liga title last season. However, they were second best for the duration of the first half, struggling to keep up with the hosts and failing to really leave their mark on the game.

They came into the second half much improved, and played with more urgency and quality going forward. However they lost concentration right at the end and will be furious to have started the campaign with a defeat – however stunning the winner.

The result poses questions about what the season ahead holds for Barça, once again asking how much they rely on star man ?Lionel Messi. They must figure out why they lost on Friday night and fix those problems, in a concerning and frustrating opening to the season.


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Ter Stegen (7*); Alba (6), Lenglet (5), Pique (6), Semedo (6); Alena (6), Roberto (6), De Jong (7); Dembele (6), Suarez (N/A), Griezmann (6).

Substitutes: Rafinha (6), Rakitic (7), Perez (6).


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STAR MAN – While he couldn’t hold on for his first clean sheet of the season, ?Ter Stegen made a string of crucial saves for Barca. The German kept the visitors in the game for far longer than they should’ve been, though will be disappointed that he couldn’t keep Aduriz’s stunner out. Not because he should have saved it, but…well, he’s a goalkeeper. When aren’t they disappointed with goals they’ve conceded?


Looking Ahead

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Athletic are on the road next to the capital, as they travel to Getafe next Saturday. Los Leones are then back at home for their first rivalry of the season, as they host Real Sociedad in the Basque derby on 30 August.

Barcelona have their first game at the Camp Nou next Sunday, as Real Betis are the visitors to Catalunya. The Blaugrana then take a trip across to Pamplona, as they visit Osasuna on 31 August.

Let’