Villarreal 4-4 Barcelona: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Messi & Suarez Magic Saves Point in Thriller

?Luis Suarez struck deep into added time to rescue a point for Barcelona in a 4-4 draw against a Villarreal side near the foot of La Liga on Tuesday night. 

After a lively start from both sides, Barcelona took the lead on 12 minutes, as Malcom’s low cross was converted by Philippe Coutinho from close range, before the former Bordeaux man gave Barça a two-goal lead four minutes later with a back-post header for his first La Liga goal. 

Malcom

Coutinho almost made it 3-0 inside 20 minutes when his chipped finish struck the post, although it was relegation-threatened Villarreal who scored the third goal of the contest through Samuel Chukwueze midway through the half, who finished at the second attempt after his first effort hit the woodwork to give the host hope heading into the second period. 

The home side’s hopes would be realised just five minutes after the restart through Karl Toko Ekambi, as his cross beat Marc-Andre ter Stegen from an improbable angle to level proceedings, before Vicente Iborra gave Villarreal the lead just past the hour mark with a smart finish beyond the German stopper. 

Carlos Bacca appeared to have wrapped up the game ten minutes from full-time with a composed finish after rounding Ter Stegen – who finished the game with ten men after Alvaro Gonzalez saw red late on for two bookable offences. However, Lionel Messi’s stunning free-kick on the 90th minute set up a frantic finale.

With the game appearing to be drifting away for Barcelona, Luis Suarez netted for the visitors deep into added time with a beautifully struck half-volley from the edge of the area to rescue a point for the La Liga leaders and spare their blushes. 

Here’s our breakdown of this one.


VILLARREAL

Player Ratings

Starting XI: ?Asenjo (7); Alvaro (5), Funes Mori (5), Ruiz (6); Mario Gaspar (6), Morlanes (7), Cazorla (8), Pedraza Sag (8); Chukwueze (9*), Iborra (7); Ekambi (8). 

Substitutes: Caseres (6), Bacca (7), Bonera (N/A). 


BARCELONA 

Key Talking Point?

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Lionel Messi, Ivan Rakitic and Gerard Pique were all named on the bench ahead of huge games against Atletico Madrid and Manchester United, giving squad players a chance to shine against a relegation-threatened Villarreal, although it looked to be a torrid night for Barcelona at the Estadio de la Ceramica. 

Despite going into a two-goal lead after 16 minutes – which could’ve been three had Coutinho’s chip gone in off the post just shy of 20 minutes – Barca had Ter Stegen to thank for conceding just one in the first period, with the German making three vital stops.

The metaphorical wheels however fell off for the La Liga leader just 17 minutes after half-time, as mistakes in the Barca defence, especially Ter Stegen for the third goal, saw the game turn on its head, with the visitors looking all at sea by the time Bacca netted a fourth for the hosts not long after Ter Stegen made another fine stop to deny Chukwueze.

Barca however got out of jail thanks to the talent at their disposal, first through another Messi free-kick, while a venomous strike from Suarez late on extended their unbeaten league run to 18 games as they most certainly got away with one. 


Player Ratings

Starting XI: ter Stegen (7); Roberto (6), Umtiti (5), Lenglet (5), Alba (5); Vidal (6), Busquets (6), Arthur (5); Malcom (7), Suarez (7), Coutinho (7). 

Substitutes: Messi (7), Alena (6), Rakitic (6). 


STAR MAN

Malcom was Barcelona’s deadliest player in the first half, with him providing an assist as well as his first La Liga goal for the club, with the pace and runs off the ball causing real problems for Villarreal, although his influenced lessened as Barca stuttered through the remainder of the game.


Looking Ahead

Villarreal will be looking to bonce back when they face Real Betis this weekend, before hosting fellow La Liga side Valencia in the first-leg of their Europa League quarter-final in midweek. 

Barcelona meanwhile face title-challengers Atletico Madrid this weekend as they look to extend their eight-point lead over Los Rojiblancos, before facing United in the first-leg of their Champions League quarter-final. 

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2019/20 Football Kits: Leaked Designs & Rumours for Europe’s Top Clubs

As we draw closer to the end of the season, the internet is rife with rumours about what the top clubs in Europe will be looking like next season – and that talk isn’t strictly related to transfers.

Kit leaks are aplenty at this time of year, so it’s time to have a look at the latest news for some of the top clubs across Europe.?

Here’s a roundup of the latest kit news for the Premier League and Europe.


Arsenal


One thing we can be certain of is that is that ?Arsenal’s new kit will be manufactured by ?adidas, after the Gunners announced they signed a £300m kit deal which will come into effect at the start of the 2019/20 season.

The home kit is likely to be a classic red shirt with white sleeves, featuring the trademark adidas three stripes and the away shirt will be a spin on the classic ‘bruised banana’ design the club used between 1991 and 1993. Their third shirt is expected to be a more subtle dark blue.


Chelsea


?Chelsea are continuing with Nike next season and rumours are suggesting that there could be a slight twist on the standard blue home jersey, with a graphic print of Stamford Bridge featuring on the front. However, the home kit shorts are the only thing to have been leaked just yet.

The away shirt is set to be white with blue and red accents and will match the design of Nike’s ‘Vapor’ template, meaning that it will feature unique designs on collar and sleeves. There could also be a special fourth kit which will be exclusively used in the Carabao Cup.


Liverpool?


There have been plenty rumours suggesting that New Balance could be replaced as the kit manufacturer for ?Liverpool, but there will be no changes for the 2019/20 season.

New Balance have been able to keep everything on the down low so far, meaning Liverpool fans will have to wait a little longer to see what’s in store.


Manchester City


?Manchester City ended their deal with Nike and signed with Puma earlier this season.

There’s no news over the specific design of the home shirt, but the away shirt is set to be black with peach accents and the third shirt will be yellow, also accompanied by peach accents. 


Manchester United


?One of the first kits to be leaked, ?Manchester United’s adidas home kit for the 2019/20 season has been revealed. It does away with the gradient design of the 2018/19 kit and is much more simplistic, being predominantly red with black trim on the neck. 

The club badge on the left chest of the Manchester United 2019/20 home shirt is surrounded by a badge and coloured black and gold, which is inspired by the 1999 Champions League Winners shirt.

See a full article on ?Manchester United’s 2019/20 kit here.


Newcastle United


??Newcastle’s kits for next season have also been leaked. 

In a slight twist, the usual black and whites stripes of the home kit are accompanied by ?monochromatic logos that are in the centre of the kit. The away kit is orange and draws inspiration from St James’ Park with a printed design and the third kit will be a dark green and black combination.

See a full article on ?Newcastle’s 2019/20 kit here.


Tottenham


No design leaks for ?Tottenham, but Nike are said to be doing away with the divisive gradient design which left some supporters very underwhelmed last season.

The home shirt will be a classic white design, whilst the away and third shirts are set to be dark blue and light blue respectively.?


Watford 


Watford pulled an April Fool’s prank on supporters with a bizarre diamond design for next season’s home kit, but the design of the actual kit the Hornets will be sporting has also been leaked.

Keeping with the yellow and black design, the adidas design will feature a half and half design instead of last season’s stripes.


Atletico Madrid

Nike’s experimental ?Atletico kits of the past two seasons are set to be cast aside as they revert back to a more straightforward design next season.

The leaked home shirt returns to simple red and white stripes, whilst the away shirt is set to be black with red accents and third shirt light blue with navy accents.


Barcelona?


In potentially the biggest twist yet, Nike are daring to do away with ?Barcelona’s traditional stripes in favour of a chequered design, not too dissimilar from Croatia’s national shirt.

The first leaks of Barcelona’s 2019/20 kit features the traditional red and blue colours in checkers instead of stripers, coupled with solid blue sleeves. The away kit is equally as intriguing, as it features a red and blue sash across a yellow shirt, inspired by the iconic kit of the 1970’s.

See a full article on ?Barcelona’s 2019/20 kit here.


Real Madrid


adidas seem to have recognised that ?Real Madrid look pretty sharp when they take to the field in white and gold.

Los Blancos look set to be sporting a classy white shirt with gold accents next season, similar to the 2011/12 kit. The big difference between the two kits will be the use of a crew neck cut on the updated version. The away and third kits will be navy and mint green respectively.


Milan

Puma haven’t taken too much of a risk when it comes to ?Milan’s kit design, keeping it plain and simple with thin red and black stripes for the home variation.

The away shirt will be white and black and red accents on either shoulder and the third kit is black with a subtle red graphic printed on the front.


Inter


?Nike aren’t willing to change too much when it comes to ?Inter’s kit (much unlike Barcelona), but there are a few subtle tweaks to the usual recipe.

The home shirt will of course feature black and blue vertical stripes, but there will be a strip of diagonal stripes in the area around the sponsor. The away kit will be mint and gold, whilst the third kit will be black and yellow.


Juventus


Milan and Inter are sticking to their traditional stripes, but adidas aren’t going down the same route with ?Juventus.

I Bianconeri are going to be wearing a half and half design (not all that dissimilar to Watford’s home shirt)? with gold logos. The away kit will be white and red and the third kit will be blue.


Bayern Munich

Not too much to talk about for ?Bayern Munich, other than a leak of their third kit.

No designs to discuss, but the kit is set to be in the colours of navy, red and ?grey.


Borussia Dortmund

?Borussia Dortmund’s kits have been subject to variation over the past few years, but Puma are keeping it simple this time around.

The home shirt will be yellow with black shoulders, but the cup kit (for use in the Champions League) will feature a striking graphic across the chest and sleeves which draws inspiration from the roof design of the Signal Iduna Park.

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Chelsea & PSG ‘Ahead’ in Race for Philippe Coutinho as Barcelona Demand £110m

?Barcelona will demand around £110m to sell Philippe Coutinho, with both Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain ready to meet their asking price.

The 26-year-old has struggled greatly for form since moving to the Camp Nou in January 2018, and has lost his place in Ernesto Valverde’s starting lineup as a result of his inconsistency. It is thought that Barcelona will look to sell Coutinho at the end of the season, to raise funds to sign new first-team stars.

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However, they are keen to avoid making a sizeable loss on a player who cost over £105m just one year ago, and ?Sport claim that they will entertain offers of at least £110m for Coutinho.

Such a fee will scare off many of Europe’s top sides, but PSG and ?Chelsea are prepared to meet ?Barcelona’s asking price as they both look to strengthen to compete in the ?Champions League.

?Neymar asked PSG to sign Coutinho when he was still at ?Liverpool, but he had his heart set on Barcelona and opted to join the ?La Liga giants. If he is made available for transfer, it is thought that PSG will look to appease Neymar and move for his fellow Brazilian.

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The pair have been close friends for many years, and Coutinho would be keen on moving to the Ligue 1 side. However, a deal could be complicated by the poor relationship between the two clubs following Neymar’s departure from Barcelona in 2017.

If Barcelona refuse to deal with PSG, it could open the door for Chelsea to complete a deal. The Blues view Coutinho as a possible replacement for ?Eden Hazard, who has been heavily linked with a move to ?Real Madrid as he nears the final year of his contract.

As it stands, Chelsea would be unable to pursue Coutinho as a result of their transfer ban, but they hope to delay that ban by at least six months, which would give them the chance to enter the transfer market and prepare themselves for their punishment.

Previously considered suitors Manchester United are thought to be off the table however, with the former ?Liverpool star supposedly unwilling to tarnish his Anfield legacy by joining their great rivals.

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Guilem Ballague Says Barcelona Will Not Sell Philippe Coutinho Amid Speculation of Liverpool Return

?Spanish football journalist Guilem Ballague has said Barcelona do not want to sell Philippe Coutinho, despite speculation linking the midfielder with an exit just 18 months after his £120m move to the Nou Camp. 

Since making the switch from Liverpool to the La Liga champions, the Brazilian’s performances have largely been underwhelming, bringing rumours of a premature exit to the surface – with a return to Anfield being widely discussed. 

Balague, however, says that’s a move neither party is interested in, with Barca adamant they will eventually get the best out of the player, and the Reds put off by the potential price tag. 

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“As I said, ?Barcelona have said ‘we’re not getting rid of him, we’re not selling him’,” he said via his YouTube channel?Liverpool are not interested in bringing him back either for the money he would cost.

“Barcelona said they’re not selling, so when Coutinho and his entourage realised they were not opening the door to him, his representatives are putting out there an impression, via certain articles, that he would be willing to go.

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“Barca want him to stay, they want him to prove his value. They think they may see it in the next few weeks or months.

“But they are worried about him and think he is depressed and down. I say depressed because that’s the word they use at the club.

“I’m telling you, right now, they are NOT getting rid of Coutinho.”

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Coutinho was also fleetingly linked with Manchester United, but it seems, for now, as if he will be staying put in Catalonia. 

He could be given his chance to prove what he can do against United, incidentally, when Barca face Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side in the Champions League quarter-finals later this month. 

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Pope Francis Comments on Lionel Messi God Comparisons

?Pope Francis has said that, whilst Lionel Messi is undoubtedly a great player, he is not God. However, the head of the Catholic church also said he doesn’t believe the player’s D10S moniker to be sacrilegious.

Throughout Messi’s Barcelona career, many fans have referred to him as a God as a result of his footballing ability, creating the nickname D10S, as combination of his shirt number and the Spanish word for God.

The forward is widely recognised as one of the greatest of all time, even earning praise from his countryman Pope Francis, who discussed comparisons between the Barcelona forward and Lord Almighty.


Speaking on ?La Sexta’s Salvados show, the Pope accepted that the idea that calling ?Messi a God is a common expression of adoration and not blasphemous. However, he also made it clear that Messi is not a God.

When asked whether it is sacrilegious to call Messi God, Pope Francis replied: “In theory, it is sacrilege… but I don’t believe it.”

He added: “People can say he is God, just as they may say ‘I adore you’ but only God can be worshipped. Those are expressions from people. ‘This is a God with the ball on the field’ is a popular way for someone to express themselves.

Pope Francis,Gianluigi Buffon,Lionel Messi

Of course, he is very good, but he isn’t God.”

Whilst his nickname may be up for debate, Messi’s talent is certainly not in question. In his 675 appearances for ?Barcelona, the Argentine has racked up 593 goals and 238 assists, cementing his legacy as one of the finest to ever play the game.

His club form has been nothing short of sensational across the last 15 years. However, many have criticised his lack of success with his international side Argentina. Messi has managed 65 goals in 129 appearances for his country which, despite still being an incredible record, is not as impressive as his club form.

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In fact, the only success he has achieved with Argentina is a gold medal from the 2008 Olympic Games. Many have claimed that the Barcelona man must guide his country to a World Cup trophy for him to be viewed as the best ever, but he was powerless to prevent Argentina from elimination at the hands of eventual winners France last summer.

He had remained out of the Argentina squad ever since, but made his long-awaited return to international duty when he captained the side in their 3-1 loss to Venezuela in March.

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Villarreal vs Barcelona: Ernesto Valverde’s Best Available Blaugrana Lineup

Barcelona are set to travel to the Estadio de la Ceramica to take on Villarreal in La Liga on Tuesday night. 

The Blaugrana are coming off a 2-0 win over Espanyol on Saturday night which saw Lionel Messi score two sublime goals, and record his tenth straight 40-goal season. Messi and co. will be looking to extend their lead at the top of the table to 13 points with just eight matches remaining in the campaign. 

Here is how Barca may line up against the Yellow Submarine on Tuesday night. 

3. Goalkeeper and Defenders

Marc-Andre ter Stegen

Marc-Andre ter Stegen (GK) – Ter Stegen has played every minute for the Blaugrana this season and has cemented himself as one of the top goalkeepers in the world in recent years. The 26-year-old German shot-stopper kept a clean sheet in Barca’s previous match and will be keen on doing the same against relegation-threatened Villarreal. 

Sergi Roberto (RB) – The Spaniard has featured for Barcelona 32 times in all competitions and regularly causes problems with his runs on the inside of Messi. Roberto will drift towards the centre of the pitch to open up space for the Argentine to combine and find space down the flank to take on opposing defences. 

Clement Lenglet (CB) – Lenglet could potentially get the nod over fellow Frenchman Samuel Umtiti due to his solid performances for Barca in their previous two matches. The Blaugrana have only allowed one goal in the previous six matches that Lenglet has featured at the back. 

Gerard Pique (CB) – Pique came out of international retirement during the break to play a friendly match for Catalonia against Venezuela. The 32-year-old has arguably been the best centre-back in La Liga this season and attributes his success to his international retirement. 

Jordi Alba (LB) – The 30-year-old left-back is still one of the most dangerous players when he is allowed to get down the flank and provide service to the likes of Luis Suarez and Messi. Alba will be looking to add to his 14 assists in all competitions and cause problems for the Villarreal defence.

2. Midfielders

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Ivan Rakitic (RCM) – Rakitic has featured in all but one La Liga game this season. The Croatian midfielder will be looking to add to his five goals and nine assists this campaign against a struggling Villarreal side. 

Sergio Busquets (CM) – The former World Cup winner will sit in his normal spot in the midfield and break up any attacks. Busquets is the motor that Barcelona run on and his calmness on the ball radiates throughout the squad during every match. 

Arthur (LCM) – The 22-year-old midfielder has been fantastic since arriving at the Camp Nou in the summer. When healthy, Arthur can pull the strings for Barca and has adapted to the pace of La Liga with ease, constantly finding a pass that many people on the pitch would never see. 

1. Forwards

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Lionel Messi (RW) – The magician was at it again in Barca’s previous match against Espanyol scoring two sublime goals to give his team the win. Messi does not seem to be slowing down and will look to add to his incredible 41 goals and 21 assists so far this season.

Luis Suarez (ST) – There have been many doubters of Suarez this season with people saying the forward is past his primem and Barcelona should be looking for his replacement soon. However, with 21 goals and 11 assists in all competitions, it will be hard for the Blaugrana to find anyone to come close to the numbers the 32-year-old is putting up this campaign. 

Philippe Coutinho (LW) – Coutinho has not had the most successful first season at the Camp Nou, but his numbers are still respectable. With nine goals and five assists, the Brazilian attacking midfielder will still make his mark on a game and his movement should not be overlooked as he constantly opens up space for his teammates to exploit in the final third. 

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Villareal vs Barcelona Preview: Where to Watch, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News

Barcelona will travel to the Estadio de la Ceramica to take on Villarreal in La Liga on Tuesday night. 

La Blaugrana are coming off a 2-0 win against Espanyol on Saturday in which Lionel Messi scored a brace and secured 40 goals for the tenth straight season. Villarreal took a two-goal lead in their match against Celta Vigo but ultimately lost the match 3-2 following a late penalty. 

Barca sit at the top of the table, 10 points ahead of second placed Atletico, while the Yellow Submarine are just one point above the relegation zone following their loss at the weekend. 


??Check out 90min’s preview of the La Liga match between Barcelona and Villarreal. 


Where to Watch

?

?When Is Kickoff? Tuesday 2 April
?What Time Is Kickoff? 20:30 BST
?Where Is it Played? Estadio de la Ceramica
?TV Channel/Live Stream Movistar Partidazo
?Referee Harnandez Hernandez

Team News

Barcelona will again be without 21-year-old winger Ousmane Dembele as the Frenchman continues to recover from a hamstring injury suffered against Lyon in the Champions League round of 16. The team is confident that Dembele will be fit to return for their Champions League clash with Manchester United on 10 April.

The Blaugrana are still waiting for an update on backup keeper Jasper Cillessen who hurt his hip earlier in the week but are confident he will be fit for the clash. 

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Villarreal have been hit with the injury bug in recent weeks and will have to wait until matchday to know if Bruno Soriano, Javi Fuego, Jaume Costa and Gerard Moreno are fit to play against Barcelona.


Predicted Lineups

?

?Villarreal Asenjo; Ruiz, Gonzalez, Mario; Alfonso, Cazorla, Morlanes, Quintilla, Iborra, Chukwueze; Toko Ekambi
?Barcelona Ter Stegen; Alba, Lenglet, Pique, Roberto; Arthur, Busquets, Rakitic; Coutinho, Suarez, Messi

Head-to-Head Record

The two clubs have faced off 41 times since the 1998/99 season with Barcelona holding a commanding lead in the fixture. Barca have won 24 times while Villarreal have taken home eight matches for themselves. The other nine games between the sides have ended in a draw.  

Lionel Messi

When the squads faced off at the beginning of December, Barcelona took home all three points when they won 2-0 courtesy of goals from Pique and Carlos Alena. 


Recent Form

Barca have been in fine form of late, losing only once since the final day of January in the Supercopa de Catalunya final to Girona. The Blaugrana have won all six of their previous  La Liga matches and will be looking to extend this streak against the Yellow Submarine. 

Despite throwing away a two-goal lead in their previous match, Villarreal had won all four of their matches prior to the game against Celta Vigo. The squad advanced to the Europa League quarter-finals after defeating Zenit by an aggregate score of 5-2 in the round of 16. 

Here’s how each side has fared in their previous five matches in all competitions:

?Villarreal Barcelona?
Celta Vigo 3-2 Villarreal (30/03) ?Barcelona 2-0 Espanyol (30/03)
?Villarreal 3-1 Rayo Vallecano (17/03) Real Betis 1-4 Barcelona (17/03)
?Villarreal 2-1 Zenit (14/03) ?Barcelona 5-1 Lyon (13/03)
Levante 0-2 Villarreal (10/03) ?Barcelona 3-1 Rayo Vallecano (09/03)
Zenit 1-3 Villarreal (07/03) ?Barcelona 0-1 Girona (06/03)

Prediction

?Messi has been firing on all cylinders for the Blaugrana in recent matches and it doesn’t look like the Argentine will be slowing down any time soon. The magician’s brace against Espanyol was absolutely clinical and everyone will be expecting Messi to continue this fine form against Villarreal. 

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The Yellow Submarine are fighting for their survival in the top flight which can always provide a bit of drama in a match. Villarreal have not been particularly poor in recent matches and will hope to steal three points from the league leaders in a vital home match. 

Despite Villarreal’s plight, Barcelona will prove to be too much and the Blaugrana stars will come to play in this match. 

Prediction: Villarreal 0-3 Barcelona

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Ben Chilwell Targeted by Man City But They Will Face Battle From Barcelona & Atletico Madrid

Manchester City face an uphill battle to sign Leicester City left-back Ben Chilwell this summer as Barcelona and Atletico Madrid have entered the race for the talented defender’s signature.

Leicester have no interest in selling the England international and have slapped a £50m price tag on their emerging star, but that fee is not likely to deter Europe’s wealthiest sides.

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Pep Guardiola has been hoping to add Chilwell to his ranks, that currently include the injury-prone Benjamin Mendy and an out of position Oleksandr Zinchenko, but now faces steep competition from Barca and Atletico Madrid for the 22 year old’s signature, according to The Sun.

After impressing in England’s victory over Spain in October, representatives from both Spanish clubs have kept a close eye on Chilwell’s progress, sending scouts to survey the youngster against the Czech Republic over the international break.

Aboubakar Kamara,Ben Chilwell

Atletico Madrid see Chilwell as the long term replacement for Filipe Luis and have the necessary funds for a lucrative offer after the £68m sale of Lucas Hernandez to Bayern Munich, while Barca are also searching for a Jodi Alba successor, with the influential left-back now on the wrong side of 30.

Chilwell has continued to deliver on his exciting potential this season, making 29 Premier League appearances, while also winning his maiden international cap in September.

?The Foxes remain in a powerful position regarding Chilwell’s future after the defender signed a new contract worth £115,000-per-week last October, enabling the Midlands club to demand an astronomical fee for one of their prized assets.

Manchester City regained the top spot in the Premier League table after a simple victory against Fulham on Saturday, as Guardiola’s men stay on course for a historic quadruple heading into April.

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Barcelona Looking to Snap Up Juan Mata From Manchester United on Free Deal This Summer

Barcelona are said to be eyeing up a move for Juan Mata this summer, as the Spaniard’s current deal with Manchester United is set to expire at the end of the season.

Mata is now in the final six months of his current deal with United and, as he is yet to secure an extension, he is free to discuss terms with any sides outside of England. He is looking for a new two-year deal, but United are only willing to offer a 12 month extension.

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According to ?The Sun, ?Barcelona are well aware of ?Mata’s current situation and have already contacted the midfielder’s father and agent, Juan Sr.

The Blaugrana see Mata as a risk-free transfer as he could still be in contention for a starting XI spot, whilst costing the club nothing in the way of a transfer fee.

The Catalan giants could also provide Mata with a multi-year deal which means that, if he doesn’t break into the first team, they could make a profit by cashing in on him next summer.

Christian Kabasele,Juan Mata

This news also comes off the back of the recent rumours surrounding Philippe Coutinho, who could be ?looking for a way of the Nou Camp after a torrid season.

Mata has previously discussed his current contract situation with ?United, telling Spanish outlet ?AS back in January he wasn’t sure what the future holds.

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“I don’t know. I’ve been in England for a good while, in a league that I’m well accustomed to and where I’ve adapted well, but it’s true that at times you miss home, your family, your friends.

“But I don’t know if I’ll return to Spain in the near future. I’m calm [about the situation at United]. I’m at the fantastic club that is Manchester United, one of the biggest in the world.”

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Lionel Messi Ties La Liga Record After Fantastic Display During Barcelona Derby Win

?It was yet another fantastic afternoon for the great Lionel Messi.

Barcelona faced their local rivals Espanyol at Camp Nou with the chance to temporarily extend their lead at the top of La Liga to 13 points ahead of Atletico Madrid, although things weren’t exactly going La Blaugrana’s way.

Lionel Messi

The home side were held for 70 minutes despite dominating proceedings, and it took a piece of brilliance from the magic man to break the deadlock. ?Messi had a free kick right on the edge of the area but rather than powering it into the top corner or curling the ball around the wall, he instead opted to chip the ball which seemed to bamboozle Espanyol goalkeeper Diego Lopez  to make it 1-0.

The goal seemed to settle the ?Barcelona nerves and after a fine flowing move forward Messi doubled his and Barca’s tally for the day with a neat finish to secure a ?2-0 win and take his remarkable ?La Liga goal tally for the season to 31 goals in 27 appearances.

Not only was it a great performance from the forward but it was also a record-equalling day, as shown by ?Opta. The win was his 334th in La Liga in his career, which means he has now tied Iker Casillas for the most La Liga wins in history.


He’ll have the chance to be the stand-alone leader in wins should Barcelona pick up another three points when they travel to face Villarreal on Tuesday night, and it likely won’t be the last record he’ll break in what has already been a phenomenal career for the 31-year-old.

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