Barcelona

  • Why Colombia’s World Cup hero Yerry Mina...

    Barcelona’s signing of Yerry Mina from Palmeiras in January for €11.8 million has proven to be a disaster so far and it already seems inevitable that he will have to move elsewhere, at least temporarily, in order to reach the levels required at the Catalan giants. However, the 2...

    Why Colombia’s World Cup hero Yerry Mina has been a flop at Barcelona

    Barcelona’s signing of Yerry Mina from Palmeiras in January for €11.8 million has proven to be a disaster so far and it already seems inevitable that he will have to move elsewhere, at least temporarily, in order to reach the levels required at the Catalan giants. However, the 23-year-old has impressed with Colombia in this World Cup so far, proving pivotal in the 3-0 win over Poland in matchday two. He provided the breakthrough in the 40th minute of that game after meeting a perfect James Rodriguez cross. Thereafter he ensured that Poland’s Robert Lewandowski barely got a kick in attack. The pressure was on Colombia in that game after they lost to Japan on matchday one, but the man who was left out for the opener may have now earned a permanent spot in defence ahead of the crucial clash with Senegal on Thursday - a game the South Americans must win to guarantee qualification to the knockouts. His inclusion in the Colombia squad for the World Cup wasn't a certainty as he only played 377 minutes for Barcelona last season. Manager Ernesto Valverde didn't deem it worth the risk playing him more, with an already impressive defence underpinning the genius of Lionel Messi up front. Mina’s gigantic size at 6ft 5in means that he isn't the quickest and that leaves him unsuitable to Barcelona's approach, where they play a high defensive line. It is clear that Valverde still doesn't fancy the young defender and he is now set to move even further down the pecking order as Barca are close to announcing the signing of Sevilla defender Clement Lenglet. Lenglet will join Gerard Pique, Samuel Umtiti and Thomas Vermaelen in Valverde's squad. With the Brazilian Arthur Melo also joining Barcelona, the club need to sell or loan one of their non-EU players as Arthur, Philippe Coutinho and Paulinho would occupy the four empty spots on the quota. Thus Mina could be sold, at the very least temporarily, despite only arriving six months ago. The player himself is keen to remain in Barcelona colours and he has a deal until 2023, but he is being advised to take a loan move with no chance of playing time at Camp Nou. This World Cup can become a shop window for Mina, just as it was for his national team-mate James Rodriguez four years ago in Brazil - with his performances earning him a move to Real Madrid. Mina’s display against Poland will have certainly done him the world of good in this regard. Not only did he get a goal and a clean sheet, but he also won 66.7 per cent of his duels, more than any other player. The defender also had the joint-most tackles, with three on Sunday, keeping a world class striker in Lewandowski quiet in the process. Barcelona’s general manager Pep Segura is thought to want to send him out on loan on a two-year deal to a club that will develop Mina. Fenerbahçe are understood to be most keen on signing the centre back, but Borussia Dortmund are also interested. Mina may be a 'small' fish in a big pond at Barcelona, but the giant defender is still young at 23 and could one day prove that the flop jibes are premature. His national team coach Jose Pekerman has sympathised with his plight at club level and insists the best is yet to come. "I have to say he's coming out of a hard season with Barcelona," Pekerman said in Samara Stadium, before referencing the notorious 5-4 defeat to Levante that Mina played in which ended Barca’s chances of going the whole La Liga season unbeaten. "That game looked easy but it was not because they had already won the Spanish league and there was pressure on them to continue that undefeated streak. He did not play well in that [Levante] match. "He didn't play at the usual level we have come to expect. I think he was affected by a poor match of the whole team, Barcelona conceded several times against a team that usually doesn't score so often. I'm sure that affected him and on top of that there are always other things on people's minds since he was a key player in Brazil. "He chose Barcelona thinking the situation would be different. I'm sure it was a hard time for him and that's how he reached us at the World Cup but we never doubted him or his talent. I do think he's going to be one of the greatest central defenders in the world, he has enormous potential. "Obviously he needs to feel the support of his club, his team-mates, he needs to adapt to Barcelona in an ongoing context and he'll play at the level he played at with the national team in the last game. I'm completely convinced of this, Yerry will go on to do great things." Colombia fans will be hoping that Mina continues to do great things at this World Cup and, in the process, perhaps Barcelona will be won over again by the player they had so much faith in just six months ago. With input from Ignasi Oliva, Goal's Barcelona correspondent.

  • Lenglet to make decision on €35 million ...

    Barcelona target Clement Lenglet is set to decide his future this weekend. The Sevilla defender has long been linked with a move to Camp Nou, and Manchester United have also been credited with an interest in securing his signature. Barca, though, edged ahead of United in the ra...

    Lenglet to make decision on €35 million Barcelona move

    Barcelona target Clement Lenglet is set to decide his future this weekend. The Sevilla defender has long been linked with a move to Camp Nou, and Manchester United have also been credited with an interest in securing his signature. Barca, though, edged ahead of United in the race to acquire Lenglet, with a €35 million (£31m/$41m) move on the verge of completion. The fee matches his release clause. Sources have confirmed to Goal that no decision has yet been taken over Lenglet's future, but the 23-year-old is set to clarify his future at the end of the week. Sevilla return to pre-season training on Monday, and Lenglet is understood to be keen to make a decision swiftly. Sevilla have thus far failed to agree a new contract with their defender, and have started scouting potential replacements, including Florian Lejeune of Newcastle and Gianmarco Ferrari of Sampdoria. Barca have yet to secure their first signing of the summer under manager Ernesto Valverde, but hope that Lenglet will choose to move to Camp Nou. The club have been linked with a number of marquee players, including Tottenham's Christian Eriksen and Bayern Munich's Thiago Alcantara. Indeed, the Spain international has remained tight-lipped on his future amid swirling speculation regarding a bid from the Catalan giants.

  • Rafinha on hunt for new club amid Premie...

    Barcelona midfielder Rafinha will look to end his loan at Inter and "find a new team as soon as possible" following interest from "big teams" according to his father and agent, former Brazil international Mazinho. Inter agreed a loan deal for the 25-year-old in January, with the...

    Rafinha on hunt for new club amid Premier League, La Liga and Bundesliga offers

    Barcelona midfielder Rafinha will look to end his loan at Inter and "find a new team as soon as possible" following interest from "big teams" according to his father and agent, former Brazil international Mazinho. Inter agreed a loan deal for the 25-year-old in January, with the option to buy for €38 million (£33.5m/$44m), but Mazinho said the club has not shown enough desire to secure a permanent deal for the Brazilian playmaker. Rafinha scored twice in 17 appearances for Inter after falling out of favour at Camp Nou, but the arrival of Radja Nainggolan at San Siro indicated that he is not in head coach Luciano Spalletti's plans. "The agreement with the club expired on June 5," Mazinho told Gazzetta dello Sport. "Now it is right to look for other solutions. "If the people at Inter had strongly desired my son, they would have moved with more determination." Rafinha enjoyed three seasons in the first team at Barcelona, making 48 La Liga appearances for the Blaugrana between 2014 and 2017, but failed to reclaim his place in the team after undergoing surgery on a meniscus problem in April 2017. Mazinho gave no indication that his son would return to Camp Nou, saying: "We need to evaluate the best for him. Until now everything was still waiting for Inter, now it's time to find a new team as soon as possible. "La Liga, Premier League, Ligue 1 and Bundesliga clubs have come in. From Serie A, of course, some big teams have already contacted us. "The goal is to start the season with a new shirt. It does not depend only on us, but also on Barcelona."

  • Busquets: Iniesta is more ambitious than...

    Andres Iniesta has extra motivation to bow out on top at his last World Cup, according to long-time Spain and Barcelona colleague Sergio Busquets. Iniesta unforgettably fired Spain to World Cup glory in 2010 with an extra-time winner against Netherlands in Johannesburg – a side ...

    Busquets: Iniesta is more ambitious than ever

    Andres Iniesta has extra motivation to bow out on top at his last World Cup, according to long-time Spain and Barcelona colleague Sergio Busquets. Iniesta unforgettably fired Spain to World Cup glory in 2010 with an extra-time winner against Netherlands in Johannesburg – a side that may have similarities to this current group. The defending champions failed to make it past the group stage at Brazil 2014, meaning one of the greatest players of this generation has one more shot at global glory before beginning the next chapter of his career with J.League club Vissel Kobe - even if he has not entirely ruled out continuing at international level. Hastily-installed head coach Fernando Hierro has selected Iniesta from the start in both matches so far at Russia 2018 – the blockbusting 3-3 draw against Portugal and a tight, tense 1-0 victory over Iran. "I think he's doing really well. This is his last World Cup and I think that makes him more ambitious," said Busquets ahead of Monday's concluding Group B fixture against Morocco in Kaliningrad. "Andres Iniesta will be fully ready whenever the coach decides to line him up because we know his quality and the type of person he is." Spain's instantly recognisable and hypnotic passing style remains in place but the muscular presence of Diego Costa at centre-forward has added an extra dimension to their play – one that the long-serving Busquets welcomes. Atletico Madrid favourite Costa has three goals from Spain's two matches in this tournament. "First of all, no player is alike and no opponent is alike," Busquets added. "Against Portugal we could play that way but against Iran we couldn't use those quick transitions. "What's good about playing with different players is, staying true to our style, we can apply the style to the different situations. "The style is really the same but there are a few tweaks that change. This makes us less predictable." Spain face off against Morocco on Monday, knowing a victory will ensure their place in the round of 16. 

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