Barcelona

  • Dembele out for two weeks as Barca injur...

    Ousmane Dembele has been ruled out for at least two weeks as his Barcelona career suffers another injury setback. The France international played 69 minutes of the 3-1 win over Leganas on Sunday after going off with a sprained ankle. Subsequent tests have revealed a tear to the...

    Dembele out for two weeks as Barca injury nightmare continues

    Ousmane Dembele has been ruled out for at least two weeks as his Barcelona career suffers another injury setback. The France international played 69 minutes of the 3-1 win over Leganas on Sunday after going off with a sprained ankle. Subsequent tests have revealed a tear to the left ankle which will see him miss the next four matches. Dembele is expected to be absent for both legs of the Copa del Rey quarter-final against Sevilla and the La Liga games against Girona and Valencia. He joins an injury list which already includes Rafinha and Samuel Umtiti, both of whom have knee injuries. Since arriving from Borussia Dortmund, the 21-year-old's career at Camp Nou has been dominated by fitness issues. A hamstring tear saw Demebele miss much of his first season at Barca, and he suffered a similar injury 12 months ago which again derailed his spell at the club. But the 2018-19 campaign had been largely injury free for the Frenchman, helping him score 13 goals and contribute five assists in 27 appearances. Ernesto Valverde's side are still fighting firmly on three fronts this season. The Catalans are top of La Liga, five points ahead of Atletico Madrid and into the last-16 of the Champions League where they face Lyon. Sevilla are their opponents in the Copa de Rey as they pursue an unlikely quadruple, having already won the Spanish Super Cup at the start of the season

  • 'We'll see what happens' - Vela stays qu...

    Carlos Vela is waiting to "see what happens" amid reports linking him with a surprise move to Barcelona. The Spanish side are reportedly looking to sign an attacker this month to boost their La Liga and Champions League hopes, with LAFC attacker Vela one of those highlighted as ...

    'We'll see what happens' - Vela stays quiet on Barcelona links

    Carlos Vela is waiting to "see what happens" amid reports linking him with a surprise move to Barcelona. The Spanish side are reportedly looking to sign an attacker this month to boost their La Liga and Champions League hopes, with LAFC attacker Vela one of those highlighted as a candidate. Sport claimed Barca had reached an agreement with the Mexico international and planned to sign him on an initial loan deal but soon backed out. While the former Arsenal and Real Sociedad player would not say whether or not a move was in the works, he says he is happy enough in Los Angeles. "They are issues for the clubs and agents," Vela told ESPN. "I'm relaxed, working on the preseason and the most important thing is to be happy in the place you are. In the future we'll see what happens. "Whatever I may decide or happens I'll be happy because I'm loving being in Los Angeles with my team enjoying the day-to-day and I don't have anything to lose in any case." The 29-year-old joined LAFC from Real Sociedad a year ago, enjoying a 14-goal debut season in MLS as his side reached the playoffs. But he is confident he can do even better next time around as his side prepare for the new campaign, which begins in March. "I enjoyed [the first season] a lot, I took on the responsibility," he added. "This year I'll take on more and I can give more to this club and this league. I'll work to that end." Vela has been kept out of the national team in recent months, but his situation could change as Gerardo Martino takes charge. However, he is yet to discuss the prospect of a return with the new coach and says he is willing to step aside to give younger players a chance. "I think they've taken a great decision in bringing in Tata," he said. "Obviously I have to speak to him to see his plans with me or without me. "I've not had the chance to talk with him, but I know I'll do so before the next call-ups [in March]. I wish him the best. I'm open to keeping going or to stepping aside for the youngsters, whatever is best for Mexico."

  • It was a clear goal – Valverde dismisses...

    Ernesto Valverde is convinced the officials made the correct decision in allowing Luis Suarez's goal to stand despite Leganes' protests in Barcelona's 3-1 win on Sunday. Leganes had made things interesting in Camp Nou when Martin Braithwaite cancelled out Ousmane Dembele's opene...

    It was a clear goal – Valverde dismisses VR controversy

    Ernesto Valverde is convinced the officials made the correct decision in allowing Luis Suarez's goal to stand despite Leganes' protests in Barcelona's 3-1 win on Sunday. Leganes had made things interesting in Camp Nou when Martin Braithwaite cancelled out Ousmane Dembele's opener in the second half. The goal forced Valverde to introduce Lionel Messi from the bench, and he inspired Barca to go on and win – playing a role in Suarez's goal before then rounding things off late on. Suarez's goal was contentious from Leganes' perspective, as Ivan Cuellar saved Messi's strike and then the Uruguayan netted from close range, appearing to collide with the goalkeeper at the same time. Replays showed that, although there was contact, it was minimal and the goal stood even after a VAR review, angering Leganes. Valverde thinks sense prevailed, however. "I thought it was a goal," Valverde told Movistar. "What can I say, everyone sees it from their point of view, but if the referee has given it, it will be a goal. "With VAR, the controversy is not over. It's a clear goal. Suarez does not touch the goalkeeper, they have reviewed it. "There will always be controversy, mistakes will follow and you have to accept the error. That [errors] will not end with VAR, nor if it was a robot refereeing." Carles Alena impressed in midfield before being withdrawn for Messi shortly after the Leganes equaliser. The crowd reacted negatively to Alena's withdrawal, but Valverde made the change for a specific reason. Speaking in his post-match news conference, Valverde said: "Alena played a great match, but we thought it was a good idea to make changes at 1-1. "[Ivan] Rakitic and Messi are used to playing together and we have opted for a turn, but that does not mean it [Alena's performance] was not good. "The other day the full game, Alena did not play and today he did. We have to give everyone games because they are all important."

  • Barcelona forward Dembele set for tests ...

    Ousmane Dembele will have tests to determine the severity of his sprained left ankle after sustaining the injury in Barcelona's 3-1 win over Leganes on Sunday. Dembele was the star of the show until being forced off in the 69th minute, after a tangle with Leganes' Mikel Vesga, a...

    Barcelona forward Dembele set for tests on sprained ankle

    Ousmane Dembele will have tests to determine the severity of his sprained left ankle after sustaining the injury in Barcelona's 3-1 win over Leganes on Sunday. Dembele was the star of the show until being forced off in the 69th minute, after a tangle with Leganes' Mikel Vesga, and Barca announced on their official Twitter account that he will undergo evaluation on Monday. The France international had dazzled in the first half and opened the scoring with a deserved goal, turning in from 12 yards after collecting Jordi Alba's pinpoint cut-back. But he suffered the innocuous-looking injury with just under 30 minutes to go – soon after Leganes equalised – and was unable to continue, with Malcom replacing him. Barca went on to win thanks to Lionel Messi's heroics, their talisman playing a part in Luis Suarez's goal before then rounding things off himself late on. Team-mate Sergio Busquets was particularly impressed with Dembele and is hopeful the injury will not turn out to be too serious. Speaking at full-time, Busquets told Movistar: "I think recently he has been playing really well. After all of the debate and the controversy, I think he's become more confident. "He's a brilliant player, he's really fast, he can unbalance rivals, score goals, and he was very unlucky with the injury. Let's hope he'll be okay as quickly as possible."

  • Bittersweet night for Dembele as France ...

    Ousmane Dembele can’t catch a break. The French winger delivered his finest performance in a Barcelona shirt in the Liga leaders’ 3-1 win over Leganes on Sunday, but was forced off injured after 69 minutes. After a troubled first year with lengthy periods on the treatment table...

    Bittersweet night for Dembele as France star thrills in Barcelona win over Leganes

    Ousmane Dembele can’t catch a break. The French winger delivered his finest performance in a Barcelona shirt in the Liga leaders’ 3-1 win over Leganes on Sunday, but was forced off injured after 69 minutes. After a troubled first year with lengthy periods on the treatment table, and a shaky spell where his professionalism was questioned earlier this term, Dembele finally turned the tide. For the first time, the 21-year-old looks like the future of Barcelona and not just a costly transfer market blunder. Barcelona shelled out €147 million (£130m/$167m) for Dembele in the summer of 2017 and then €160m (£142m/$182m) for Philippe Coutinho in January 2018 as they tried to fill the hole left by Neymar after his move to PSG. A year later it is becoming clear that Dembele was the wiser investment of the two, even though for months he looked like an over-priced panic buy. An icy night in Catalonia only brought out 50,000 Barcelona fans, filling little more than half of the stadium, and they would have been dismayed to find five-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi named as a substitute. Messi is one of the reasons people go to watch the club and, with the visitors not particularly attractive opponents, at the end of a week when Barcelona hosted two other small sides in Eibar and Levante, his absence from the line-up was a blow. However Dembele took to the pitch determined to impress in the Argentine’s absence, operating on the right wing instead of the left, a position which he seems to prefer. And on multiple occasions in the first half, Dembele got the fans to their feet with sublime moments of skill. This season Dembele has performed well, even if misdemeanours and poor timekeeping earned him negative press. However, his team-mates have always supported him and pledged to help him adapt to life at the club, knowing his vast potential which is just waiting to be unlocked. Perhaps without the pressure of playing with Messi, which must be daunting, Dembele felt more comfortable. Or perhaps Ernesto Valverde had handed him the keys and told him to drive. Dembele ripped into Leganes time and time again, attempting 12 dribbles in the first half alone, completing eight of them. That didn’t mean he was selfish, as Dembele participated in small, combination moves when the time was right. The forward broke the deadlock in Messi-esque fashion too, feeding Jordi Alba and receiving the ball back from the defender with whom the Argentine shares a special connection, before finishing expertly. Encouraged by Dembele’s excellent display, Valverde kept him on the right flank after bringing Messi on in the second half, but a couple of minutes later the Frenchman fell to the turf injured. Barcelona will be praying it is not a serious problem because Dembele offers them solutions nobody else in the squad can provide. If Messi has lost half a yard of pace over the years, Dembele more than brings it back. "Dembele is at a very good level and has been improving since all the controversy. I hope the injury is as minor as possible," said midfielder Sergio Busquets. Luis Suarez and Messi struck to ensure Barcelona took three points here but, if Valverde's side want the treble, the man who looked like trouble will be crucial.

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