Barcelona prepare to host fierce rivals Real Madrid in the 2020/21 campaign's first El Clasico. The Blaugrana have had a decent start to the season but fell to an unexpected defeat to Getafe in their last LaLiga outing prior to their clash against the Blancos. However, they made amends for their league loss with a stunning 5-1 win over Ferencvaros in the UEFA Champions League.
Barcelona have been boosted by the return of Jordi Alba for the game, but are set to remain without Marc-Andre ter Stegen as they look to take a significant step towards the LaLiga Santander title against the defending champions.
West Brom approach FIFA over unpaid fee from Barcelona
West Brom have approached FIFA over a pending payment from Barcelona for academy starlet Louie Barry, as per reports in England from Express and Star. The prodigy was snapped up by Barcelona after impressing in the junior teams and, after rejecting a three-year deal at the Hawthorns, he moved to the Nou Camp. Barcelona were supposed to pay West Brom a fee of £235,000 as compensation, which the English club have not received yet.
Barry's stay in Catalunya was a short one as he returned to England to join Aston Villa for a reported fee of £880,000. West Brom are said to be working with FIFA in order to help receive the money that they are owed.
Gerard Pique publically slams Bartomeu and the board
Barcelona chief Josep Maria Bartomeu has come under immense criticism for a number of issues in the recent past, and one of them is about allegedly paying a PR firm to defame Blaugrana players. Gerard Pique, one of Barcelona's longest-serving players, has not particularly been the most vocal figure amidst a challenging period, has publically called out his club's chief and the hierarchy over this matter.
Speaking on the alleged IV3 controversy, Pique expressed;
"I don't want to get on badly with anyone, but there have been times, like the issue of social networks. As a Barca player, I see that my club has spent money, money that went to criticising not only people with a historical relationship with the club, but active players – and that is barbaric."
Pique also heaped praise on his club captain and revealed that he is baffled at the club's treatment of skipper Leo Messi. The Argentine came close to leaving the club this summer until the intervention of both Barcelona and LaLiga.
"I ask myself: How can it be that the best player in history [Leo Messi], who we have the holy luck to enjoy, gets up one day and sends a burofax because he feels that they are not listening to him? It's shocking. What's going on? Leo deserves everything. The stadium should have his name on it before any sponsor. We must protect our own, not discredit them."
Our job is to make things easy for Messi, claims De Jong
Barcelona star Frenkie de Jong was full of praise for his captain, Messi, and said that that he is the player who can decide players on his own. The Argentine is the greatest player in the history of Barcelona as well as that of El Clasico's illustrious past, with a staggering 26 goals and 14 assists in 43 appearances.
Speaking on the 33-year-old, De Jong expressed;
"It’s good to have a player like him [Messi] because he’s the best in the world. We know that he score or create a goal from anywhere on the pitch. When he gets the ball between the lines, he can create a chance, score a goal or assist a teammate, so having him is a big advantage for us."
"You can always give him the ball because he hardly ever loses it. The opposite, I am sure he will generate something. Our job is to make things easy for him to make a difference."
Messi is also the second-highest appearance maker in the El Clasico, only behind Real Madrid skipper Sergio Ramos.
Published 24 Oct 2020, 20:26 IST