Barcelona have gotten off to a rocky start to life under new manager Ronald Koeman. After avoiding a potentially catastrophic exit of their skipper, Leo Messi, in the summer transfer window, the Blaugrana now sit eighth on the league standings with just 11 points out of a possible 21, albeit playing lesser games than most sides in LaLiga Santander this year.
Ahead of their high-profile trip to the Wanda Metropolitano upon the return of LaLiga after the international break, here, we take a look at some of the latest Barcelona news.
Lionel Messi will leave Barcelona, says Luis Figo
Former Portuguese star Luis Figo believes Leo Messi will end up leaving Barcelona next summer. The Blaugrana skipper came very close to departing from the Nou Camp this summer and was reportedly pushing for a move to Manchester City, where he would reunite with former coach Pep Guardiola.
However, LaLiga Santander and Barcelona both intervened, with the former claiming that his staggering €700m release clause was active and needed to be paid in full in the event of his departure.
Figo, who controversially swapped Barcelona for Real Madrid, admitted that he was surprised to see Messi push for an exit and feels that he will leave the club as he's made up his mind.
Speaking on the situation, Figo explained;
"I watched the thing with [Leo] Messi and his attempt to leave Barcelona this summer like all football fans: expectantly and surprised. He'll have his motives and reasons for making that decision. I don't know what happened beforehand."
The 48-year-old continued,
"Every club wants to have a player like Messi, but then it depends on factors like the current financial situation at the club, the money he'll cost the club in wages, the will of the player... But generally, in life, if you don't want to be somewhere, in the end there's nothing that can change your mind."
Kylian Mbappe, Erling Haaland, and more: List of signings Barcelona missed out on
In what was a rather explosive interview with Mundo Deportivo, former Barcelona director Javier Bordas revealed that the club missed out on a number of superstar signings including those of Kylian Mbappe, Erling Haaland, Thibaut Courtois, and others.
Bordas revealed that the Blaugrana could have potentially replaced the outgoing Neymar in 2017 with his present teammate and World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe, who could have been purchased for a fee of €100m at the time. However, Barcelona ultimately opted for Ousmane Dembele in the end.
Speaking on the potential move for the Real Madrid target, Bordas claimed;
"When we were to sign [Ousmane] Dembele, agent Josep Maria Minguella called me to tell us [Kylian] Mbappe was within reach. I spoke with Josep Maria Bartomeu and he told me to look at him. I called Mbappe’s father and he told me that we was not going to go to Real Madrid because Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale were there and that instead he could go to Barca because Neymar had left."
The former Blaugrana director continued,
"The president of Monaco preferred that he signed for Barcelona so as not to reinforced PSG, a direct rival. And it could have been done for €100m. Robert [Fernandez] preferred Dembele and Pep Segura supported him. The explanation was that Mbappe plays for himself and Dembele plays for the team, and since a winger like Ney had left, Robert preferred a winger more than a finisher."
Speaking on turning down the opportunity to sign Bundesliga superstar Erling Haaland, Bordas revealed,
"They told me he [Erling Haaland] was not the right type of player for Barca. I understand that [former president, Josep Maria] Bartomeu pays attention to the technical side. The truth is that players like these could have come, but then you don't know what performance they are going to give."
Bordas also revealed that they were close to signing Thibaut Courtois. He spoke about the possibility of having both the Belgian and their current star Marc-Andre ter Stegen at the same time at the Nou Camp. He said,
"When I considered a move for [Thibaut] Courtois I talked about it before with [former president, Sandro] Rosell. He told me that if we could do something, we would do it. I made it possible to bring in Courtois and Zubi [Andoni Zubizarreta, former Barca director of football], with good judgment, said he wanted to sign ter Stegen and we were right because he is the best in the world."
"We decided to bring in someone else, [Claudio] Bravo, a great goalkeeper, but maybe we could have had Courtois and ter Stegen together."
Lastly, Bordas revealed that Barcelona were also close to sealing a deal for Alvaro Morata before his move to Atletico Madrid. He remarked;
"The [Alvaro] Morata deal was closed. We met with his agent. It was a loan with a purchase option, but we did not get to formalise anything because Atletico found out and given the relationship Juanma Lopez and Morata had with Atletico, they took him away."
Published 15 Nov 2020, 21:32 IST