Barcelona returned to winning ways in LaLiga Santander with a 3-0 win away at Real Valladolid. After two successive league wins, Ronald Koeman's men were held back for a 2-2 draw at home by Valencia, forcing them to drop points for the seventh time in just 13 games. However, goals from Clement Lenglet, Martin Braithwaite, and Leo Messi earned them three points as they registered their seventh win of the league campaign.
Ahead of their upcoming clash against Eibar at the Nou Camp, here is some of the latest Barcelona news.
Barcelona signed defender despite interest from Real & Atletico Madrid
Barcelona signed highly-rated defender Ronald Araujo despite interest from Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, as per his former coach. The highly-rated Uruguayan defender has had to fill in at the Nou Camp for the injured Gerard Pique and has done a fantastic job so far, playing with a sense of maturity and composure that belie his age.
Speaking on how he ended up moving to Barcelona, Sergio Cabrera said;
"I have a friend in Spain – Paco Ors – who comes to Uruguay and Argentina a lot. He saw him [Araujo] and he caught his attention. He told Ramon Planes, when he was Getafe’s sports director. I met him having a coffee in March 2018 and he asked me about him. Three months later, Planes signs for Barça and takes Ronald there."
He added on Barcelona's young defender,
"He could have gone to Real Madrid. I have a particularly good relationship with Ramón Martínez, and in 2018 he called me to ask if Ronald Araujo was ready. It was a great responsibility for me to tell him something like that and I told him that he would need a step first, maybe in the reserve team."
"After 8 or 9 days, Barcelona signed him. But Real Madrid were behind, and I have friends who were following up for Atletico Madrid. Their destiny was to go to a big one, and Barça moved for him."
The 21-year-old towering South American has features nine times across LaLiga and the UEFA Champions League for Barcelona, scoring one goal in the process.
Manchester City keeping tabs on Barcelona starlet
Former English champions Manchester City are said to be monitoring the situation of Riqui Puig, as per reports. The young La Masia graduate has fallen out of favour at the Nou Camp and has barely managed to feature for his side despite a lot of injuries in the first team.
Ronald Koeman is not keen on giving the young midfielder a run in the senior side, with reports suggesting an issue between the pair. He has also reportedly accused Puig of leaking information to the media. The Dutchman previously said;
"I like people who work every day to improve, and who take opportunities with both hands. Sometimes it's not just about quality. There may be players who don't do enough in training for the coach to give opportunities."
With his future seemingly being in question at the Nou Camp, Manchester City are said to have 'looked at' his signing as a potential option, while Bayern Munich are also in the mix for Puig should he want to leave.
Ronald Koeman believes Messi is focused on Barcelona
Blaugrana manager Koeman believes that club captain Leo Messi is focused only on Barcelona amidst rumours of an exit. The Argentine has been linked with a move away since his infamous saga last summer where he almost came close to departing the club for Manchester City.
With Messi yet to extend his contract with his boyhood club, speculation continues to grow regarding his future and whether he will remain at the club beyond the summer. However, Koeman revealed that the 33-year-old is enjoying life at the club and will remain focused on Barcelona. He said on his captain;
"Messi is enjoying every day and is heavily involved at Barcelona. In principle, just like any player, if he is fit to play and is well, then he plays. And of course, Leo is older than he was before, but he is still a player who likes to be there a lot and above all to win games."
The former Valencia coach added,
"As a coach I talk to my players, and I also talk to Leo about this and about other things because he is captain of the team too, there are rules, and we talk about many things, not just the game. That is, this is the daily work of a coach who has communication with his players."
Messi has been at the heart of Barcelona's surreal success for over a decade and recently broke Pele's record for the most number of goals scored for a single club with 644 strikes in 749 appearances for the Catalan giants.
Published 24 Dec 2020, 21:35 IST