European roundup: Inter loanee stuns parent club while Real Madrid held

  • Federico Dimarco screamer secures Parma a shock win
  • Arsenal loanee Reiss Nelson scores on Bundesliga debut
Three years after going bankrupt Parma returned to winning ways in Serie A with a shock 1-0 win over Internazionale at San Siro thanks to a spectacular strike from Federico Dimarco, who is on loan from the Milan club. The full-back had already appeared to handle the ball off the line and 11 minutes from time he hit a stunning 30-yard shot into the top corner, celebrating wildly. Inter open their Champions League campaign against Tottenham at San Siro on Tuesday. Continue reading...

Football transfer rumours: Barcelona keen on Arsenal’s Nacho Monreal?

Today’s whispers are taking a shortcut Not that the Mill ekes out its existence entirely through the careless whispers of others, but the last week has been spent praying fervently to the god of the mixed zone. That’s the oasis in the bowels of every international football stadium where loose-lipped stars, unencumbered by the grim-faced presence of a press offer from their club, spew out their deepest desires under the rather quaint impression that, because they’re miles from home, nobody back there will hear. Related: Sunderland ponder suing stayaway duo Didier Ndong and Papy Djilobodji Continue reading...

Girona v Barcelona ‘90%’ likely to be played in Miami, says La Liga head

• Javier Tebas expects January’s Catalan derby to be played in US
• Tebas claims Manchester City encouraged Girona to participate La Liga president Javier Tebas has said there is a 90% chance the first Spanish top-flight game in the US will be Girona’s “home” match against Barcelona in January. Tebas also revealed that Girona’s joint majority shareholders, Manchester City, had encouraged them to get involved in the initiative. Continue reading...

The earth moves at Valladolid to spoil La Liga return against Barcelona | Sid Lowe

Shambolic pitch and a late equaliser ruled out by VAR put a dampener on the little club’s first night back in the big time Real Valladolid’s big night had almost arrived but the pitch hadn’t. The first delivery, from down the road in Ávila, was no good and got sent back; the second was loaded on to trucks in Portugal only for someone to steal the petrol from their tanks, or so they said; and it was Thursday by the time the final strips of turf were rolled out, all-too-briefly covering the 105m by 68m space that had stood bare since promotion. By then, there were just two days to go before the José Zorrilla staged a first division game for the first time in four years. Their return had been a bit of a miracle; now they needed another. They didn’t get it. Continue reading...

Tata Martino: ‘The World Cup final was played before 78,000 … that day Atlanta had 73,000’

The Atlanta United coach has managed Argentina and Lionel Messi’s Barcelona. But he has relished the opportunity of a blank canvas in MLS Gerardo “Tata” Martino started playing for his local club, Newell’s Old Boys, in the city of Rosario, as a child. He made his debut in the first division aged 17, and went on to win three titles as a player. Legend says an eight-year-old Lionel Messi pleased the crowds with keepy-uppies during Martino’s send-off. He returned as manager and his club were champions again in 2013 and Martino’s contribution to the club’s history is now etched forever in the stand named after him. Becoming a champion as a player and manager, is, he says, “the most beautiful thing with my club. Not only that but I live 10 blocks from the stadium.” When he says “I live”, perhaps he means it metaphorically. In reality he is Continue reading "Tata Martino: ‘The World Cup final was played before 78,000 … that day Atlanta had 73,000’"

How Bobby Robson fought and failed to earn respect at Barcelona

The former England manager won trophies but not a second season in Catalonia, as Jonathan Wilson explains in his new book Bobby Robson had turned down Barcelona twice before, once out of loyalty to Ipswich and once out of loyalty to England. The third time he was not going to miss the opportunity. He wrote in his autobiography, perhaps a little optimistically, that his past record earned him respect but the truth is that whoever had followed Johan Cruyff was facing an immensely difficult task. Cruyff, Robson admitted, “haunted my early days”. The tendency now is to write off that 1996-97 season, to see it as a disappointing campaign largely notable for the performances of the Brazilian striker Ronaldo, who was signed from PSV Eindhoven for $20m. Continue reading...

Lionel Messi double powers Barcelona to victory over Alavés in opener

Barcelona began the new campaign with a 3-0 win over Alavés with the help of an under-the-wall free-kick from Lionel Messi, who scored twice, and a curling shot from the substitute Philippe Coutinho. The champions had dominated the late kick-off at a quiet Camp Nou but struggled to convert chances against a shrewd Alavés, who are the last team to win a league game at the Catalans’ home, beating them 2-1 in 2016. Continue reading...

Eyes down for kick-off in La Liga, where Barcelona remain the team to beat

Real Madrid are in transition without Zidane and Ronaldo, and Atlético are still the most likely to upset the old duopoly On 16 May Barcelona met Mamelodi Sundowns in a friendly in Johannesburg. The Mandela Centenary Cup was the prize, Barcelona beat South Africa’s champions 3-1 and the highlight for the crowd at Soccer City was seeing Lionel Messi come off the bench in the second half. Related: Could La Liga’s US venture spark a Premier export? | Ed Aarons Continue reading...

Eat, sleep and respect the ball: inside Barcelona’s modern La Masia | Jamie Fahey

The latest version of the academy that produced Lionel Messi and Andrés Iniesta is an unremarkable building but the emphasis on football perfection remainsThe dimly lit, studiously grey lecture room carries the feel of a sixth-form block in a suburban high-school. On the opposite side of the street, about the width of a football pitch away, stands a typical Aldi supermarket, intensifying the acute sense of suburban normality. But this is no conventional school environment. This is the heart of La Masia 2.0, Barcelona’s modern incarnation of the famous residential farmhouse that helped nurture the finest generation of footballers the club has ever seen. The place where Lionel Messi, Xavi Hernández, Carles Puyol, Andrés Iniesta and the rest of the tiki-taka brigade were schooled in the art of strangling the opposition with relentlessly mesmeric ball-hogging manoeuvres. Continue reading...

Ousmane Dembélé’s wondergoal seals Spanish Super Cup for Barcelona

• Marc-André ter Stegen saves penalty in 2-1 win over Sevilla
• Lionel Messi wins his 33rd trophy with BarcelonaBarcelona lifted the Spanish Super Cup for a record extending 13th time by coming from behind to beat Sevilla 2-1 in Tangier, Morocco, on Sunday thanks to a stunning shot from the France winger Ousmane Dembélé and a penalty save in stoppage time from Marc-André ter Stegen. Sevilla, the King’s Cup runners-up, took a surprise lead in this traditional curtain-raiser to the season when Pablo Sarabia fired home in the ninth minute after Luis Muriel had powered his way through the Barça defence. Continue reading...

Barcelona draws large crowd in International Champions Cup defeat to AC Milan

< !DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> The International Champions Cup (ICC) returned to northern California this past weekend. This year’s edition brought two historic clubs in AC Milan and Barcelona back to the Bay Area. The sun was shining on a warm Saturday afternoon in Santa Clara for a reported 51,391 fans in attendance. The Bay Area is home to a vibrant soccer community and the ICC has always tapped into this market with great effect. On Friday night, the media were present for press conferences from the managers of both clubs before watching each club train for the first 15 minutes. The stadium was quiet with a few supporters sitting in the stands before they got to meet their heroes in person afterward. I was able to take a couple of videos from their training. On game day, the stadium parking lots were filled as early as 3:00 pm. I was able to speak with
Continue reading "Barcelona draws large crowd in International Champions Cup defeat to AC Milan"

‘I’m not scared, I’m excited’: Lucas Digne joins Everton from Barcelona – video

Lucas Digne says he wants to ‘show his best football’ at Everton after completing his £18m move from Barcelona. The 25-year-old has signed a five-year deal at Goodison Park and follows Richarlison, who made the move from Marco Silva’s former club Watford last month. Digne has an impressive CV having started his career at Lille before moving to Paris Saint-Germain, Roma on loan and then Barcelona, for whom he made 46 appearances in two seasons. The left-back has won La Liga and Ligue 1 titles with Barça and PSG respectively, and been capped 21 times by France Continue reading...

Barcelona beat Roma to Bordeaux winger Malcom in £36.5m deal

• Brazilian agrees five-year contract with Spanish champions
• Roma had agreed fee with Bordeaux for Malcom on Monday Barcelona have agreed a deal to sign Malcom from Bordeaux for an initial €41m euros (£36.5m), just a day after Roma announced they had a deal of their own. The 21-year-old had appeared set for a move to the Italian capital on Monday, after both Roma and Bordeaux confirmed an agreement, reportedly in the region of €40m (£35.5m) had been reached. Continue reading...

Everton and Barcelona take pioneering lead towards equality

Part of the #WhatIf campaign for change, groundbreaking initiatives on Merseyside and in Catalonia are helping to create a more level playing field Groundbreaking initiatives at Everton and Barcelona have seen women’s football take two significant steps towards a brave new world of growing commercial opportunities and increased equality with the men’s game. On Thursday, Everton became the first professional English club to use its ladies team to front a kit launch while, in Catalonia, Barcelona announced that, also for the first time, their women’s side will shortly join Ernesto Valverde’s male all stars on a foreign pre-season tour. Continue reading...

‘It used to be about Man United-ness’: how ICC changed the pre-season friendly

The International Champions Cup has been on a mission to change summer warm-ups into something worth playing for Charlie Stillitano knows exactly when everything fell into place. “I sat down with José Mourinho in 2003 and he said. ‘I want to play really hard games,’” the New Yorker, who appears to be friends with every football A-lister, tells the Guardian. “José was the first person to not just embrace it, but demand it. Sir Alex Ferguson later wrote he learned something from José about getting ready to start the season. It was like total stamp-endorsing.” Memories of this summer’s World Cup remain fresh in the minds of fans, yet the modern football juggernaut waits for no one. This week sees the good and the great from Europe —  Manchester United, Manchester City, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Real Madrid, Liverpool and both Milan clubs among others —  begin their pre-season Continue reading "‘It used to be about Man United-ness’: how ICC changed the pre-season friendly"