Carles Puyol feels that Barcelona look in great shape heading into their Champions League last-16 tie against Manchester City.
Barcelona returned to the top of La Liga – albeit on only goal difference – after a 6-0 win over Rayo Vallecano on Saturday with goals from Adriano, Alexis Sanchez, Pedro, Neymar and a double from Lionel Messi.
Speaking ahead of the upcoming European first leg on Tuesday, Carles Puyol declared that Gerardo Martino’s men have built into the formidable bit of form that means there is no better time for them to play the Premier League giants.
This is a preview of
Carles Puyol Is Confident In Barcelona Heading Into Champions League Clash
. Read the full post (252 words, estimated 1:00 mins reading time)
Barcelona boss Gerardo Martino believes the first leg of his side’s UEFA Champions League last 16 tie against Manchester City on Tuesday comes at the right time as he has a fully-fit squad to choose from.
The Catalans maintained their place atop the Spanish La Liga on goal difference with a 6-0 thrashing of Rayo Vallecano at the Camp Nou on Saturday. Lionel Messi continued his fine form with a double to move past Real Madrid legend Alfredo di Stefano as La Liga’s third highest goalscorer of all time on 228.
Barcelona warmed up for their highly anticipated UEFA Champions League clash with Manchester City in midweek with a 6-0 thrashing of Rayo Vallecano to remain on top of La Liga on goal difference.
Atletico Madrid remain level on points with the Catalans as they too were 3-0 winners over Valladolid on Saturday.
Adriano got Barcelona off to a flying start when he curled home the opener inside two minutes.
Lionel Messi doubled Barça’s lead before half-time with a delightful lob over Ruben Martinez.
The Argentinian then teed up Alexis Sanchez to make it three before Pedro rounded off a wonderful team move involving Andres Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas.
Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino urged his team not to be distracted by their Copa del Rey final date with Real Madrid in April after securing their progress at the expense of Real Sociedad.
The Catalan side drew 1-1 in San Sebastian in the second leg to advance 3-1 on aggregate courtesy of last week’s 2-0 triumph at the Camp Nou. That set up a 19 April meeting with Carlo Ancelotti’s team at the Mestalla, but Martino reminded his players after the match that there was plenty to keep them occupied between now and then.
Barcelona set up an El Clasico final in the Copa del Rey despite being held to a 1-1 draw by Real Sociedad in the second leg of their semi-final on Wednesday. Barça held a 2-0 lead from the first leg and never looked in real trouble of giving that up as they moved into a final against Real Madrid who beat city rivals Atletico on Tuesday.
Lionel Messi scored the only goal for the visitors with Antoine Griezmann grabbing an equaliser with three minutes to go. Barça made by far the brighter start and Dani Alves created the first chance as he flashed a cross across the six-yard box but no Barcelona boot could get on the end of it.
Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu has described the upcoming redevelopment of the Camp Nou as “absolutely necessary” to the club’s finances.
Bartolomeu’s predecessor Sandro Rosell announced last month the club will convert the current structure of the Camp Noup into a new 105,000-seat stadium after abandoning plans to build a new ground on land adjacent to the Avinguda Diagonal in L’Hospitalet.
Decisions concerning the preferred external and internal appearances of the remodelled Camp Nou, already the largest ground in Europe with a capacity of 99,354, will be made at a referendum to be held on either April 5 or 6.
This is a preview of
Camp Nou renovation is vital says Bartomeu
. Read the full post (291 words, estimated 1:10 mins reading time)
Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino said Lionel Messi had answered his critics in the best way possible as the Argentine scored his first two goals from open play in 10 league games as the Catalan giants won 4-1 at Sevilla on Sunday.
Sevilla had gone ahead early on under the torrential rain at the Sanchez Pizjuan, but Messi led his side’s revival as he firstly crossed for Alexis Sanchez to bundle home the equaliser before finishing off a fine counter-attack with a stunning half-volley just before half-time.
Barcelona made it a three-way tie on 57 points at the top of the Spanish La Liga on Sunday night as they won 4-1 at Sevilla.
Having seen Real Madrid go top on Saturday, the Catalan side joined their bitter rivals and also Atletico Madrid thanks to a come-from-behind victory on a torrid night.
With heavy rain making passing football near-impossible, Barcelona found a way with Alexis Sanchez’s botched header, Lionel Messi’s brace and Cesc Fabregas’ late goal washing out Alberto Moreno’s opener.
Humberto Osorio scored twice in the second half as Valladolid fought back from two goals down to salvage a 2-2 draw at home to fellow strugglers Elche.
Barcelona forward Neymar has returned to training after being sidelined by a right ankle sprain.
The Brazil striker worked with the ball at Barcelona’s training ground on Monday, the first time he’s touched one since injuring himself in a Copa del Rey match at Getafe on Jan. 16.
Barcelona did not disclose when it expects Neymar to return to action, although the initial diagnosis expected him to be sidelined for three to four weeks. The idea is that he will start some work with the ball this week and be ready to play next week. If no setbacks occur, the forward will be in perfect conditions to take part in the group of 16 Champions League game against Manchester City on 18th February.
The La Liga title run took an unexpected turn on Saturday when Valencia inflicted Barcelona‘s first league defeat at the Camp Nou since April 2012 as they came from behind to win 3-2.
Starting the day ahead of Atlético Madrid on goal difference and a point clear of Real Madrid, Barcelona hoped to open up a three-point gap before their rivals’ respective games on Sunday. They made a strong start too, opening the scoring through Alexis Sánchez after just seven minutes, but goals just before and after half-time from Dani Parejo and Pablo Piatti turned the game on its head.