Juventus To Buy Costa In Record Bayern Deal

Juventus’ forward from Brazil Douglas Costa (R) vies with Barcelona’s Portuguese defender Nelson Semedo during the UEFA Champions League Group D football match Juventus Barcelona on November 22. Photo: Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

Juventus have activated the buy-out clause for Douglas Costa in a club record 46 million euro (54.8 million) deal for his German club Bayern Munich.

The 27-year-old Brazilian winger has been on loan at the Serie A champions since the beginning of the season.

Bayern boss Karl-Heinz Rummenigge confirmed late Friday Costa’s departure in a sale that eclipses the Bundesliga champion’s previous record of 25 million euros for both Germany’s Toni Kroos to Real Madrid in 2014 and England’s Owen Hargreaves to Manchester United in 2007.

Costa arrived in Germany from Ukrainian club Shakhtar Donetsk in 2015 for 30 million euros. But after a successful season in Munich under Pep Guardiola he fell out of favour with the Spaniard’s successor Carlo Ancelotti.

Costa has scored one goal and made four assists in 16 matches for six-time reigning Italian champions Juventus.

Read Also: Messi Extends Barcelona Contract Until 2021

AFP

Messi On Bench For Juve Showdown

Argentina’s Lionel Messi gestures at the end of the goalless 2018 World Cup qualifier football match against Peru in Buenos Aires on October 5, 2017. Eitan ABRAMOVICH / AFP

Argentina striker Lionel Messi was named among the Barcelona substitutes for Wednesday’s Champions League group game against Juventus in Turin.

Barca coach Ernesto Valverde has reportedly elected to rest Messi ahead of Sunday’s top-of-the-table clash away to Valencia in La Liga.

The five-time European champions require just a point in Italy to clinch top spot in Group D, while Juventus will also qualify if they avoid defeat and Sporting fail to beat Olympiakos in Lisbon.

Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri recalled veteran duo Gianluigi Buffon and Andrea Barzagli after they were left out for Sunday’s 3-2 defeat at Sampdoria following Italy’s failure to qualify for the World Cup.

But the Serie A champions will be without injured centre-back Giorgio Chiellini.

AFP

Valverde Revisits Defeat To Prepare Barca For Juve Clash

ERNESTO VALVERD

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde admitted on Tuesday that he watched last season’s 3-0 defeat by Juventus “over and over” to prepare for their Champions League return to Turin on Wednesday.

Juventus beat Barcelona in the last eight thanks to a three-goal hammering at the Allianz Stadium and a goalless draw at the Camp Nou on their way to the final in Cardiff, where the Italians were beaten by Real Madrid.

“I watched that first leg over and over to prepare. That was a knockout round and the circumstances are different now, but we do know Juve start very strong and we must be ready for that initial assault,” said Valverde, who replaced Luis Enrique last May.

This season Juventus fell 3-0 in Barcelona and Valverde expects the Italian side to come out firing on all cylinders after their Serie A title defence took a knock with a 3-2 defeat at Sampdoria.

“When such a big team loses a game, they want to immediately make up for it, so I expect a strong reaction from Juventus,” said the Barcelona coach.

“Juve were in great shape last season and won, but it’ll be a very different game tomorrow and they are certainly motivated to make up for their defeat at Camp Nou.”

 Photo: OSCAR DEL POZO / AFP

Valverde refused to be drawn on comparisons between Italy and Spain, with Juventus having lost two Champions League finals to Spanish clubs and Italy falling to Spain as they failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 60 years.

“They are not linked. They lost the two finals but they reached them and that was a success,” he said.

“We respect Juventus, Roma and all of Italian football. I don’t think you can say anyone is the favourite tomorrow, as these are two strong teams playing on level terms.

“The (failure to qualify for the) World Cup is more surprising because it has been many years since that happened.

“In these cases you always think of changing everything. Sometimes it’s useful to change things but other times it just needs a little patience.”

AFP

Barcelona Beat Juventus To Win 5th Champions League Title

BarcelonaSpanish giants, Barcelona have emerged Champions of Europe after beating Italian greats, Juventus 3-1 in the 2015 UEFA Champions League final on Saturday night.

Goals by Rakitic and Suarez in both halves of the fierce battle seemed to have ensured that Morata’s equalizer would amount to nothing for Juventus before Neymar sealed victory with the final kick of the game.

Rakitic provided Barca with a great start with his side footed goal in the 4th minute benefiting from great enterprising moves by Jordi Alba, Neymar and Iniesta who would claim the assist as the Juve defence was pulled to pieces.

On the 55th minute, Morata, would not miss the chance for an equalizer with a rebound off a well taken shot by Tevez which ter Stegen got down well to parry brilliantly.

Buffon had also gotten down to save brilliantly from a Messi shot, but the ball only broke into the middle for Suarez, who batters a sidefoot into the unguarded net to make it 2-1

Having already won the La Liga and the King’s Cup trophies, Barcelona have now equalled their treble success of 2009.

Before the game, both teams had the chance of completing a domestic and European treble this season, with both clubs having already claimed their respective league titles and main national cup competitions.

Two points separated first and second in La Liga this campaign, with Barca taking the crown from fierce rivals Real Madrid courtesy of a 1-0 win over 2013-14 champions Atletico Madrid in the penultimate game of the season.

They followed this up with a 3-1 win over Athletic Bilbao at the Nou Camp in the Copa Del Rey final to leave the Catalan club, in the words of defender Gerard Pique, “90 minutes away from perfection”.

Juventus led Serie A from the fourth round of fixtures onward and sealed their fourth straight league title and 31st Scudetto with four games to play before beating Lazio 2-1 after extra time to win the Coppa Italia.

The last meeting in the knockout stage between both teams came in 2003, when Juventus won 3-2 on aggregate in the quarter-finals en route to the final, where they lost to Milan.

Champions League Final: Juventus, Barcelona Arrive In Berlin

Champions LeagueItalian side, Juventus and Spanish giants, Barcelona have arrived in Berlin, the site of Saturday’s UEFA Champions League final.

Hordes of journalists and cheering fans gathered outside the Hotel Regent in the city centre to greet the Juventus players as they stepped off their coach before entering the hotel.

Dressed in suits, most of the players were also wearing dark sunglasses, but goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon and forward Carlos Tevez waved to the crowd as they passed.

Juve held a training session in the afternoon, as they honed their skills in the hope of thwarting Barca’s formidable attacking trio of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Suarez.

Barcelona have arrived in berlin,

Following the two-and-a-half-hour flight, Barcelona’s plane landed at Berlin Schönefeld Airport for the encounter.

Luis Enrique’s side are seen by many as overwhelming favourites in the Champions League final.

With the La Liga and the King’s Cup trophies in the bag, victory in the Champions League final would see Barca equal their treble success of 2009.

Ahead of the final, Lionel Messi had said in an interview with UEFA that a tough task awaits Barcelona against Juventus in the final.

“We know we are up against really tough opponents, a powerful side, they are a great club and its a final, anything can happen but we’re prepared,” the Argentine forward said.