Enrique To Leave Barca By End Of Season

luis-enriqueThe FC Barcelona Coach, Luis Enrique, has confirmed that he would leave the Spanish La Liga champions at end of the season when his contract expires.

Enrique made the announcement at a news conference after Barcelona thrashed Sporting Gijon 6-1 at the Nou Camp, to keep up their bid for a third league title under the management of their former midfielder.

Barcelona won the treble in their first season under Enrique after he replaced Gerardo Martino in 2014 and followed it up with a double last season.

However, performances as much as results this season have led to increased speculation over his future.

Champions League: Guardiola Wants New Mindset Against Barcelona

Pep Guardiola: Champions League: Guardiola Wants New Mindset Against Barcelona
Pep Guardiola

Manchester City manager, Pep Guardiola is demanding a new mentality from his lads as they host Spanish giants, Barcelona in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Having lost the away leg 4-0 in Spain and placed second in Group C, one point in front of Borussia Monchengladbach, Guardiola wants the home game with Barca to be treated like a final

“We dropped two points against Celtic, so we have to recover those points,” said the former Barcelona manager.

“It’s not a final for them, it is a final for us.”

Aguero started the game at the Nou Camp on the bench but, following two goals in a win over West Brom in the Premier League on Saturday, is expected to start and right-back Pablo Zabaleta could also be available.

“We have to be focused for 90 minutes, knowing they are going to provoke mistakes because of the quality they have,” added Guardiola.

“But we had a few chances (in the first game) and have to keep going in that sense and try to finish better than we did in Barcelona.

“We will try. I have never entered a match thinking we can’t win but we have to play almost perfectly.”

However, with the words coming from the Barca camp, City might need to be cautious.

Even in the absence of four Barcelona players who started that game that City would like to forget, Barca boss, Luis Enrique is confident his team are capable of inflicting similar damage.

He has Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique out of the game but not bothered because he knows exactly what to expect from Guardiola.

“I expect the same type of game as the last one,” said Enrique. “I don’t think City can be any more aggressive in terms of pressure. They were pressing us up to the stand almost. I expect a similar script. To make the pitch as big as possible. If they leave spaces behind, we will take advantage.

“City have played a lot of matches when they deserved to win but did not. I don’t think it is a determining factor. It is a short competition. If you make errors, you pay dearly.

“If we qualify after four matches, great. We only play one way: to win. If we don’t get the points, we will continue to play in our way. That is all we know how to do,” he said.

Wenger Hails Barcelona’s Exceptional Team

Arsene WengerArsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, has hailed ‘exceptional’ Barcelona and compared their play to art after the Gunners were knocked out of the UEFA Champions League at the Nou Camp.

The Spanish side clinched a 3-1 win to progress to the quarter-finals with 5-1 on aggregate on Wednesday night.

Wenger, who was pleased with his side’s overall performance, insisted that Arsenal had Luis Enrique’s side worried at 1-1.

“It was a team performance and the quality was good. I’m disappointed with the result but we played against a team with the best strikers I have seen play together,” Wenger said on Arsenal’s website.

He said that the La Liga giants were exceptional, stressing that they could make chances from nothing.

However, Wenger said that Arsenal could not take their chances to find a second goal that would put them in a strong position.

“After they scored and it was 2-1, our belief was less than when it was 1-1. We had chances and Barcelona was exceptional.

Barcelona Beat Arsenal To Cruise To UCL Quarter Finals

BarcelonaSpanish giants, Barcelona have cruised into the quarter finals of the UEFA Champions League after beating Arsenal on Wednesday night.

Neymar set the Catalonians ahead of the game with a fantastic goal after Luis Suarez’s assist in the 18th minute.

The Gunners seemed to wake up from sleep in the second half as Mohamed Elneny levelled the score  in the 51st minutes.

Consequently, Suarez and Lionel Messi helped Barcelona secure win at the Nou Camp with goals in the 65th and 88th minutes respectively.

The Catalans qualify with a 5-1 aggregate score.

Arsenal Signs Alexis Sanchez

Sanchez1English Premier League side, Arsenal have signed Chile forward, Alexis Sanchez from Barcelona on a long-term contract for an undisclosed fee in what is believed to be £30million.

According to the club’s official website, the forward flew in from Spain to finalise personal terms and complete a medical. He is expected to join up with his new team-mates at the end of July, after spending some time on holiday following the World Cup.

The 25 year old opted for the Gunners ahead of league rivals, Liverpool and Italian Serie A champions, Juventus.

Liverpool, who were runners up in the league last season, were keen on recruiting the Chilean as part of the deal that is likely to take striker Luis Suarez from Anfield to the Nou Camp, but that is now expected to be a straight cash transfer.

Juventus had also shown strong interest in Sanchez but are reportedly closing in on Real Madrid forward Alvaro Morata.

Sanchez, who has made 71 appearances for Chile, scoring 24 goals and helping his country reach the World Cup last 16 where they lost on penalties to Brazil, could not hide his joy of joining up with the gunners. Sanchez said: “I’m so happy to be joining Arsenal, a club which has a great manager, a fantastic squad of players, huge support around the world and a great stadium in London.

“I’m looking forward to meeting my new team-mates and to be playing for Arsenal in the Premier League and Champions League.

“I will give my best to Arsenal and want to make all the supporters happy.”

Arsenal manager, Arsène Wenger says Sanchez is a fantastic player and would be a good addition to the team.

“As many people have seen during the World Cup this summer, Alexis is a fantastic footballer and we are delighted that he is joining us at Arsenal Football Club.

“Alexis will add power, creativity and much quality to our squad and we are all looking forward to him joining up with us in a few weeks.

“He has consistently produced top-quality performances at the highest level for a number of seasons now and we are all excited to see him integrate into the Arsenal squad. I’m sure all Arsenal supporters will join me in welcoming Alexis to our club.”

In a statement on the club’s official website, Sanchez’s squad number would be revealed soon through Arsenal’s official Instagram account. His move will give Liverpool’s Urugyuan forward, Luis Suarez the green light to sign for Barcelona for £75m.

The move from Anfield to the Nou Camp could be delayed until Friday, however, as they await further clarification over the striker’s four-month ban from FIFA.

Arsenal is also expected to announce the capture of Newcastle’s £11m right-back Mathieu Debuchy, who completed his medical on Monday.

In addition to pursuing the France right full back, the Gunners are still in the market for a holding midfielder and back-up goalkeeper.

Former Barca Coach Vilanova Dies Of Cancer, Aged 45

Barcelona's coach Tito Vilanova listens to a question during a news conference after a training session at Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper in Sant Joan Despi

A former Barcelona coach, Tito Vilanova, has died following a battle with cancer that forced him to stand down at the end of last season, the club announced on Friday. 

The 45-year-old took over at the Nou Camp ahead of the 2012-13 season having been Pep Guardiola’s assistant during the most successful period in the club’s history during which they won three out of four La Liga titles and two Champions Leagues in 2009 and 2011.

Barca went on to make the best-ever start to a La Liga season with 18 wins from 19 games but, in December 2012, Vilanova was diagnosed with cancer for the second time.

It meant that his assistant Jordi Roura was forced to take charge of the team on occasions when he was undergoing treatment.

At the end of the season Vilanova announced he was resigning to concentrate on his recovery from the illness

La Liga: Barcelona Prepare To Face Sevilla

Barcelona aim to catch Atletico in La Liga when they play Sevilla on Sunday, February 9, as they are three points behind the leaders.

Coach Gerardo Martino sees the match as key.

“This is probably one of the most important away matches we have got left. They are a very intense team, they have worked hard and they are strong. It was very difficult to win in the first game. They are strong at home, their strategy is good. So this match is key,” he told reporters at a news conference on Saturday, January 8.

Atletico Madrid took advantage of Barcelona’s loss at home to Valencia last week to go top of La Liga with a 4-0 victory over Real Sociedad as Real Madrid also drew 1-1 at Athletic Bilbao.

The “Colchoneros” are now on top with 57 points, a number that could increase on Saturday when they play Almeria, and Barcelona and Real Madrid are behind with 54.

But Spain’s two biggest clubs are on course for a Copa del Rey final showdown after recording convincing home wins in their semi-final first legs on Wednesday, February 5.

Real thumped holders Atletico Madrid 3-0 at the Bernabeu, gaining a measure of revenge for the 2-1 defeat in last year’s final at the same stadium, while Barca beat 10-man Real Sociedad 2-0 at the Nou Camp.

Asked whether the coming ten days are key for Barca’s future in both national and international tournaments, Martino said:

“Regarding the Copa del Rey – yes. We are 90 minutes away from a final. Regarding the Champions League also, yes. We are starting the part where one of us goes one and the other one doesn’t. But regarding La Liga, I think there is still a long way to go.”

Barca play Real Sociedad in the cup second leg on Tuesday, February 11 and Manchester City in the Champions League last 16 on February 18.

“I don’t want to talk about extremely dramatic circumstances or extremely positive circumstances. What we have to do is focus on our side and get strong, knowing there are going to be a lot of comments regarding our performance after each match.” the Argentine added.

UEFA League: Bayern Demolish Barca 4-0

[highlight]Barcelona has fallen to the Machination of Bayern Munich as the Spanish side was pounded 4-0 in the first semifinal clash of the UEFA Champions League competition this evening.[/highlight]

Thomas Mueller scored twice, Mario Gomez and Arjen Robben had one goal each and Bayern Munich routed Barcelona 4-0 Tuesday night in the first leg of their Champions League semifinal.

Barcelona had few chances, while Bayern used its size to out-muscle the Spanish team.

In a game perhaps signaling a shift in power, Bayern Munich sent Barcelona to its first four-goal defeat since a 4-0 loss to Getafe in the Copa Del Rey semifinals on May 10, 2007.

Mueller scored in the 25th minute and Gomez doubled the lead in the 49th against a defense missing injured center backs Carles Puyol and Javier Mascherano.

Arjen Robben made it 3-0 in the 73rd, and Mueller got his second goal in the 82nd.

The second leg of the tonight’s clash will be played at Camo Nouu on May 1st.

Meanwhile, Borussia Dortmund will be hosting Real Madrid tomorrow for the second semifinal clash of the Champions League.

Four-time world player of the year Lionel Messi, slowed by a hamstring injury, made his first start since April 2 but wasn’t a factor.