Daily Archives: July 5, 2017

Pep Guardiola: Barca “almost unbeatable” with Lionel Messi

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Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola believes that FC Barcelona will remain “almost unbeatable” as long as they still have Lionel Messi.

The former Barca coach also added that patience will be required when the Argentine star eventually hangs up his boots and retire.

However, Barca missed out on the La Liga title last season to Real Madrid and were knocked out of the Champions League by Juventus in the quarterfinals.

While many argued and debated about the direction that the club were dangerously veering off course, from his vantage point as Manchester City coach Guardiola says he doesn’t think his former side have anything to worry about in the immediate future with Messi still at the peak of his powers.

“With [Luis Enrique], when they were good, they were almost unbeatable,” Guardiola said. “They played really good football. While Leo is there, that will always be the case — he’s the best player I’ve ever seen.”

“The best thing about him is not what he does, but how simple he makes everything look. Messi isn’t just the best player because he can dribble past three or four players, it is because he does it better than anyone else. He does everything well — simple, but well. He never makes a mistake.”

On the other hand, Guardiola concedes that there may come a period when Barca — who have won 25 trophies since the start of the 2008-09 season — have to adjust to not being so successful.

“Maintaining the method, that’s the key,” he answered when asked what the Blaugrana have to do to remain at the top. “I said that when I was here and we were winning. A day will come when [Barca] lose and there will be doubts about the method. And those that are in charge will decide [what to do].”

“They will decide what manager they appoint. When Messi leaves, which I hope is in 10 years, they will have to have patience, but I’ve always thought that Barca are really strong and will always find a way to reinvent themselves and keep themselves at the top.”

“Another thing Johan [Cruyff] gave us is to know what to hold on to when things go wrong. When you have the method, you can always hold on to it. You can always go back to it.”

Everton completes signing of Burnley defender Michael Keane

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Burnley defender Michael Keane has reportedly signed for Everton, joining on a club record fee with a fee of £25m that could potentially inflate to a club record of £31m with add-ons.

Keane, joins Everton on a five-year deal played twice for England and said that the opportunity to play for Ronald Koeman had played a big part in his decision to join the Merseyside club.

The defender also became Koeman’s sixth summer signing on Monday night after Sandro Ramírez had joined from Malaga for €6m earlier in the day, taking Everton’s spending this summer past the £85m mark.

Amongst their other signings were goalkeeper Jordan Pickford for an initial £25m, the midfielder Davy Klaassen for £23.7m, the forward Henry Onyekuru for £7m as well as Nathangelo Markelo for an undisclosed fee.

“I’m absolutely delighted to be at Everton, a fantastic football club with passionate fans and a great tradition and I can’t wait to come into training tomorrow to meet all the lads,” Keane said after signing for the club.

“First and foremost, the manager was a big factor in me coming to the club. He played in my position when he was a world-class player for a great Barcelona side and a great Dutch side and the style of football he likes to play will suit me, I believe.”

“I’m only 24 which, for a centre-half in the Premier League, is relatively young. I’ve still got a long way to go and I know this and hopefully under his guidance I’ll keep improving.”

On the other hand, Sandro, who scored 6 goals in 31 games for Malaga last season, signed a four-year contract with the Merseyside club.

“I was lucky enough to play with some of the best players in the world and managed to win the odd trophy but the important thing now is that I’m very happy to be signing for Everton,” The Spanish U-21 international said.

“My key strength is goalscoring. It’s always good to bring goals to a team and that’s what I’m hoping to do. My game is making runs off the ball, trying to find space, putting in a lot of effort and running hard. I think that’s an advantage in the Premier League.”

Arsenal close to finalising €60m deal for Alexandre Lacazette

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Arsenal is close to finalising a €60m deal for Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette as the French International completed a medical at the Emirates.

Lacazette, 26, has 11 France caps and will agree to a five-year-deal with the Gunners. He scored 37 times in 45 appearances last season, with 28 of those goals struck in Ligue 1 last season.

When the formalities are completed, Lacazette will outshine Mesut Ozil as Arsenal’s most expensive signing; the German midfielder joined from Real Madrid in 2013 for £42.5m.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger had already made a bid for the player in the transfer window last summer, but it had been unsuccessful after which the player agreed fresh terms at Lyon until 2019.

While La Liga second-runners up Atletico Madrid had been another suitor for Lacazette, the Champions League semi-finalists were placed under a transfer ban and their subsequent failed appeal removed any possibility of a deal.

According to Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas, Atletico were prepared to pay €65m for Lacazette which in turn meant that Arsenal look to have got him for slightly less despite theirs being a club record deal.

Wenger will be delighted to conclude the deal for his compatriot in a sluggish transfer window for the club despite the promise of “top-quality” summer signings during a question-and-answer session with Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis last week. Sead Kolasinac, who joined from Schalke 04, had been the club’s only recruit since the end of last season.

It would also be particularly helpful in his fight to keep his team star Alexis Sanchez.