Daily Archives: February 5, 2018

Barca vice-president blames Neymar for inflated transfer fees

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FC Barcelona vice-president Jordi Mestre said that Neymar’s behaviour prior to his switch to Paris St-Germain is the reason for football’s inflated transfer fees.

Mestre reportedly claimed that Brazil forward, 25, played “cat and mouse” with the Catalan club before his exit in August, when PSG paid 220m euros for Neymar, making him the most expensive player in history.

“We would have saved a lot of money and a lot of media noise,” Mestre added. “What hurt me the most was the way it happened.”

“If he came to us and said, ‘I want to go’, we would have reached an agreement. What you can’t do is rock the boat. He told us nothing. If he had done, PSG would have been able to buy him for less money and it would have cost us less to sign players too.”

Before Neymar’s parting of ways from Barca, he had signed a new five-year new deal with the club in July 2016, which included a 8.5m euro renewal bonus, and added at the time of his move to PSG that he had “followed his heart”.

“The decision was difficult to take,” the Olympic gold winner added. “I didn’t come for the money. I came for the motivation and the challenge.”

Since Neymar’s departure, Barcelona have spent £142m on signing Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool, having brought in Ousmane Dembele from Borussia Dortmund for an initial £97m, which could rise to £136m.

Following Neymar’s departure, Barcelona said they would withhold a further 26m euro (£23m) loyalty bonus, with FIFA currently investigating following an official complaint from Neymar regarding the issue.

“It arrived at a point where we saw where things were going, so we told him we would not pay his contract renewal loyalty fee,” said Mestre.

Serie A: Juventus decimates Sassuolo as Napoli stays ahead with win

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Juventus thrashed Sassuolo in the Serie A by 7-0 even as Napoli maintained their one-point lead with a 2-0 win over Benevento.

Alex Sandro opened the scoring after nine minutes as Sassuolo failed to clear a corner and, and despite the visitor’s efforts to get back into the game their spell of possession ended with a Juventus breakaway which culminated with a corner that found Sami Khedira unmaked, allowing the German international freedom to slot in Juve’s second goal.

A clever pass from Miralem Pjanic a couple of minutes later saw Juventus add their third goal and a second for Sami Khedira as they sprung Sassuolo’s offside trap, before Pjanic himself made it 4-0 as he fired home from the edge of the area.

Striker Gonzalo Higuain joined the scorers as he made it five with a shot from the edge of the area at 63 minutes, and beat the offside trap to collect a long ball and rounded the keeper before sliding home with a little over 15 minutes remaining.

Higuain then grabbed his third to complete his hat-trick with eight minutes to go as he latched onto Bernardeschi’s fine pass and lifted the ball over the diving keeper from a narrow angle.

Earlier Benevento, Higuain’s former club Napoli started strongly and got their first goal in 20 minutes when Dries Mertens made a clever turn and chip the ball into the far corner.

The visitors continued to keep up the pressure as Lorenzo Insigne’s lob hitting the woodwork, and their effort bore fruit when Marek Hamsik tucked home from close range early in the second half.

The game also saw VAR came into play as Benevento were given a penalty for a foul in the box, but the Video Assistant Referee spotted an offside in the lead-up and changed the decision.

Kevin De Bruyne: Man City playmaker looking forward to brief break

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Kevin de Bruyne says that Manchester City’s weary players are grateful for some time off before their next game against Leicester.

City boss Pep Guardiola, who saw his side draw 1-1 with Burnley on Saturday, has given his squad three days leave ahead of the game against the Foxes next weekend.

Benjamin Mendy, Gabriel Jesus, Leroy Sane, John Stones, David Silva, Fabian Delph and Phil Foden are all sidelined for City as the Manchester team is gradually plagued with injuries amidst a schedule packed with domestic fixtures.

“I was feeling it from the first minute,” said De Bruyne after the match at Burnley. “You feel great for 10 games, then you feel OK for 10 games and then the rest you feel like shit.”

On the other hand, De Bruyne, 26, has missed only three of City’s 39 games in all competitions as the Blues still chasing four trophies this season. His workload has been increased by David Silva’s personal circumstances and the sidelining of Yaya Toure, as the latter has been limited to only 89 minutes of Premier League football.

In his appearances, the playmaker has completed 2,975 minutes in a City colours, while also registering the most assists, crosses and through balls in the division and covering more ground than many players do in a season.

“You know, we’ve got to do what we’ve got to do. We’ve only got 15 or 16 players available at the moment so we need to get through it,” added De Bruyne.

The week-long gap between fixtures is City’s longest since the November international break. They will host Leicester at the Etihad on Saturday.

“It will do us a lot of good,” said De Bruyne. “I’m going away, it doesn’t matter where!”