Tag: FC Barcelona

Messi and Suarez score late to help Barca overcome Alaves

Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez struck late to rally FC Barcelona a 2-1 win over Alaves while keeping the Catalans 11 points clear at the top of La Liga and preserving their unbeaten record in the league.

Alaves, who had 2 wins and a draw in their last 3 Liga games were the only team to win at the Camp Nou in the league last season.

Indeed, they looked set for the same upset against the Catalan team again when the Sweden striker John Guidetti gave them a shock lead in the 23rd minute, falling over as he lashed the ball past Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Messi then had a free-kick hit the bar while Paulinho had another chance hooked off the line and Coutinho, a £142m signing from Liverpool, had a shot deflected wide.

Even as wave after wave of attacks from Barca came and a handful of impressive saves from the visiting goalkeeper, Fernando Pacheco was neede, Alaves were lively throughout and could have added a second goal soon after going ahead, Ruben Sobrino seeing a chance clawed away, while Ruben Duarte was denied by Gerard Pique’s block.

It was long after half-time that Luis Suarez finally levelled for Barca in the 72nd minute as the Uruguayan striker scored for the eighth league game in a row.

The equaliser already maintained Barcelona’s status as the only unbeaten team in Europe’s top five leagues before Messi then gave them a seventh consecutive Liga win by curling a spectacular free-kick beyond the reach of the former Pacheco in the 84th minute.

The result meant that Barcelona top the standings with 57 points, 11 ahead of their nearest challengers, Atletico Madrid, and 19 ahead of the champions, Real Madrid.

Atletico team had to overcome the absence of their injured striker Diego Costa to beat Las Palmas 3-0 while Sevilla were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Getafe after a controversial equaliser in injury time.

Gerard Pique signs Barca contract extension with €500m buyout clause

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has agreed to a contract extension with the Catalan club that runs through to 2022.

Barca has also armed the new contract to include a 500m euro (£440m) buyout clause after losing Brazilian superstar Neymar in an aggressive contract buyout by Paris Saint-Germain last summer.

“The club and the player have agreed terms on a new deal through to June 30, 2022. We will announce when the official signing will take place in a couple of days,” FC Barcelona announced in a statement on their website.

Barcelona-born Pique was part of the club’s youth system between 1997 and 2004 before four seasons at Old Trafford brought just 23 appearances in all competitions.

However, Pique, 30, has since played 422 games for the Catalan club after rejoining from Manchester United in 2008, increasingly steady presence as centre-back with the Catalans winning three Champions Leagues and six Spanish Liga titles during his tenure.

The club, who secured the Copa del Rey trophy last season but missed out on the La Liga trophy, is also currently top the Spanish top-flight with a nine-point lead over Atletico Madrid.

The well-spoken Spanish International has also gathered more than 20 honours with the club, including six La Liga titles and three Champions Leagues, and was also part of the Spain side that won the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012.

Philippe Coutinho secures “dream move” to FC Barcelona

FC Barcelona has signed Philippe Coutinho  for a fee that could reach £142m, with the Brazilian playmaker describing his move from Liverpool to Barcelona as a “dream”.

An official statement on the official Liverpool website read: “Liverpool FC can confirm Philippe Coutinho will be leaving the club after a transfer agreement was reached with FC Barcelona, subject to a medical and agreement of personal terms. The player now has permission to complete the usual formalities to conclude the transfer immediately.”

Barca subsequently confirmed Coutinho’s arrival on their website shortly afterwards, revealing the player will have a €400m (£355m) buyout clause for the five-and-a-half-year deal that is also worth £12.1m a season.

The package for the player’s transfer consists of a basic fee of £106m, plus a further £36m in variables, of which £26m should be easily met — including an additional £17m would be payable for the first 100 games Coutinho plays for Barca with the charge of £4.4m per 25 games.

Furthermore, there will be an additional further £4.4m that would be paid for Champions League qualification in the first two seasons with a £4.4m bonus for winning the competition.

“I’m very happy, very happy. I have always said that it is a dream that I am living and I am very happy to be here,” Coutinho told Barca TV. “To be able to play, win titles, make the fans happy … always play with joy. It is incredible to know that I am going to live with idols; players with a lot of history.”

“Footballers like Leo Messi, Luis Suarez, [Andres] Iniesta, [Gerard] Pique, [Sergio] Busquets. I am very happy to be able to live together, to be able to learn from them and be able to win together.”