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“Dembele is better than Neymar”

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That’s what Barcelona’s chairman Josep Maria Bartomeu said on this Friday’s press conference. Besides giving his verdict on Neymar, he went further and had a word on Philippe Coutinho, Griezmann, and De Ligt.

So, let’s begin with Neymar.

Josep had this to say:

– “Neymar wants to leave PSG, but PSG does not want him to leave. That’s why there’s no business.”

Still, after denying the Brazilian sign, he said that he prefers Dembele to the Brazilian striker. The 22-year-old winger was signed two seasons ago just to replace Neymar, who landed in the team in the French capital.

– “In my conception, yes: Dembele is better than Neymar. He’s a different player and we want him to continue playing here.”

On a possible request from Lionel Messi, a close friend of Neymar, for the Brazilian to return to Barça, Bartomeu was blunt.

-“I know this from the press, but Messi does not ask for players. He wants to play, wants a good team, competitive, but decisions are always with the club staff.”

Bartomeu also took advantage of the press to say that the club is interested in Griezmann and has taken steps to do so. The Atletico Madrid striker has announced that he does not remain on the team for next season. In the contract, a decrease in the fee was expected, which is now € 120 million, precisely to facilitate future negotiations.

– “Yesterday (last Thursday) there was a meeting between Oscar Grau (executive director of Barcelona) and Miguel Angel Gil (Atletico Madrid chairman) and they talked about it. It was the first contact between the clubs. I repeat, the first contact.”

Bartomeu was also asked how he took Griezmann’s last season decision to stay in Madrid:

– “It turns out, it’s not the first time. I remember the cases of Fabregas and Henry, who in one season said they wouldn’t come and the next they came. It’s normal in the world of football. The situations are different from one year to the next, but that does not mean he comes. There is interest, yes. Another thing is for him to come.”

On Brazilian Philippe Coutinho, he had this to say:

– “We made a very strong bet on him. He is a fundamental player for Valverde. I hope that he makes a good Copa America final, wins and have a good vacation.”

Finally, the words on Ajax’s De Ligt:

– “I said long ago that I knew where De Ligt would play next season. I still know. He belongs to Ajax. I have an idea where he’s going to play. But it’s the player who should tell them where he will play, not me.”

Some harsh words from Bartomeu. Surely, the main quote was “Dembele is better than Neymar”.

Do you guys agree with Bartomeu?

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Liverpool initiate pre-season with a 6-0 win over Tranmere Rovers

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The European Champions are back in action! On this Thursday, Liverpool with mostly their reserves, made their first preseason friendly, ending up thrashing Tranmere Rovers 6-0.

The highlight of the match was young striker Rhian Brewster who showed up his “classic number nine” skills and scored twice in the small Prenton Park stadium in Merseyside. Nathaniel Clyne opened the scoring in the six minutes and Brewster scored at 38 and 45. With 11 changes in the second half, Liverpool scored three more through Curtis Jones, Divock Origi, and Bobby Duncan.

As expected, coach Jurgen Klopp used all 23 players at his disposal, among recently promoted youngsters and some reserves, as goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, midfielder Adam Lallana, striker Divock Origi and midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who returned to the fields at the end of last season after a year recovering from a serious knee injury.

Among the holders of the last season, the Brazilian midfielder Fabinho and defender Joel Matip, who were called only in the second half, and midfielder James Milner, who played in the opening stages, were already in the first friendly.

At the end of the match, a good part of the supporters invaded the pitch to take pictures with the players. The most requested one was the UEFA Champions League hero, Divock Origi, who recently agreed his contract extension with the Reds. I’m excited to see Rhian Brewster in action for the main team. I also think that Jurgen Klopp needs to give some chances to Ryan Kent, and Harry Wilson to be at least backup pieces to this squad. It’s hard to say only based on a 6-0 win over Tranmere Rovers, but it’s undeniable that the Reds keep on fire. Will Liverpool and Klopp repeat last season, and maybe finally conquer the so dreamed Premier League this season? Leave a comment below with your thoughts!

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The Retirement of a Giant!

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Everything comes to an end… And on this Friday morning, notorious English striker Peter Crouch announced his retirement from football. At the age of 38, the 2.01m giant used his official Twitter account to inform fans of his decision.

The former Liverpool player said he got it all thanks to football and still made a point of thanking everyone who helped him out during his career in the sport.

“After much consideration this summer, I decided to retire from football. Our wonderful game gave me everything. I am very grateful to everyone who helped me to get there and to keep me for so long.” He wrote.

Crouch was revealed by Tottenham back in 1998 and had also played for clubs like QPR, Aston Villa, Norwich, Stoke City, and Burnley. However, a two-meter giant needed a club with his proportions… And he found everything he was looking for at Liverpool, as he played important roles, scored decisive goals, and even disputed a UEFA Champions League. Also, it was playing for the Reds that Crouch was called to defend England National Team back in the World Cups of 2006, and 2010.

“If you told me, when I was 17, that I would play in World Cups, reach a Champions League final, win the FA Cup and get 100 goals in the English Championship, I would not believe. It was absolutely a dream come true.” Added the player.

In his last season, Peter Crouch began playing in the second division, with the shirt of Stoke City. He then went to Burnley, where he played six games in the English Premier League and did not score goals. He’s a very nice guy, and almost everyone likes him. He’s always making fun of himself due to his big size, and even compare him to a giraffe. I’m pretty sure Liverpool fans will always remember him.

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Griezmann signs for Barcelona!

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Finally, the Griezmann conundrum is solved! After over a year of rumors and speculations, Barcelona announced today the signing of French striker Antoine Griezmann. The confirmation of the transfer occurred with the payment of the fine of 120 million euros to Atletico Madrid, held at the headquarters of the Spanish League.

In a statement, the Catalan team reported that Griezmann signed for five years, until June 30, 2024. Also, the Catalans have set a buyout clause in Griezmann’s contract of about 800 million euros.

Griezmann had the opportunity of joining the Catalans a year ago, but he opted for staying at Atleti. However, something made him change his mind up, as he joins Ernesto Valverde’s side. Griezmann will “steal” Philippe Coutinho’s number 7, as the Brazilian midfielder is currently numberless, and dignity-less as well at the Catalan club.

If Barcelona and Griezmann are happy, apparently the other side, Atletico, is not. The club from Madrid is arguing that Barça should pay 200 million euros instead of 120, as the agreement for the French player was sealed back in March when the fee to sign Griezmann was higher. Atletico is also complaining about the “Barça-way” of approaching their targets, as they seem to forget about etic values and fair play to the other clubs.

But let’s be honest… 120 million euros for Antoine Griezmann is such a joke. He’s a very good player, maybe he’s been world-class at his prime, but he is a merely good player nowadays. Not to mention average season last season with Atleti.

In my opinion, the Griezman arrival in Barcelona is one more problem for Ernesto Valverde to solve. He’s got into such a situation where he needs to figure out how to play Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele, Philippe Coutinho, Arthur, and maybe Neymar together at the same time. What a squad Barça is building up by the way. They’ve got everything to become the new “Galacticos” maybe? Yeah, who knows… Only time will say!

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