Barcelona activate fourth economic lever in race to register new signings for LaLiga seasonr

By Sports Desk August 12, 2022

Barcelona have activated a fourth economic lever in a bid to ensure their new signings can be registered for LaLiga, announcing the sale of a further 24.5 per cent of their production company for €100million.

The Catalan giants, who have signed the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, Jules Kounde, Andreas Christensen and Franck Kessie despite ongoing financial troubles, have reportedly failed to register their new acquisitions for the upcoming league campaign.

President Joan Laporta has been working to raise funds to allow Barca to meet LaLiga's salary limits ahead of the season, and said last week the club had made a "great effort" to do so. 

Last month, 24.5 per cent of Barca Studios was sold to the company Socios.com for €100million, while the Blaugrana have also sold 10 per cent of their LaLiga broadcasting rights to American investment firm Sixth Street, among other measures.

But with reports suggesting the club were still struggling to meet LaLiga's rules, they have announced a second deal for an equivalent stake in Barca Studios.

"FC Barcelona announces the sale of 24.5 per cent of Barca Studios to the company Orpheus Media, managed by Mr Jaume Roures, an audiovisual production company with a long history of producing content, for 100 million euros," read a club statement.

"The agreement complements the one signed on 29 July with Socios.com and will help to accelerate the growth of the club's digital, NFT and Web.3 strategy.

"With this investment the strategic partners in Barca Studios show confidence in the value of the project and the future of digital content in the world of sport."

Reports suggest that while Barca are prioritising the registration of their new signings, they are still eyeing a move for Chelsea's Marcos Alonso, while Manchester City's Bernardo Silva has been touted as another target.

Barca begin their LaLiga campaign when they host Rayo Vallecano on Saturday, though it remains to be seen how many of their new stars can feature.

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  • Koeman, Van Dijk left frustrated over disallowed winner against France Koeman, Van Dijk left frustrated over disallowed winner against France

    Ronald Koeman and Virgil van Dijk believe Xavi Simon's disallowed goal should have stood after the Netherlands' goalless draw with France on Friday.

    The midfielder thought he had given his side the lead in the 69th minute after latching onto Memphis Depay's saved shot and picking out the bottom corner.

    However, a lengthy VAR check saw the goal ruled out as Denzel Dumfries was judged to be blocking Mike Maignan from getting to it.

    The Oranje were not happy with the decision at the time, and their ire continued into post-match, with a frustrated Koeman adamant they should have come away with all three points.

    "I think the position of Dumfries is offside, that's true, but he isn't disturbing the goalkeeper and when that happens, then it's a legal goal," Koeman said.

    "You need five minutes to check it because it's so difficult? I don't understand. He's not disturbing the goalkeeper. I think the goal should have stood.

    "I asked the referee, and he said it was offside, but I saw the clip about the offside. And after that, I have my opinion about the legal goal, but that was in the dressing room."

    A win would have ensured the Netherlands a place in the last 16 with a game to spare.

    Although four points are likely to see them through, it will go down to their final match against Austria on Tuesday to decide where they finish in the table.

    While Van Dijk echoed his manager's frustrations over the VAR decision, he remained optimistic about the result.

    "In my opinion, Xavi Simons' goal that was disallowed was a valid goal," said Van Dijk. "But one point is a bonus, we have to be that realistic.

    "We are playing against France, so I don't think it is strange that you have difficulty in some phase of the match. The fighting spirit we have shown is very positive.

    "Now we are on four points, and we continue towards Tuesday against Austria. We tried to remain compact at the back and still hurt France on the counter.

    "We almost succeeded a few times, but we didn't play it out well. We don't lose, and we still have everything in our own hands."

  • Deschamps regrets France's lack of efficiency in goalless draw Deschamps regrets France's lack of efficiency in goalless draw

    Didier Deschamps bemoaned France's lack of a clinical edge as they played out a 0-0 draw with the Netherlands on Friday.

    Les Bleus, without talisman Kylian Mbappe due to a broken nose he suffered against Austria in their opener, struggled in front of goal, managing only three shots on target out of their 15.

    Xavi Simons thought he had broken the deadlock in the 69th minute, only to have it chalked off due to Denzel Dumfries impeding Mike Maignan from an offside position.

    After a wasteful performance in the final third, Deschamps was not willing to speculate if the situation would have been different if Mbappe played.

    "The only regret is the efficiency," Deschamps told M6. "It was a match with great intensity, a Dutch team more cautious than usual.

    "Compared to the opponent, we had no less 36 hours less recovery. We responded on an athletic level despite everything we did everything we had to do to recover as much as possible but hey..."

    "Kylian, it's Kylian, we're not going to compare him to the others.

    "[Bradley] Barcola has qualities, that's why he's there, he does good things in training. But he's never been with us. In a match like that, it's never easy to put it at the end to make the difference, but the team was rather well-balanced, we were able to create danger and defend well."

    France could have sealed their place in the round of 16 with a win in Leipzig, though they will likely qualify anyway after moving onto four points with this draw.

    Antoine Griezmann had the most shots for France (five), including two big chances, and he admitted that the side needed to work on their finishing ahead of their final match against Poland on Tuesday.

    "I have two 'opportunities' where it stays in my feet. It's a real shame," Griezmann told beIN Sports.

    "That's what we're missing in the two matches, we have to work on it. Defensively, we were good. Tactically, we were good. We're missing that little goal; it's going to happen."

  • Euro 2024 data dive: Griezmann matches Thuram but goals finally dry up Euro 2024 data dive: Griezmann matches Thuram but goals finally dry up

    Friday's action at Euro 2024 was headlined by a heavyweight Group D clash which did not quite live up to its billing, as France and the Netherlands played out a goalless draw.

    While France misfired in the absence of Kylian Mbappe, who was an unused substitute after breaking his nose in Les Bleus' opener, it was VAR that frustrated the Dutch as Xavi Simons saw a potential winner chalked off for an offside call against Denzel Dumfries.  

    Fortunately, there was plenty of entertainment to be had in the day's early games, as Ukraine fought back to beat Slovakia 2-1 and Austria dumped Poland out of the tournament with a 3-1 success in Berlin.

    Here, we run through all the best Opta stats to emerge from the day's matches.

    Slovakia 1-2 Ukraine: Shaparenko follows in Shevchenko's footsteps

    The first game of the day was an emotional one for Ukraine, as they fought back from 1-0 down to clinch a 2-1 victory over Slovakia and blow Group E wide open.

    Ivan Schranz's goal had put Slovakia on course for a second win in two games, as he became just the second player to net multiple goals at Euro 2024 after Germany's Jamal Musiala.

    He is also just the second Slovakian player to score more than one goal at a major tournament, after Robert Vittek struck four times at the 2010 World Cup.

    It was, in many ways, a case of experience versus youth in this match, as 37-year-olds Peter Pekarík and Juraj Kucka both made their 12th major tournament appearances for Slovakia (World Cup/Euros), overtaking Marek Hamsik (11) for the most in the nation's history.

    Ukraine, meanwhile, named a starting lineup with an average age of just 25 years and 259 days – the youngest at this year's tournament so far and the first to come in under the 26 mark.

    Youthful exuberance won the day as Ukraine came on strong in the second half, Mykola Shaparenko levelling after 54 minutes.

    He became the first Dynamo Kyiv player to score at the Euros since the legendary Andriy Shevchenko did so on home soil at the 2012 tournament.

    Roman Yaremchuk then came off the bench to decide the contest with a composed touch and finish in the 80th minute, becoming just the second Ukrainian substitute to net at a major tournament, after Artem Dovbyk did so against Sweden at Euro 2020.

    It was also Yaremchuk's third major tournament goal, with only Shevchenko (four) boasting more for Ukraine.

    Poland 1-3 Austria: Veteran Arnautovic on the spot

    Austria won plenty of plaudits for their display against France on matchday one, but it did not translate into points.

    That was not the case on Friday, though, as second-half goals from Christoph Baumgartner and Marko Arnautovic downed Poland, who had seen Krzysztof Piatek cancel out Gernot Trauner's early opener.

    Trauner's ninth-minute header, his first competitive goal for Austria, made him just the second player to score on his first Euros start for the country, after Stefan Lainer versus North Macedonia three years ago.

    It was also the fastest goal Austria have scored at the Euros, and their earliest in any tournament match since they netted twice in the first four minutes versus Czechoslovakia at the 1954 World Cup.

    Ralf Rangnick's high-pressing side could not hold their lead until the interval, though, as Piatek levelled, becoming the seventh Poland player to net at the Euros and the fifth to do so on his competition debut, after Robert Lewandowski (2012), Arkadiusz Milik (2016), Karol Linetty (2020) and Adam Buksa (2024).

    Lewandowski was later introduced from the bench after missing Poland's opener due to injury, as the striker (35 years, 305 days) became his nation's oldest player to feature at the Euros. That record lasted all of 15 minutes, with fellow substitute Kamil Grosicki coming on at the age of 36 years and 13 days.

    A double salvo from Austria would later hand them a deserved victory, with Baumgartner and Arnautovic becoming the first players to net more than once for them at the Euros, having both scored at the 2020 edition.

    Arnautovic's goal, a composed finish from the penalty spot after Marcel Sabitzer was fouled by Wojciech Szczesny, made him Austria's second-oldest goalscorer at a major tournament after Ivica Vastic (38 years, 257 days), who also netted a penalty against Poland in 2008.

    Netherlands 0-0 France: Long wait for goalless draw over

    Poland later became the first team to be officially eliminated from Euro 2024, courtesy of a goalless draw between the Netherlands and France in Leipzig.

    Much of the pre-match talk centred on whether Mbappe would play after suffering a broken nose in Les Blues' 1-0 win over Austria on Monday. He had been fitted with a protective mask ahead of kick-off, yet was relegated to the bench, where he stayed throughout. 

    France struggled in attack without their talisman, with Antoine Griezmann guilty of spurning several good chances. 

    Griezmann did gain a slice of history, though, as his 32nd major tournament appearance equalled Lilian Thuram's record for the most by any outfield France player.

    The Atletico Madrid man has also started each of France's last 11 games at the Euros, with Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo (18) and Germany's Toni Kroos (13) the only outfielders currently on longer such streaks for their nation.

    France's failure to find the breakthrough means they have failed to win any of their last seven games when Mbappe has not been in their starting lineup, drawing five and losing two such matches since the start of June 2022.

    In fact, it was the Netherlands who went closest to victory as Simons saw a potential winner controversially chalked off in the second half, ensuring we got the first goalless draw of this year's tournament.

    In fact, the result ended a run of 50 European Championship games without a 0-0 draw dating back to the group stages at the delayed 2020 tournament, when there was nothing to separate England and Scotland.

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