Xavi says Barca's new signings may not all be registered for LaLiga opener

By Sports Desk August 12, 2022

Xavi says Barcelona are "very optimistic" that their new signings will be registered, but they may not all be given the green light for their first match of the LaLiga season against Rayo Vallecano.

Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, Jules Kounde, Andreas Christensen and Franck Kessie have arrived at Camp Nou since the end of last season, but there is uncertainty over whether they will be able to make their competitive debuts on Saturday.

The Catalan giants have been busy trying to raise funds in order to meet LaLiga's salary limits ahead of the season and activated a fourth economic lever on Friday.

Barca sold a further 24.5 per cent of their production company for €100million, having also agreed a hugely lucrative sponsorship deal with Spotify and sold a percentage of LaLiga broadcast rights, 

They have been able to lower their wage bill by offloading players and more could follow, with Frenkie de Jong and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang reportedly targets for Chelsea.

Blaugrana head coach Xavi says he is prepared for the possibility that some of his new men may not be eligible to play this weekend.

He told reporters: "We are working hard and everyone at the club is very positive. Maybe not 100 per cent, but we are optimistic. We'll see. The club has signed very well, I am very excited about the players we have signed. We have time until tomorrow and now we are very optimistic."

Xavi maintained his plans for the opening match of the season have not been badly disrupted by being unsure over who will be available.

He said: "It has little influence, as at the end of the day we work on different systems, different variants. Either one or the other players, very few things change.

"We pretty much have two players for each position. We work the same, we don't have a different system with the way we play in attack. Not a lot varies and I insist that right now we are very optimistic of registering the players."

Manchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva and Chelsea defender Marcos Alonso continue to be linked with Barca, with just under three weeks before the transfer window closes.

A deal to sign Alonso is reported to have been agreed and Xavi made it clear he is eager to do further business.

"We are still planning ahead, that's a reality," the former Spain midfielder said. "We are going to see what we are going to do until August 31.

"Of course, we need to have players leave in order for others to come, but the transfer market is open until the 31st and there is work to be done for all of us. We'll see."

Xavi also revealed he wanted Nico Gonzalez to stay rather than join Valencia on loan for the season, adding: "[Nico] came to me three weeks ago. I insisted that he continue because he would have minutes. I like Nico.

"But a few days ago he came back and told me that there was a team where he would play. He has been brave and is going to Valencia.

"I hope he comes back more mature because it must be important for the future of Barca. For the midfield we have [Sergio] Busquets, [Miralem] Pjanic, Kessie, Frenkie, Sergi Roberto, and even Christensen, who can play there."

Related items

  • Argentina 3-0 Jamaica: Super sub Messi nets brace to extend unbeaten streak to 35 matches Argentina 3-0 Jamaica: Super sub Messi nets brace to extend unbeaten streak to 35 matches

    Argentina were never in any danger during their 3-0 friendly win against Jamaica on Tuesday, played at a neutral site in the United States' Red Bull Arena.

    Alvarez opened the scoring in the 13th minute thanks to some terrific work from Lautaro Martinez, who was able to snake his way into the box, beating multiple defenders to get to the touchline and drag one back along the edge of the six-yard box for a simple tap-in.

    Argentina continued to create half-chances throughout the remainder of the first half, and it was more of the same to begin the second 45, with Martinez going close after a slick one-touch pass from Alexis Mac Allister gave him some space inside the box, but he pushed his shot wide of the far-post.

    Lionel Messi was subbed on in the 56th minute, and just 10 minutes later he had his first chance after a one-two on the edge of the area allowed him to break into the left-hand side of the box, but his shot from a sharp angle was easily thwarted at the near post.

    But fans in attendance would get what they came for in the 87th minute, when Messi picked up a deflected pass just outside the penalty area and fired his left-foot shot hard and low across his body into the bottom-right corner.

    Just two minutes later Argentina were awarded a free kick in the same spot, and Messi again converted, this time around the wall into the bottom-left corner.

    What does it mean? Argentina now two games away from history

    With this result, Argentina are now unbeaten in their past 35 games dating back to their loss in the 2019 Copa America semi-final against Brazil. 

    Italy holds the record at 37 games without a loss – which they set just last year. Argentina's next two games will be in the World Cup against Saudi Arabia and Mexico, and if they make it through unscathed, they will play Poland for the new record.

    Messi the super sub

    Despite only playing 35 minutes, Messi led all players with five shots, four shots on target and three successful dribbles. Only Alvarez (three) created more chances than Messi's two, and he scored two goals for his second consecutive international fixture after also netting a double against Honduras this past weekend.

    Reid struggles with Argentinian physicality

    Bobby Reid had a difficult outing down the left-hand side, being credited with only two duels won from 11 tries – the lowest percentage on the pitch. He also had a passing accuracy of 77 per cent, which was one of the lowest marks from either side, while attempting no shots and creating no chances.

    What's next? 

    Argentina will take their unbeaten streak into the World Cup, where they will play Saudi Arabia first up. Jamaica do not have any fixtures scheduled until March's CONCACAF Nations League.

  • 'We just need to put things together' - Bailey, Antonio start for Reggae Boyz against Argentina 'We just need to put things together' - Bailey, Antonio start for Reggae Boyz against Argentina

     Jamaica Reggae Boy forward Leon Bailey is convinced the unit can produce plenty of quality once they get things right, but admittedly expects a tough outing against Argentina.

    The Jamaicans will clash with Argentina, at 7:00 pm on Tuesday, for only the fourth time in the team’s history and the debut outing for new head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson, who officially took over the post last week.

    The Reggae Boyz have lost all three previous encounters but performed creditably in the team’s last meeting at the 2015 Copa America Centenario, where they narrowly lost 1-0 to the Lionel Messi-led outfit.  Bailey is looking forward to his first taste of the high-profile fixture.

    “There are a lot of quality players in the team, we just need to put together, obviously it’s a system that the coach will be improvising but we should be able to do good things and hopefully come away with a result,” Bailey said.

    “It’s going to be a good game, the first game for the manager as well, but it should be exciting for everybody playing against a good opponent and I think we just have to be focused and work hard for the whole game.”

    Reggae Boyz starting line-up

    Andre Blake

    Leon Bailey

    Daniel Johnson

    Ravel Morrison

    Shamar Nicholson

    Bobby Reid

    Damion Lowe

    Michael Antonio

    Adrian Mariappa

    Javain Brown

    Amari'i Bell

     

  • Scotland 'don't want to stop' after leapfrogging England in Nations League Scotland 'don't want to stop' after leapfrogging England in Nations League

    Steve Clarke believes there is more to come from his Scotland team after they earned promotion to the top tier of the Nations League via a 0-0 draw with Ukraine, leapfrogging rivals England following their relegation.

    Scotland approached Tuesday's match – played in Krakow, Poland – needing just a point to top Group B1 following home wins over Ukraine and the Republic of Ireland last week.

    Although they managed just one shot on target against Oleksandr Petrakov's team, Scotland produced a fine rearguard action to cling on for the result they craved – also earning a spot in pot two for October's Euro 2024 qualification draw.

    Topping the table means Clarke's men are already assured of a play-off place for the next European Championship.

    And with England picking up just three points from six games to finish bottom of Group A3, Scotland will begin the next Nations League campaign looking down on their old foes.

    But Clarke was focused on his own side's continued development after the match, looking forward to more against Europe's elite.

    "It is a big night," Clarke said. "We wanted to win the section. We wanted to show people what happened in the summer [when Scotland lost a World Cup play-off to Ukraine] wasn't us.

    "We wanted to be better this week. We pressed the big button to reset and go again, and we came up with three fantastic performances, all different but all vital. 

    "I sat down with my whole staff and said we had to set a different environment and be more demanding of the players, and we have to push that agenda.

    "Then I sat with the players and went through what we thought we did well in the summer and what we didn't do so well.

    "We gave them a lot of information to change the system and play a slightly different way. They took it on board, and we have had a really good week. 

    "Now we are in pot two and in the A league – but we don't want to stop. We want to try and get better and better."

    With Clarke's contract as Scotland head coach set to expire following Euro 2024, he joked that competing with Europe's finest in League A would not be his problem.

    "That'll be the next head coach," he added. "My contract is up before then!"

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.