Alba wants Messi reunion, pledges Barca commitment and eyes deep run with Spain

By Sports Desk November 22, 2022

Jordi Alba is determined to stay at Barcelona until his contract expires in 2024 and hopes he could still be reunited with Lionel Messi at Camp Nou.

Spain left-back Alba has his focus on World Cup duties for the coming weeks, believing La Roja are well-placed to challenge in Qatar, with a first game against Costa Rica coming up on Wednesday.

At the end of the last transfer window, Alba was linked with a shock move to Italian giants Inter, but he said in an interview with Cadena Ser that "nobody told me anything" about that prospect.

"My intention is to stay until the end of my contract because I think I can help; when I don't, I'll be the first to go," said the 33-year-old, a five-time LaLiga winner with Barcelona.

"I've improved and people who know realise it. Many things were heard about my decision at the club, but I decided to stay. Nobody told me anything about Inter."

Alba said he helped out financially stricken Barcelona with his contract after last year's European Championship, at a time when the club were looking to cut costs.

"Whenever they asked me for help from the club, I gave it. Nobody can say otherwise," he said. "Whenever the club has asked me for anything, and whatever it is, I have helped. I am from Barcelona and I feel the colours."

He saw Messi, Barcelona's record scorer and greatest player, leave to join Paris Saint-Germain after a contract offer was withdrawn, with the Catalans unable to afford to keep him.

Almost 18 months later, Messi continues to be linked with a switch back to Barcelona.

"Of course I would like Leo Messi to return to Barca," said Alba, in a separate interview with Cope. "He is the player with whom I have had the best understanding on a field and for the club it was a great loss."

Such is the intense focus on Barcelona and Real Madrid, the Spain national team can feel like a poor relation at times. However, the success they enjoyed from 2008 to 2012, winning two European Championships and the World Cup, meant the group united the country, and Alba feels they could also have an outstanding 2022 World Cup.

He said of the team's coach, a former Barcelona boss who played for both Clasico rivals: "Luis Enrique has done very well.

"We hadn't met our expectations for a while and the European Championship [where Spain reached the semi-finals] was very good.

"People got hooked again and I think they will do it again with the World Cup. I hope and want to go far in this World Cup."

Related items

  • Rumour Has It: Chelsea and Man Utd target Denzel Dumfries available in January for €50m Rumour Has It: Chelsea and Man Utd target Denzel Dumfries available in January for €50m

    Inter and Netherlands defender Denzel Dumfries will reportedly be available in the January transfer window for €50million, with Chelsea and Manchester United named as interested parties.

    Dumfries, 26, enjoyed a breakout performance in the Netherlands' first knockout game in Qatar, contributing a goal and two assists in the 3-1 win against the United States.

    It continues his strong form for his country, also boasting two goals and an assist in five UEFA Nations League fixtures this calendar year, while adding three assists from his 15 Serie A clashes this campaign.

    Inter sit fifth in Serie A and the club would like to retain the services of a regular starter in his prime, but a report from Calciomercato claims any bid exceeding €50m would be an offer they cannot refuse.

     

    TOP STORY - PREMIER LEAGUE TARGET DUMFRIES AVAILABLE IN JANUARY

    According to Calciomercato's report, Simone Inzaghi views Dumfries as invaluable to his plans this season, but the financial aspect of a potential €50m deal would take the decision out of his hands.

    Dumfries even addressed the rumours of Chelsea's interest after his man of the match performance against the Americans, saying "of course it’s a big compliment to be linked with Chelsea".

    United are the other club mentioned in the report, with Erik ten Hag's search for a new right-back being well-documented since his arrival, including Dumfries' Dutch team-mate Jeremie Frimpong of Bayer Leverkusen.

     

    ROUND-UP

    Tottenham's interest in 22-year-old out-of-favour Juventus midfielder Weston McKennie has been reignited after starting all four of the United States' World Cup outings, per Calciomercato.

    – Fichajes is reporting United's top target at goalkeeper is 29-year-old Atletico Madrid standout Jan Oblak.

    – Fichajes also believes Real Madrid could make a move for 33-year-old Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta in January.

    – Sky Sports Germany's Florian Plettenberg is reporting Chelsea, United, Real Madrid and Barcelona are the sides interested in 20-year-old RB Leipzig centre-back Josko Gvardiol, who has been impressive for Croatia at the World Cup.

    – Marca is reporting Barcelona believe 25-year-old Leicester City midfielder Youri Tielemans has already made a commitment to another club, as he is unwilling to hold any discussions about Barcelona's interest.

  • Southgate challenges England squad to make history against France Southgate challenges England squad to make history against France

    Gareth Southgate has pushed the England squad ahead of their World Cup quarter-final against France, challenging his side to create history in Qatar.

    The Three Lions progressed past Senegal in the first knockout round to clinch a tie against the defending champions, presenting England's biggest test so far at the tournament.

    Defeat against Didier Deschamps' side would mark England's earliest exit from a major tournament under Southgate, who led the side to the semi-finals of the World Cup in Russia and finished as runners-up to Italy at Euro 2020.

    While those improvements are significant, England have fallen at a crucial hurdle against tough opponents in each of those tournaments – losing 2-1 to Croatia in 2018 before a heartbreaking penalty shoot-out defeat at Wembley last year.

    Southgate has used that record to issue a challenge to his squad, identifying that winning fixtures away from home against top opposition is something yet to be achieved.

    "We've made quite a bit of history over the last four or five years, not all of it good, but that's the great challenge," he said.

    "When you go back through the tournaments, you do see the teams that have knocked England out. We haven't been able to do that [win an away knockout against elite opposition] so that's the next test for this team.

    "We have a lot of experience of these moments and they know that they've had to win games in different ways; they've had to come from behind in big matches.

    "What we talked about against Senegal was keeping the relentless pressure going, not sitting back when we were ahead, making sure that we kept the intensity of our game. We've got to do that now against the world champions."

    England's success under Southgate is a far cry from his predecessors, where disappointing exits from tournaments were par from the course, which led Southgate to identify the difficulties faced on the international stage – and highlighted bringing in young players early was crucial.

    "There have been lots of moments when to play with England is difficult. It's a different sort of challenge to your club. It's far more scrutiny," he explained.

    "So you have to be able to handle that. When we're selecting players, we're looking at their ability to handle that mentally as much as anything else.

    "The young lads that have come in are showing that. But you never know until they are in these moments how that's going to be.

    "We had a lot of caps on the pitch against Senegal, even the younger ones, because we've blooded them early."

  • Saka reveals support from 'legends' Henry and Pires along with Wenger 'regret' Saka reveals support from 'legends' Henry and Pires along with Wenger 'regret'

    Bukayo Saka revealed his gratitude for the regular support he receives from Arsenal "legends" Thierry Henry and Robert Pires.

    The England winger has netted three goals in three games at the 2022 World Cup and is set to line up against France in a mouthwatering quarter-final on Saturday.

    Henry and Pires lifted the trophy with Les Bleus 24 years ago, before going on to win two Premier League titles with Arsenal in 2002 and 2004 – forming part of the 'Invincibles' side that went through the entire campaign unbeaten in the latter.

    Academy graduate Saka, who has been with the club since the age of seven, is benefitting from their wise words and guidance.

    "We have so many French players, like Thierry and Robert Pires, that have been around the club and spoken to me and helped me," he said. "They still both support me to this day, so I'm grateful to them.

    "Of course, on the pitch, they were magnificent, and they delivered silverware for Arsenal, so they'll definitely be legends – always."

    Henry made contact with Saka following his missed penalty in England's Euro 2020 final defeat by Italy, a gesture that was greatly received by the 21-year-old.

    "It showed a lot of character from him to get my number and reach out to me," he added. "After most Arsenal games, he reaches out to me. He's still so passionate about the club; he's an amazing person."

    But despite his lengthy association with Arsenal, Saka is yet to speak with another key Frenchman in the Gunners' recent history, legendary former boss Arsene Wenger.

    "One of my biggest regrets – things I haven't been able to do – was to meet Arsene Wenger," he revealed. "I know how much everyone at the club loves him, and I know what he did for the club."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.