It's fashionable to not agree on political issues - Barca boss Valverde wants swift Clasico resolution

By Sports Desk October 19, 2019

Ernesto Valverde thinks "it is fashionable not to agree on anything in political matters" and is keen for a new date for Barcelona's Clasico contest with Real Madrid to be signed off as soon as possible.

The first LaLiga meeting between the fierce rivals this season was due to take place next Saturday at Camp Nou but the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) confirmed on Friday the match was postponed due to the ongoing political tensions and protests in Catalonia.

There were violent scenes in Barcelona this week after nine Catalan political leaders received long prison sentences over their roles in the region's 2017 referendum and subsequent unilateral declaration of independence.

The RFEF intervened after a rally in the city by pro-independence politicians was called for the same day as the Clasico.

Barca later suggested December 18 as a potential new date and Madrid agreed with the proposal, which still requires ratification from the RFEF's Competition Committee.

Speaking after Barca's 3-0 triumph at Eibar on Saturday, Valverde said: "I hope and I trust that we play this match before the end of the first round of fixtures, or at least before the end of the season.

"It's fashionable to not agree on anything on political issues. I hope that [there is an agreement] in this. I don't think it's too difficult."

On the pitch, Barca ultimately cruised at Ipurua with Antoine Griezmann, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez all on target in a win that saw the Blaugrana reach LaLiga's summit, albeit Madrid can reclaim top spot against Real Mallorca later on Saturday.

It was one of the best collaborative performances the trio have produced since Griezmann's close-season switch from Atletico Madrid and Valverde said it was a matter of time before the triumvirate gained an understanding playing with one another.

"It's a question of time and of playing matches," Valverde added.

"In the end, great players always find each other [on the pitch] and know where their team-mates will be and know where the pass will go.

"They've participated and worked very hard. This is the reward. They scored a goal each, they understood each other well.

"The new players are finding their place and trying to understand each other. It's a question of time before they understand each other better."

Related items

  • Sanchez could make Inter return ahead of schedule Sanchez could make Inter return ahead of schedule

    Alexis Sanchez's recovery from ankle surgery is on track and the Inter forward could return ahead of schedule. 

    Sanchez suffered a dislocated ankle and tendon damage while playing for Chile against Colombia in October.

    The need to have an operation meant three months on the sidelines, curtailing the early stages of his loan stay at San Siro from Manchester United.

    Inter's head of medical services Piero Volpi told La Cuarta he is optimistic about Sanchez's speed of recovery, with the 30-year-old aiming to resume work with a ball in the near future.

    "It is a delicate injury, but the recovery is going very well, the deadlines are being met," he said.

    "Mid-January [is the return date] but we'll see. Alexis could even come back a little earlier if all goes well.

    "He has not yet done work with the ball, but we hope that in the next few days we will have news about it. Everything is going well."

    Sanchez scored on his only Serie A start for Inter, a 3-1 win at Sampdoria where he was later sent off, and has made four appearances overall for Antonio Conte's side.

    Inter's first game of 2020 is away to Napoli in the league on January 5, while they host Atalanta a week later.

  • Sterling returns for England against Kosovo as Pope makes first start Sterling returns for England against Kosovo as Pope makes first start

    Raheem Sterling has been restored to England's starting XI against Kosovo after being dropped following a bust-up with Joe Gomez, while Nick Pope will make his first start between the posts.

    Sterling was left out of the squad for the 7-0 thrashing of Montenegro on Thursday as punishment for an incident that occurred in a private area of England's training base.

    The two players had clashed in last Sunday's Premier League meeting between Liverpool and Manchester City at Anfield, and Sterling is reported to have reacted poorly when greeted by Gomez the following day as the England squad met up.

    Gomez came on as second-half substitute in the win over Montenegro but was jeered by some at Wembley Stadium as he entered the pitch, leading to Gareth Southgate and Sterling condemning the fans for the frosty reception.

    The Liverpool defender has since returned to his club due to injury.

    Sterling's restoration is one of five alterations to the team from Thursday, with the City star coming in for Marcus Rashford, while Jadon Sancho moves to the bench in favour of Callum Hudson-Odoi.

    In midfield, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Harry Winks retain their places, with Declan Rice coming in, while Tyrone Mings and Pope also enter the starting XI.

    England have already secured a place at Euro 2020 before the contest in Pristina, the final outing of the qualifying campaign for both nations.

  • Luxembourg 0-2 Portugal: Ronaldo reaches 99 international goals as holders qualify Luxembourg 0-2 Portugal: Ronaldo reaches 99 international goals as holders qualify

    Cristiano Ronaldo took his tally of international goals to 99 with a late tap-in as Portugal secured a place at Euro 2020 with a laboured 2-0 win over Luxembourg.

    Ronaldo fell just short of becoming the second player in history to reach a century for his country after Iran's Ali Daei on an afternoon when he struggled on a slow pitch at Stade Jose Barthel, where the reigning European champions were made to work hard for the victory.

    The creative endeavour of Bernardo Silva proved more of a threat than Ronaldo's presence and it was the Manchester City playmaker who teed up Bruno Fernandes to break the deadlock late in the first half of Sunday's Group B clash.

    Thereafter Portugal offered little and those gathered at Stade Josy Barthel to see Ronaldo make history were instead treated to an impressive display from a side ranked 96th in the world by FIFA, but the Juventus talisman did manage to score from practically on the line with four minutes remaining.

    Ronaldo gave Anthony Moris an easy save with a tame shot from 12 yards early on but it was not all one-way traffic, with Danilo Pereira and Fernandes leaving gaps in midfield that allowed Luxembourg to attack.

    Maurice Deville and Gerson Rodrigues both headed narrowly over the crossbar and the hosts deserved credit for restricting Portugal's first-half chances, although they were powerless to stop Fernandes' opener.

    The Sporting CP star deftly controlled Silva's weighted pass six minutes from half-time before putting his laces through the ball, hammering a shot into the bottom corner of Moris' net.

    Jose Fonte headed just wide early in the second half but it was the hosts who played the better football without creating a clear scoring opportunity.

    Fernandes was brought down by Olivier Thill with 13 minutes left, presenting Ronaldo with a free-kick on the edge of the box, but Portugal's all-time leading goalscorer blazed wide with an effort that looked set to sum up his afternoon.

    That was until Moris parried Diogo Jota's effort from a Bernardo cross and Ronaldo helped the ball over the line to ensure his name was on the scoresheet.

    What does it mean? Santos' men struggle for consistency

    Portugal coach Fernando Santos can be pleased with his side's record of five wins, two draws and one defeat in qualifying, but after seeing them hammer Lithuania 6-0 on Thursday this performance offered a reminder of their occasional lack of fluency.

    Bernardo copes with the quagmire

    While Ronaldo under-hit passes and snatched at chances, Bernardo kept his composure to steer Portugal to victory, never more so than when he floated an exquisite pass to allow Fernandes to score.

    Danilo off the pace

    Luxembourg were not expected to make a close game of this but they found space in an around Portugal's box that a player of Danilo's quality should have been dominating.

    What's next?

    European Championship holders Portugal will be among the favourites at Euro 2020 with a coach who knows how to win it at the helm in Santos, while Luxembourg's impressive performance in this game will have done Luc Holtz's chances of remaining in charge no harm.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.