Luis Suarez is out for an indefinite period after injuring his right calf in Barcelona's LaLiga loss to Athletic Bilbao on Friday, the club have confirmed.

The 32-year-old striker had to be replaced before half-time at San Mames after receiving treatment following a shot that hit the post.

Lionel Messi missed the match with a calf issue of his own suffered shortly before Barca travelled to the United States for two friendly matches against Napoli last week.

Their absences were felt as Ernesto Valverde's men succumbed to a stunning late winner from Athletic veteran Aritz Aduriz.

"Tests carried out on Saturday morning have confirmed Luis Suarez has an injured right calf," Barca said in a statement.

"His recovery will dictate his return to action."

Suarez's early withdrawal was the first time he has been substituted in the first half of a LaLiga game since he joined Barca from Liverpool in 2014.

The champions suddenly look light on forwards, with Philippe Coutinho set to join Bayern Munich on loan with a view to a permanent deal.

Antoine Griezmann debuted against Athletic, but Suarez's injury and Coutinho's departure could see Barca ramp up their interest in former player Neymar, who looks increasingly likely to leave Paris Saint-Germain.

Antoine Griezmann said LaLiga champions Barcelona will improve as the season is long following Friday's shock loss to Athletic Bilbao.

Barca opened their title defence with a late 1-0 defeat away to Athletic at San Mames, where the holders succumbed to Aritz Aduriz's dramatic acrobatics.

Aduriz came off the bench and scored a stunning 89th-minute overhead kick to condemn Griezmann to a losing league debut for Barca.

"We have time," Griezmann, who arrived from Atletico Madrid, said after the match.

"The season is long and we have to work towards the next game.

"We have to work because that's the only way we'll improve."

Griezmann underwhelmed in his LaLiga bow for Barca – the €120million signing struggled to make an impact in the absence of injured captain Lionel Messi.

"We lacked what costs the most in football," the France star added.  "That last pass, that cross or that overlap."

Barca's defeat was compounded by an injury to veteran forward Luis Suarez, who was forced to leave the match in the first half.

Suarez suffered a muscle injury just after the half-hour mark, and Griezmann said: "Let's just see how he is and if he can play against [Real] Betis.

Barca – seeking a third consecutive LaLiga title – will travel to Real Betis on August 25.

 

Aritz Aduriz said he will always be available to help Athletic Bilbao until the last day after his stunning bicycle kick downed Barcelona 1-0 in the LaLiga opener.

Aduriz plans to retire at season's end but the 38-year-old Bilbao star showed he still has plenty of football left in the tank thanks to his unforgettable 89th-minute winner on Friday.

The club great scored within a minute of his introduction via a spectacular overhead kick against the LaLiga champions at San Mames.

Aduriz's goal saw him match a Lionel Messi scoring feat, having now scored in 15 consecutive seasons in Spain's top flight, and the veteran striker revelled in the result.

"The team has been amazing," Aduriz told reporters. "There is no better way to start than by adding three points against Barca. 

"I said I was going to be there to help Athletic until the last day and today I have been able to prove it.

"The atmosphere of San Mames is always insurmountable, but it is true that today people have taken this game even more eagerly. 

"Athletic's base is young people. You have to give them confidence and go slowly with them. They will help us a lot throughout the year."

"Dedicated to my family and everyone who supports me," Aduriz said of the goal. "These kind of things make football so beautiful."

"Everything in life has a start and a finish. I'm grateful to be able to choose to end things where I'm happiest," he continued.

Inaki Williams, who signed a nine-year contract extension with Bilbao following links to Manchester United, added: "I am very happy for Adu. 

"It's his last season and I want him to say goodbye with as many goals as possible."

Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde said Antoine Griezmann has to come into play more following his underwhelming league bow for the LaLiga champions.

Griezmann made his first LaLiga appearance for Barca, who suffered a shock 1-0 defeat to Athletic Bilbao in their opening fixture Friday.

A €120million signing from Atletico Madrid, all eyes were on Griezmann, but he struggled to make an impact in absence of captain Lionel Messi, while Luis Suarez's first-half injury left him isolated.

"If he's near the area, he is decisive and moves well, but you have to dominate the game for that to happen," Valverde told reporters.

"Putting him on the left side, we know that you are going to focus on the goal, but we have a side and players that can hold the game.

"Of course, he is aware that we all expect a lot from many players and have to seek to get more into the game."

Suarez left San Mames just after the half-hour mark due to an apparent calf injury away to Athletic.

The Uruguayan veteran had to be substituted moments after hitting the post, which would have given two-time reigning champions Barca the lead.

Valverde added: "He has a muscular problem and we have to wait for the tests. In the second half, when we were around Athletic's area, we missed him."

Barca eventually succumbed to Athletic, who triumphed thanks to veteran Aritz Aduriz's stunning overhead kick in the 89th minute.

The 38-year-old made an immediate impact off the bench, meeting Ander Capa's cross in sensational fashion to seal all three points.

"With Aduriz, any ball in the air is a danger and he got his goal," former Athletic boss Valverde said.

"That move is dominant, and he's scored similar goals. When I saw him line it up... I wasn't surprised with the execution at all."

Gerard Pique conceded Barcelona were deservedly beaten by Athletic Bilbao, saying the defending LaLiga champions were "put in our place" at San Mames.

A stunning overhead kick from veteran substitute striker Aritz Aduriz in the 89th minute snatched all three points for the home side in the opening LaLiga match of 2019-20.

Barca hit the post through Luis Suarez - who went off injured in the first half with a muscle injury - and replacement Rafinha struck the crossbar, but they were largely lacklustre in attack without captain Lionel Messi, who is sidelined with a calf problem.

The result is likely to see pressure again begin to mount on head coach Ernesto Valverde, who came under fire at the end of last season for Barca's Champions League capitulation against Liverpool, as well as the Copa del Rey final loss to Valencia, although they retained the league title.

While he accepted the defeat, Pique did not believe Barca were especially poor and stressed losing at this stage of the season could in fact prove to be useful.

"San Mames is always very difficult and today the competition put us in our place," he told Movistar.

"We weren't ourselves. From the start, they pressed us a lot and physically they were better, although in the second half they dropped off a little.

"In the end, winning or losing comes down to details, and we leave with a defeat that will be good for us, because it's better to lose now than at the end of the season.

"We came from pre-season, there are new people... sometimes, you prepare for a game in one way and it doesn't happen as you expected.

"In the first half, they had one clear chance, [Inaki] Williams' one, and we had Luis hit the post.

"We played more in our own half, but that's what you expect at San Mames. In the second half, we played more in their half, but details are details and one killed us in the end."

Athletic Bilbao veteran Aritz Aduriz matched a Lionel Messi goalscoring feat with his sensational winner against Barcelona on Friday.

Aduriz came off the bench in the 88th minute at San Mames and scored a spectacular overhead kick barely 60 seconds later to seal a 1-0 win over the champions.

It means the 38-year-old, who plans to retire at the end of this campaign, has now scored in 15 consecutive seasons in Spain's top flight, something only Messi has achieved before.

The Barca captain was missing from this match while he recovers from a calf problem.

Barca's defeat marked the first time since 2008-09 that the reigning LaLiga champions have lost their opening match of the new season. Back then, Real Madrid lost 2-1 to Deportivo La Coruna.

It was also Athletic's first victory over Barca in their last 12 meetings, although Ernesto Valverde has now lost five of his six LaLiga away games against his previous club.

Barcelona lost Luis Suarez to injury as a stunning late goal from Aritz Aduriz secured a 1-0 win for Athletic Bilbao in Friday's LaLiga opener.

With Lionel Messi missing with a calf problem and Philippe Coutinho left out amid talks with Bayern Munich over a loan move, the Catalans were found wanting in attack against coach Ernesto Valverde's old club.

Antoine Griezmann and Frenkie de Jong made their league debuts for the champions, but there was little for them to celebrate as the 2019-20 season got off to a lacklustre start at San Mames.

The loss of Suarez to a first-half muscle problem only compounded what proved a frustrating outing for the visitors, who twice hit the woodwork before Aduriz's 89th-minute overhead kick secured all three points.

 

Luis Suarez went off injured in the first half of Barcelona's opening LaLiga match of the season against Athletic Bilbao.

The striker appeared to hurt his calf muscle shortly before taking a shot that hit the post just after the half-hour mark at San Mames.

Uruguay international Suarez was given treatment but had to be withdrawn, being replaced by Rafinha.

It is the first time he has been substituted in the first half of a LaLiga game since he joined Barca from Liverpool in 2014. 

Lionel Messi was missing from the match due to a calf injury suffered shortly before Barca travelled to the United States for two friendly matches against Napoli last week.

Philippe Coutinho was left out of the squad, with Barca confirming he is in talks with Bayern Munich over a loan move to the Bundesliga champions.

Ernesto Valverde's return to San Mames was goalless at half-time, with Rafinha having also been denied by the woodwork after replacing Suarez.

Antoine Griezmann will make his LaLiga debut for Barcelona against Athletic Bilbao on Friday, but Philippe Coutinho is not involved.

The France international, who joined from Atletico Madrid for €120million in the close season, starts in attack alongside Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele at San Mames.

There is no place in the squad for Coutinho, who continues to be linked with a move away from Barca.

The latest reports in Spain suggest the Brazil international, also said to have been offered to Paris Saint-Germain as a makeweight in a possible deal for Neymar, could be preparing to travel to Germany to finalise a loan move to Bayern Munich.

Frenkie de Jong makes his first league outing for Barca and lines up alongside Sergi Roberto and Carles Alena in midfield, while Sergio Busquets, Samuel Umtiti and Ivan Rakitic are named among the substitutes.

Lionel Messi will not feature due to a calf injury that kept the club captain out of Barca's friendly matches against Napoli in the United States last week.

Lionel Messi is not in the Barcelona squad for the first game of their LaLiga title defence.

Barca go to Athletic Bilbao on Friday to open the 2019-20 season but they will be without their inspirational captain.

Messi has not featured during pre-season due to a calf injury and he was not present in the open section of Barca's training session on Thursday.

Ahead of the workout, former Athletic head coach Valverde had suggested Messi would not be able to take his place in the squad.

"We're not going to take risks with players and certainly not with him," Valverde told a news conference ahead of his return to San Mames.

"He's not trained with the team since they came back and it's different to train in isolation. We'll wait a little to see how his recovery goes, it's going well I understand, but we have to wait and see."

Philippe Coutinho and Ivan Rakitic are included in the travelling squad despite reports they could leave Barca as part of a deal with Paris Saint-Germain for the potential return of Neymar.

Antoine Griezmann is in line to make his league debut for Barcelona after joining from Atletico Madrid, with fellow new arrivals Frenkie de Jong and Junior Firpo also included, but midfielder Arthur misses out.

Ernesto Valverde says he will not risk Lionel Messi for Barcelona's LaLiga opener.

Messi has not featured in pre-season as he continues to recover from a calf injury.

Frenkie de Jong and Jean-Clair Todibo have returned to training ahead of the new season, but Messi was not with his team-mates on Thursday having worked separately with the fitness coach earlier in the week.

Defending champions Barca go to Valverde's former club Athletic Bilbao on Friday, though captain Messi may sit the game out as he builds his fitness.

"We're not going to take risks with players and certainly not with him," Valverde told a news conference.

"He's not trained with the team since they came back and it's different to train in isolation.

"We'll wait a little to see how his recovery goes, it's going well I understand, but we have to wait and see."

Despite winning back-to-back titles since leaving Athletic for Barca two years ago, Valverde's comparatively poor European record, coupled with his style of play, has drawn criticism.

"Everybody has this target, we want the best we can," Valverde said on his ambitions for the 2019-20 campaign. "In the big games you want to raise your level but you're always thinking about playing better.

"The question is how. Do you want me to look like George Clooney? That's difficult. The most beautiful football is difficult too, but we try to be the best team with the best football and we are steadily improving.

"We had some excellent games last season, some not so good, but if I look back over my two years we've lost four league games, I think, mostly when we've already won the title, so I think we're doing a lot of things right."

Valverde accepted it will be a difficult occasion facing his old club Athletic, where he spent four years in charge.

"It's my home and San Mames is special for me," Valverde said. "Personally it's hard to go and play there, I like these games to be over as quick as possible.

"I know how the fans get behind them and how they put you under a lot of pressure. But you can put a lot of pressure on yourself as well."

Ernesto Valverde has refused to speak about the possibility of Barcelona bringing back Neymar, who is unsettled at Paris Saint-Germain.

PSG sporting director Leonardo has confirmed the French club will listen to offers for the Brazil international, who left Barca in a world-record €222million deal two years ago.

Neymar is reported to favour a switch to Camp Nou, where Lionel Messi is said to be pushing for his return, but LaLiga rivals Real Madrid are also rumoured to be interested in the 27-year-old.

Reports have claimed Barca and Madrid have both had offers rejected by PSG, whose fans displayed banners criticising Neymar during their first Ligue 1 game of the season, against Nimes last Sunday.

But Valverde, who has led Barca to the LaLiga title in each of his two seasons in charge, is unwilling to allow the ongoing saga to act as a distraction ahead of the new campaign.

"I'm outside all these matters and focusing on coaching the team, I have enough to think about ahead of the game without thinking about players from other teams," Valverde told reporters on Thursday. 

"We need to respect players that play for other clubs, he belongs to Paris Saint-Germain right now so no, I have nothing to comment on right now.

"I have a squad to consider and I think about them for tomorrow, what happens after that is a problem for the future.

"I'm very happy with the squad and I have no reason to talk about players in other teams.

"I'm the coach, my job is to adapt to the players I've got. At a club like this there are always mixed opinions."

It has been suggested Barca have offered Ivan Rakitic as a makeweight in a potential deal, but Valverde hopes the Croatia midfielder remains in Spain.

"He's a very important player for us, he has been for my two years here," he added. "I hope he will continue doing so."

Despite Barcelona's season getting under way at Athletic Bilbao on Friday, LaLiga's transfer window remains open. Valverde admits he would rather be sure of his squad ahead of the big kick-off.

"Yes it [the transfer window] is a problem, it's not logical," he said. "We had a similar situation last season, you want to know your squad when you start the league.

"It's not a sensible situation that the market is still open when the league is starting. The team that starts the league might not finish it and we have 15 days of uncertainty ahead.

"But anyway, I have to concentrate on the squad I have. It would be nice if it was definitive, but I don't know yet."

Athletic Bilbao have tied star striker Inaki Williams to a new nine-year deal, keeping him at the club until 2028.

Williams was already contracted to the LaLiga side until 2025 but agreed an extension on Monday, a short statement confirmed.

The 25-year-old had been linked with Manchester United in the closing days of the Premier League transfer window as Romelu Lukaku departed Old Trafford for Inter.

But Williams stayed at San Mames and his release clause has now risen from €108million to €135m.

The one-cap Spain international enjoyed his best scoring season in LaLiga last term, netting 13 times in 38 matches.

Athletic Bilbao striker Aritz Aduriz has announced he will retire at the end of the 2019-20 season.

The 38-year-old forward has enjoyed a distinguished 20-year career, becoming a Spain international and Athletic favourite across three spells for the club.

Aduriz's star at Athletic has enjoyed a particularly impressive rise since returning to the club in 2012, but he will be 39 by the time the new season concludes and feels it will be time to focus on other facets of life.

Speaking at a news conference on Friday, Aduriz told reporters: "I wanted to communicate that this year is going to be my last year as a professional.

"I will leave football when I finish this season. It makes me especially excited to be able to leave it at Athletic.

"The aim of saying it now is to avoid distractions so I can focus everything on the team. Hopefully we can end the year with something very nice and we can offer all our fans something beautiful.

"I feel very happy to be able to leave football at Athletic. I will compete and enjoy every day until the end. We believe the end never comes, but choosing the end and where I will be at the end is an immense privilege.

"It is a thoughtful decision, which I could've taken last year, but circumstances have made it this year. It is a decision made with my family. I am very proud that I end at Athletic."

Although his first spell with Athletic as a youngster saw him mostly confined to the reserves and out on loan to Burgos in the third tier, Aduriz earned a move to Real Valladolid before returning to San Mames in 2006.

He featured prominently in his second stint with Athletic, but Fernando Llorente began to be preferred in the 2007-08 season, and Aduriz left for a solid two-year spell with Mallorca, scoring 23 LaLiga goals.

That form earned him a move to Valencia and, while his 17-goal haul over two seasons was good given he made only 31 starts, there was little resistance to his departure for Athletic ahead of the 2012-13 campaign.

This time Aduriz was top dog in attack, with Llorente struggling for form as he ran his contract down.

Aduriz's record of 14 strikes in 2012-13 was a personal best at the time, but there was better to come.

The burly striker followed up with 16 the following season, 18 the year after and then 20 in 2015-16, earning him a call-up to the Spain squad for Euro 2016.

Fittingly, Aduriz could feature against all three of his former employers, Valencia, Valladolid and Mallorca, in his final season, following the latter's promotion last term.

The transfer window slams shut in England on Thursday and Romelu Lukaku is finally set to get his move.

Linked to Inter and Juventus throughout the off-season, Manchester United striker Lukaku is poised to swap Old Trafford for San Siro in Milan.

Lukaku's exit could trigger United to make a late dash for his replacement.

 

TOP STORY – LUKAKU TO SWAP UNITED FOR INTER

After months of speculation, Lukaku will swap Manchester United for Serie A side Inter according to widespread reports.

Lukaku landed in Milan in the early hours of Thursday morning ahead of his €75million (£70m) move to Inter.

Inter will reportedly pay a €65m fixed fee and €10m in add-ons, with the deal also including a five per cent cut of any future sale.

 

ROUND-UP

- With Lukaku leaving Old Trafford, United are willing to pay the £81m (€88m) release clause to lure Inaki Williams from Athletic Bilbao, reports El Chiringuito TV. The Red Devils are also continuing to be linked to Juventus' Mario Mandzukic and former Tottenham striker Fernando Llorente, who is a free agent.

Tottenham are set to complete deadline-day deals for Real Betis midfielder Giovani Lo Celso and Fulham's Ryan Sessegnon, reports the Telegraph. Spurs are hopeful of clinching a transfer for Lo Celso at £55m (€59.7m), while Sessegnon could cost £20m.

- According to Sport, Real Madrid have offered €120m plus Luka Modric for wantaway Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar. Barcelona have been linked with their former forward but the LaLiga champions must raise funds before trying to re-sign the Brazil international. Barca could free up space by selling Philippe Coutinho, who has reportedly attracted interest from Premier League trio United, Tottenham and Arsenal.

Arsenal are set for a busy deadline day. The Sun reports the Gunners could land Chelsea defender David Luiz in a £12m deal, while Unai Emery's side have agreed a Scottish transfer record fee of £25m for Celtic left-back Kieran Tierney, according to the BBC.

- Tottenham have agreed to sign Juventus star Paulo Dybala but the player's image rights are holding up the deal, says the Independent. Dybala has also been linked to Paris Saint-Germain after turning down a move to Manchester United.

- Sportitalia says Wolves have agreed a £23m (€25m) fee to sign AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie, who reportedly wants a wage increase. Wolves have already signed Patrick Cutrone from Milan.

- According to Sky Sports, Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha has handed in a transfer request as Everton look to sign the former Manchester United forward.

Mario Balotelli is on the verge of joining Brazilian side Flamengo until December 2021. That is according to La Gazzetta dello Sport and Sky Sport Italia. Balotelli is a free agent following his Marseille exit.

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