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."

Antoine Griezmann believes his alliance with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez is progressing well after the forward trio combined to fine effect in the 3-0 win at Eibar.

Griezmann settled Barca after a frantic opening to the contest, putting them ahead in the 13th minute.

The €120million man then had a hand in second-half goals for Messi and Suarez as Barca moved to the top of the table ahead of Real Madrid playing later on Saturday.

"There will be better or worse days, but we are getting to know each other little by little and we will do more," he told Movistar LaLiga.

Griezmann's opener was made possible by his well-timed run and a wonderful raking pass from centre-back Clement Lenglet – a move the two France internationals conceived before executing it impressively.

"We knew that Eibar were pressing a lot above and I told Lenglet that, if he saw me near the sideline, he should put it long," Griezmann said. "He did so and went 0-1.

"It was important to win all three points because, after the international break, it is always difficult to come on away trips. 

"It has been a good game and now we think about the Champions League."

Ernesto Valverde's side travel to face Slavia Prague on Wednesday, having taken four points from their opening two European matches versus Borussia Dortmund and Inter.

Antoine Griezmann's sense the pass from Clement Langlet would coming was intuitive, his run that caused Eibar defender Pablo De Blasis to panic and clumsily fall instinctive.

But then, reality and the weight of the moment briefly seemed to afflict Barcelona's €120m forward.

This was the second time Griezmann, again lining up in a left-sided attacking role that does not come naturally to him, had started a LaLiga match alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

All three were on the field for the final half hour of Barca's 0-0 Champions League draw at Borussia Dortmund, along with the second half of the 2-0 loss at Granada. On their previous starts together, Messi made it way halfway through a 2-1 win over Villarreal, while victory against Inter was only secured after Griezmann's withdrawal.

The former Atletico Madrid favourite was an unused substituted for the 4-0 win over Sevilla that preceded an international break when he failed to find the net for France. And, at Eibar's wonderfully idiosyncratic Ipurua home, the signs up until the 13th minute had not been great.

               **************************

Suarez is playing with a level of sharpness rarely spotted over the past 18 months, which is bad news for any designs Griezmann might have for operating in the middle of Barca's front three.

In the fifth minute of a lively opening to the contest, the Uruguay striker effortlessly spun Anaitz Arbilla to open up 45 yards of open space and possibilities, including Griezmann to his left.

Suarez instead opted for an audacious and poorly executed shot from a fanciful distance. Would a pass to Griezmann not have been a better option? True, an early dart from Barca's newest attacking recruit had already been headed off by Arbilla but it was hard to imagine seeing something so wild during the MSN days.

Messi. Suarez. Neymar. The trident to which the Blaugrana's latest all-star configuration is always likely to be compared. Messi has made no secret of the fact he wanted a reunion during the close season when it was clear Neymar's Parisian adventure had turned sour.

Three supreme soloists who slotted together irresistibly at their best. The clunk of Suarez swapping positions with Griezmann, only for Arthur's attempted pass to miss them both jarred by comparison.

                **************************

It is worth remembering it was not instantly all milk and honey for Barca's South American superstars in 2014-15.

While Griezmann, Messi and Suarez will be able to iron out the kinks for a few more weeks before meeting Real Madrid, following Friday's El Clasico postponement, MSN made their collective debut at the Santiago Bernabeu and lost 3-1.

Next time out, there was a 1-0 defeat to Celta Vigo. Only in their third game together, where a Messi brace sealed a 2-0 win over Ajax in Amsterdam, did things start to click.

They were in full flight by the turn of the year, their early struggles eventually a forgotten blemish upon a magnificent treble. Those are lofty standards for a signing whose worth has already been extensively disputed to live up to.

                ***************************

And so, with Arbilla helpfully on his backside, Griezmann came over somewhat jittery. His feet, not quite sorting themselves out the other side of an anxious glance backwards to locate the rest of the Eibar defence.

He dug out a left-footed finish that lacked conviction but ended up in the net via goalkeeper Marko Dmitrovic and the inside of his post. Suarez was the first to embrace his team-mate. Job done. Relief palpable.

From that point, Artur, Frenkie de Jong and Sergio Busquets gradually drew the sting from Eibar before squeezing the life from them. After the interval, it was time for the headline acts to have some fun.

In the 58th minute, Suarez twisted in a tight spot inside the Eibar area and shifted the ball inside to Griezmann, who saw and heard Messi darting around him. A deft one-touch lay-off left the mercurial Argentine with a simple finish.

In the 66th minute, it was Messi's turn to leave it on a plate for Suarez, having raced clear onto a throughball from Griezmann, who often roved slightly deeper to fine effect after the break.

That was 3-0 and game over. There will be tougher tests of their newly established union, but MSG showed enough at Ipurua to make Spain and Europe take note.

Antoine Griezmann, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez were all on target as Barcelona coasted to a 3-0 win at Eibar to end a frantic week with a fifth straight victory on all fronts.

Barca opted to travel to the Basque Country early on Thursday amid the political unrest in their home city as a result of nine Catalan political leaders being dealt long prison sentences for their roles in the region's 2017 referendum and subsequent declaration of independence.

The violent scenes that broke out in protest led to the postponement of next week's Clasico with Real Madrid, but it was back to business for Ernesto Valverde's men at Ipurua.

Griezmann opened the scoring with a classy 13th-minute goal and teed up Messi to double the lead after neat work from Suarez, who scored in a seventh straight outing against Eibar to round out the routine triumph.

Suarez's audacious effort just inside the opposition half was not in keeping with the tone of the early exchanges in which Pedro Leon blazed over from one of several dangerous Eibar crosses.

But Pablo de Blasis' untimely slip allowed Griezmann to race onto Clement Lenglet's long punt and he had the composure to clip past Marko Dmitrovic and find the net via the post.

Undeterred, Pedro Leon's exquisite right-wing centre needed evasive action from Samuel Umtiti – making his first competitive appearance of the season – to deny Charles, while at the other end Messi's quick feet nearly rounded Dmitrovic for a tap-in.

It was game over when Messi finished a wonderful team move just shy of the hour. Suarez combined brilliantly with Griezmann and he teed up the Argentina superstar to slot into the bottom-right corner.

Messi then turned provider, racing onto Griezmann's sumptuous throughball and unselfishly laying on for Suarez to pass into an open goal.

Suarez almost added further gloss with a well-struck half-volley five minutes from time, but his effort just cleared the right-hand post.

 

What does it mean? Barca hitting their stride

Messi's injury-hit start to the campaign coincided with some underwhelming early season performances. It took a while for Barca to run through the gears here, perhaps the midweek turmoil playing a part in that, and yet it ultimately ended up a comfortable day for a fourth straight LaLiga win that puts them top – albeit Real Madrid can return to the summit later on Saturday.

Messi, Griezmann, Suarez triumvirate gaining in confidence

One senses Valverde still has solutions to find defensively, but up top there is a growing understanding between Messi, Griezmann and Suarez. The trio combined to glorious effect for Messi's goal and the captain set up Suarez when he could have gone for goal himself for Barca's third. It was an ominous warning to their LaLiga rivals.

Charles struggles to fire

Eibar were arguably the more imaginative team in the opening stages with Pedro Leon and Fabio Orellana dangerous out wide. But Charles did not do enough from his central striking position to put pressure on Umtiti or Lenglet.

What's next?

Barca are back in action on Wednesday when they visit Slavia Prague for matchweek three of the Champions League. Eibar travel to Real Valladolid next Saturday.

Antoine Griezmann said France feel "sad" after producing one of their best performances in Monday's Euro 2020 qualifying draw with Turkey.

France were denied qualification for next year's European Championships following a 1-1 draw at home to Turkey in Paris.

Substitute Olivier Giroud looked to have booked France's ticket to Euro 2020 with a 78th-minute header, however, the world champions' celebrations were put on hold by Kaan Ayhan's late equaliser.

Reflecting on the Group H stalemate, star Griezmann told reporters: "We are a little sad, a little weird, because we made a great match, one of our best.

"We open the scoring on a corner, but we still took that goal on a set kick, there is a little bit of anger, but we will be calm again. We have to learn from our mistakes, that we are not perfect.

"We had to come back stronger, the coach told us he was happy with us and we had a great match, we still have two games and we have to win them. to win, but it's a shame."

The result left France second in Group H, adrift of leaders Turkey on their head-to-head record after eight matches.

"They had scored a goal in the same way that they did the first game," head coach Didier Deschamps told M6. "We could have avoided it even if it is very well taken shot.

"It was necessary to win in terms of play, opportunities, they had little but they scored on set-pieces. We had enough opportunities, we only scored that goal from Olivier, it could have been decisive.

"We did not win ... When I say that it is the result that counts. We have the same number of points, it is the two best teams in the group. It's always complicated, it's a long road. This team has been very defensive but deserves to have that place too."

Turkey head coach Senol Gunes, meanwhile, added: "One point is already good for us. I congratulate my players. It is very good to return to Turkey as leaders. 

"We played against a very strong opponent. They were better than us, they had a lot of opportunities but we made a lot of effort."

Antoine Griezmann's integration at Barcelona has been "difficult" but the Frenchman will justify his signing if given time, according to team-mate Arturo Vidal.

Griezmann joined Barca from Atletico Madrid in pre-season, costing the Blaugrana €120million after a protracted transfer saga.

Barca had reportedly been chasing the France international for well over a year, and although they eventually got their man after being rebuffed in 2018, the start of their union has been unspectacular.

Griezmann's largely ineffective performances have been widely criticised, with many expecting more from him than the three goals and two assists in seven LaLiga outings.

Vidal accepts Griezmann's adaptation could have gone better, though he remains confident in the forward.

"It's been difficult [for Griezmann] to integrate and adapt," Vidal told Sport. "He arrived at the best team in the world with the best players.

"He comes from a side that plays very differently, but he's got a lot of quality. We all know that Griezmann is one of the best in the world.

"What we need to do is wait a little, give him some time. When he knows the best way to play and understands what the coach needs from him, I'm sure he will help us a lot."

While Barca's injury problems in attack have arguably contributed to Griezmann's struggles, they have also given 16-year-old Ansu Fati the chance to step up.

The winger has caught the eye several times with his direct style and ability on the ball, even forcing himself into contention for a call-up to Spain's senior side, which is seemingly just around the corner.

Vidal is an admirer of the teenager but urged caution and stressed the need for the club to shield him.

"He's got a glorious future ahead of him," Vidal added. "He's a very young player but he's already shown so much quality.

"But we must be calm with him, help him and most importantly protect him. He needs to prepare himself properly to be one of the best around.

"You can see he has the necessary quality to be with us."

Antoine Griezmann urged France to immediately turn their focus towards Monday's date with Turkey after beating Iceland 1-0 in Reykjavik.

The Barcelona forward won the penalty Olivier Giroud converted midway through the second half to secure three points, inflicting a first home loss in a year on their hosts. 

World champions France stumbled to a 2-0 defeat against Turkey in June, well beaten in Konya and condemned by critics who had come to expect success. 

It remains the only blip in their campaign and France will book a place at Euro 2020 if they avenge that rare loss by beating Turkey at the Stade de France. 

Griezmann told TF1: "We've got an important match at home now. We suffered over there [in Turkey], so we’ll need to prepare well for this match."

He fell dramatically for the penalty against Iceland, but replays showed Griezmann was impeded and France were well worth their success against a home side who offered little attacking threat but defended doughtily. 

"It was very difficult, a really hard match," Griezmann added. "We needed to take the three points and now we have an important game coming up at home." 

Turkey and France sit on 18 points at the top of Group H, six clear of third-placed Iceland, meaning both are on the brink of qualification for next year's finals. 

Didier Deschamps was satisfied with his team's display as they followed up a 4-0 home win over Iceland in March with a more attritional away success. 

He told TF1: "Firstly that's a victory here, it wasn't easy. We had the chance to get a second, they've been good on set-pieces.  

"That was a man's match, there was commitment, we've responded by having a lot of the ball. We could have made it more comfortable by putting away the chances in the end. It's a good victory ahead of Monday's match." 

Asked about a pre-match knock that kept midfielder N'Golo Kante out of the game, with Moussa Sissoko his late replacement, Deschamps said: "I don't think it's too serious for 'NG'." 

As for whether Kante could face Turkey, Deschamps added: "I do not have the answer tonight."

Lionel Messi has dismissed suggestions he did not want Barcelona to sign Antoine Griezmann as a "lie".

Griezmann joined the LaLiga champions in a long-anticipated €120million transfer ahead of the 2019-20 season.

Barca were also heavily linked with trying to bring Neymar back to Camp Nou but Messi insists a desire to be reunited with his former team-mate did not mean he was cold on the Griezmann deal.

"Obviously it is a lie that I did not want Griezmann," he told RAC 1.

"Last year I said he was one of the best and the best are always welcome. I also wanted Neymar to come for the same reason, because he is different - one of the best, and to have him here would have been important for our goals.

"But with Ney we had to look beyond sports, many parties did not want him to come [due to] everything that had happened."

Griezmann has scored three times in seven LaLiga appearances but struggled to hit the heights that made him one of the most sought-after players in the world while at Atletico Madrid.

He completed 90 minutes and failed to score in the three games in which Barca have dropped points in LaLiga this season, while he is without a Champions League goal and was an unused substitute for last weekend's 4-0 win over Sevilla.

The France international said Messi's early season calf injury and the fact neither player talks too much had made it "difficult" for them to establish a relationship.

Messi maintains there are no issues and knows adapting to Barcelona and the current interpretation of their famed style takes time.

"For any player who does not know the Barca method, coming from outside is very difficult," he added.

"Griezmann is an intelligent player, of great quality, and he will end up adapting."

Antoine Griezmann is having to adapt to a different style of play at Barcelona but is certainly not unhappy at the club, according to team-mate Clement Lenglet.

Griezmann, a €120million signing from Atletico Madrid in the transfer window, has struggled to find top form since moving to Camp Nou.

The 28-year-old has scored three goals in seven LaLiga appearances but has generally found it difficult to influence games from the left of Ernesto Valverde's attack.

He was dropped to the bench for compatriot Ousmane Dembele for Barca's latest game, a 4-0 league win over Sevilla on Sunday, in which Dembele scored.

There have also been concerns Griezmann is not suited to playing alongside club captain Lionel Messi, largely after the France forward admitted in a news conference that the pair do not often speak.

However, Lenglet insists there is no cause for concern around Griezmann's place at the club.

When asked if Griezmann is happier in the France squad than with Barca, Lenglet replied: "No. I am with him every day and I can tell you that he is very happy in Barcelona.

"He's a positive person who always has a smile on his face. When he arrives in the French team that fact doesn't change. He loves to make jokes, you know him. He hasn't changed, whether it's in Barcelona or in the France squad.

"He's someone who has just arrived and Barcelona is a different club from the other clubs, which plays a different game - a different game from Atletico.

"He has scored three goals, I think he's the club's second-best scorer, even though it's only the beginning of the season. It's still something quite positive.

"He works a lot for the team. He used to play as second striker at Atletico and now he plays on one side. He helps us a lot with his talent and his defensive efforts in every game. He's sacrificing himself for the team. I don't think there is an 'Antoine Griezmann case' as you can try to make me say."

Messi scored his first goal of the season from a free-kick against Sevilla, having been sidelined for much of the early part of the season with a calf problem.

Lenglet says the Argentina star has still been teaching him a few lessons in training, however, where he gives his defensive team-mates a torrid time.

"He is an extraordinary player. We are very happy to have him in Barcelona. He makes a lot of difference," said Lenglet.

"When we are in training, we set the pace. Leo often plays as a joker. He is very clever in his placement, in his way of protecting the ball. It's hard to steal it. You have to anticipate well in advance. We suffer daily but we are happy to have him with us every weekend. That's the main thing."

One of the big positives of Barca's season has been the breakthrough of Ansu Fati, the 16-year-old who has scored twice in five league appearances and captured the attention of Spain with his performances.

"Ansu is very talented," said Lenglet. "He's in a dressing room with a lot of international players and very good players in his position. He took advantage of some absences to have playing time. He was very good when he played.

"He has some minor problems given his age to follow the rhythm of matches and training, but he is very well cared for. He is very professional. It's a very pleasant surprise. I think he's a good player for the future but also for the present because he has many qualities."

Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele scored memorable goals for Barcelona as Ernesto Valverde's decision to drop Antoine Griezmann was vindicated in a 4-0 victory over Sevilla.

While their €120million signing among the substitutes, Suarez's acrobatic overhead kick got the LaLiga champions off the mark, Arturo Vidal polished off a sublime passing move with the second and Dembele scored a solo effort to all but end the contest.

Lionel Messi wrapped up the win with a curling second-half free-kick and the synergy between Barcelona's front three, which has not always clicked with Griezmann involved, will not have been lost on Valverde.

The match ended in unsavoury fashion for the Catalans, though, who saw debutant Ronald Araujo and Dembele sent off shortly before injury time.

Luuk de Jong received good service from Lucas Ocampos in the early stages but he fluffed three chances put Sevilla ahead before Suarez broke the deadlock with a moment of magic 27 minutes in.

The Uruguay marksman watched Nelson Semedo's cross loop through the air and met it with an overhead kick into the bottom corner of the net before goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik could react.

The goal settled the hosts and five minutes later a move that incorporated 25 passes and all 11 Barcelona players culminated in Arthur's weighted ball, which allowed Vidal to slide in and glance a shot past Vaclik.

Dembele made it 3-0 inside eight first-half minutes when his slaloming run tore through Sevilla's defence, the 22-year-old opening his body and side-footing in at the far post.

The second half started just like the first, with De Jong squandering a great chance to score when he drilled a shot against the post from just inside the Barca box.

The hosts were soon back on top and Messi twice surged through Sevilla's midfield before putting the finishing touches on a fine win with a dipping, curling free-kick 12 minutes from time.

Valverde sent on Araujo for his debut, which turned sour when he was judged to have fouled Javier Hernandez as the Sevilla forward went through on goal and was shown a red card along with Dembele, who was sent off for his protests.

 

What does it mean? Barca go second

After Atletico Madrid were held to a goalless draw at Real Valladolid, Barcelona took full advantage and claimed a result that moved them up to second place in the table, two points behind leaders Real Madrid.

Frenkie says 'Relax!'

A run of mixed results in August and September left Valverde under pressure but his players looked calm and assured here, none more so than Frenkie de Jong, who looks every inch the composed midfield lynchpin to succeed Sergio Busquets – a second-half substitute here.

No luck for Luuk

While Barca's De Jong barely put a foot wrong his Sevilla namesake had a torrid evening, the centre-forward missing four clear chances to give the visitors a foothold in the game.

What's next?

Barcelona will hope to extend their winning run to five matches in all competitions by beating Eibar away from home on October 19, while Sevilla aim to get back on course as they entertain Levante a day later.

Neymar may not have secured his return to Barcelona, but the Paris Saint-Germain star's future continues to make headlines.

The Brazil forward was keen on making a Barca comeback, two years after his world-record transfer to the French capital.

But as Antoine Griezmann struggles to settle in at Camp Nou, the Frenchman could see himself shipped out to make way for Neymar.

 

TOP STORY – NEYMAR & GRIEZMANN IN SWAP DEAL

Barcelona are considering the possibility of sending Griezmann to Paris Saint-Germain for Neymar, claims Le10Sport.

Neymar was unable to secure a return to Barca during the transfer window following his €222million exit in 2017.

But as Griezmann – who only arrived from LaLiga rivals Atletico Madrid in the off-season – finds it difficult to settle and develop a relationship with Lionel Messi, the Barca recruit is being talked about as a possible makeweight.

 

ROUND-UP

- Leicester City star James Maddison is Tottenham's number one target to replace soon-to-be free agent Christian Eriksen, according to the Daily Star. Maddison has also been linked to Premier League rivals Manchester United.

Real Madrid could trigger Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak's €120m release clause as Thibaut Courtois struggles at the Santiago Bernabeu, according to ElDesmarque.

- The front page of Corriere dello Sport says Lazio have signed star midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic to a new contract until 2024. The deal, worked out in secret for another season, appears to end speculation of a move to the likes of InterUnited, Real Madrid, Juventus or Paris Saint-Germain.

Gennaro Gattuso could make a sensational return to AC Milan, but only in an unlikely scenario. Amid mounting pressure on coach Marco Giampaolo, El Corriere claims Gattuso – who stepped down at the end of 2018-19 – would make his way back to San Siro if directors Paolo Maldini and Zvonimir Boban quit.

- The Express says Chelsea will offer Willian a new contract amid links to LaLiga champions Barcelona. It comes as the Evening Standard reports the Blues will reward Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori with fresh deals.

- Could Carlo Ancelotti leave Napoli at the end of the season? Corriere dello Sport suggests the Italian head coach could depart if results do not improve. Napoli are already six points adrift of Serie A leaders Inter.

- Marca says Manchester United are keeping an eye on Mexico international Jose Juan Macias. The 20-year-old Leon forward scored his first international goal on debut for El Tri on Wednesday.

- Ernesto Valverde's future as Barcelona boss is far from certain and with that in mind, TNT Sport reports that River Plate coach Marcelo Gallardo is the club's first choice.

Lionel Messi eased concerns about his relationship with Antoine Griezmann, insisting there is no problem between the Barcelona pair despite the Frenchman claiming they were yet to connect.

Messi made only his second start of the season on Wednesday as he helped Barca to a 2-1 Champions League win over Inter in Group F, the Argentinian setting up Luis Suarez's late winner.

Suarez's strike was his second of the match at Camp Nou, having previously cancelled out Lautaro Martinez's second-minute opener.

Messi produced a performance that showed little evidence of the fitness problems he has had this term, injuries Griezmann suggested had prevented the pair from striking up much of a relationship.

Griezmann – who arrived from Atletico Madrid in the off-season – added that neither player talks a huge amount and so it had been "difficult" to bond, though Messi insists there are no genuine issues between them.

"Obviously we have no problem," Messi told reporters. "There is a good relationship with everyone, we are united.

"We were aware that the moment was not the best, we needed this victory to get on track so from now we can go up [a level]."

Messi also suggested Barca's pre-season schedule has done little to help the LaLiga champions' stuttering start to the campaign.

"We were on that road, we knew that we were in a difficult time, but in Europe all the greats have a hard time starting the season," he said.

"Because of the pre-season we are feeling heavy, with the pre-season trips you don't train well. I don't say it as a criticism, it's a reality.

"It's understandable that the club does these games, all the great [clubs] do and it is necessary. Little by little we are going to adapt to the competition."

Antoine Griezmann acknowledged he has found it difficult to build a connection with Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi because of the Argentinian's injury problems this season.

Messi, 32, has managed to make just a single start across all competitions in 2019-20, with a calf strain suffered in early August ruling him out for over a month.

He then sustained a hamstring issue in the 2-1 win over Villarreal, with initial speculation suggesting he could be out for up to three weeks.

But according to reports in the Catalan media, Messi could make his return earlier than expected against Inter in the Champions League on Wednesday, with coach Ernesto Valverde refusing to rule him out.

Griezmann is eager to feature consistently with the Barca talisman having had few opportunities to link up with him.

"He doesn't talk much and neither do I, so it is difficult for us to talk to each other," Griezmann told reporters on Tuesday.

"I have already taken him some mate [tea, a traditional drink of Argentina], so we are going in the right direction.

"He has been injured, so it is difficult to build that connection. I think we are both good people and I'm here to help anyone.

"I am always with him – he trains. He arrives earlier to reinforce his legs and his body. He takes care of himself, but when you enter a sequence of injuries, it is difficult to get out of it.

"He has my support, the support of the coach and that of the team. We are here to help him, so that he feels good. When he is there [in the team], he'll do as he was doing."

Wednesday's match will see Griezmann go up against former Atletico Madrid team-mate and close friend Diego Godin at club level for the first time since the Frenchman left Real Sociedad in 2014.

But Griezmann is confident he can outwit the Uruguayan centre-back.

"In the World Cup [France v Uruguay] it was a special game," Griezmann said. "It will be special to play at home in the Champions League against him.

"He is a great friend and a great example for me. He is my daughter's godfather and I know tricks to catch him if I play and if he plays."

Clement Lenglet has defended Antoine Griezmann's start to his Barcelona career and expects him to hit top form once he's fully familiar with a new playing style.

France forward Griezmann scored twice on his second LaLiga appearance for the club but then went four games without a goal.

The run of blanks ended with the opener in last week's 2-1 win over Villarreal and the 28-year-old will hope to open his Champions League account when the Spanish champions entertain Inter on Wednesday.

Lenglet, a team-mate at club and international level, is convinced his compatriot will justify the €120million fee paid to sign him from Atletico Madrid.

"Yes, Griezmann will adapt to Barca, because of his talent and his personal quality," Lenglet told radio station RAC1.

"It's a totally different game to Atletico. There are fewer spaces to run into, to attack, and you have to adapt to a new life, a new home, many things which you are not accustomed to, because he has not been at many clubs.

"The league started a month and a half ago and he has scored three goals.

"He can do things better because he has incredible talent, but he has given a good level."

Barca's clash with Inter at Camp Nou could provide a guide as to which teams are likely to advance from a strong Group F, which also contains Borussia Dortmund and Slavia Prague.

Ernesto Valverde's men will be feeling better about their form following the victory over Villarreal and 2-0 weekend win at Getafe.

Lenglet said: "The Champions League is always a good test. And especially with Inter, who are having a very good season so far.

"It's interesting to see where we are. Inter is the first Champions League match at Camp Nou and our second after the draw with Dortmund. That was a bittersweet feeling.

"We took a point and I think we can do more."

Barcelona are set to appeal a €300 fine over their approach for Antoine Griezmann, confirmed coach Ernesto Valverde.

The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) announced on Thursday Barca had been found guilty of violating article 126 of its disciplinary code during their pursuit of the Frenchman while he was at Atletico Madrid.

Barca signed Griezmann in July for €120million but Atletico claimed they were owed a further €80m, alleging an agreement between the player and LaLiga's champions being reached before his release clause dropped from €200m

A symbolic monetary penalty was imposed by the RFEF, while Griezmann escaped without sanction. However, Barca are appealing against the fine.

"I don't know the exact ins and outs of this question or how it stands legally," Valverde told a news conference. "I understand the club is appealing."

It has been a busy week off the field for Barca, with Friday seeing the Catalan giants in court with former star Neymar, who alleges he is owed a loyalty bonus from his time at the club.

Neymar was strongly linked with a return to Barca in the close season and reports suggested the Brazil forward was willing to drop the case if the club promised to re-sign him.

"This never stops does it? In August we were waiting for the transfer market to close, but the Neymar matter continues," Valverde added. 

"I've got nothing to say, it's an internal club issue and for the player on a contractual matter, it's not my concern.

"Has there been a press conference without Neymar's name being brought up? Let's try to do it once this season."

Neymar's Brazil team-mate Arthur was seen having dinner with the Paris Saint-Germain forward this week.

Last season the midfielder was criticised for travelling to Paris to attend Neymar's birthday shortly before Barcelona's Copa del Rey clash with Real Madrid.  

"I think Arthur learned a lot last season, one of those things was what you're talking about," Valverde added. "I think he's fine at the moment and hope things stay this way.

"It's not up to me to evaluate further than him going out for dinner with a friend. He's fine and I hope he stays that way for the rest of the season."

Page 1 of 8
© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.