Antoine Griezmann saved Barcelona from Copa del Rey humiliation as he scored a second-half double to see off Ibiza 2-1.

Having made an impressive start to his tenure with a dominant 1-0 win over Granada in which Barca had 82 per cent of possession, Setien rested Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets and Gerard Pique for the trip to the Balearic island.

LaLiga's pacesetters enjoyed similar superiority in terms of time on the ball, but appeared on course for an incredible upset defeat to the Segunda B club, who took the lead through a goal credited to Josep Caballe inside 10 minutes.

Ibiza had chances to extend their advantage, but the hosts eventually ran out of steam and Griezmann levelled in the 72nd minute, before securing Barca's progression to the last 16 in the fourth minute of stoppage time.

The third-tier club opened the scoring with a goal that will serve as an indelible moment in their history in just the ninth minute of proceedings.

Rai Nascimento's pull-back from the left was met by Javi Perez who, after being allowed to ghost into the box by Riqui Puig, saw his shot deflected beyond Neto by Caballe.

Neto was beaten again eight minutes later, but Angel Rodado's effort was correctly chalked off for his push on Clement Lenglet.

Only the woodwork spared Barca further embarrassment as Rai's close-range effort hit the inside of the left-hand post and bounced out, with Neto palming Rodado's follow-up over the crossbar.

Barca grew more dangerous in the second half and they finally found a way through when Frenkie de Jong fed Griezmann and the France international slotted home in confident fashion.

Extra time looked an inevitability, but Barca were able to ensure they did not have to exert themselves for another half-hour as they found the winner in the fourth of six additional minutes.

Jordi Alba was this time the man to send Griezmann clear and he made no mistake with a near-post finish that broke the hearts of a raucous home crowd.

What does it mean? Setien's tinkering almost backfires

Setien unsurprisingly shuffled his pack for the cup encounter, but a back three of Sergi Roberto, Lenglet and Junior Firpo always looked vulnerable, and so it proved. Barca were fortunate not to fall further behind in the first half and can count themselves very lucky not to have suffered an almighty humbling.

A tale of two halves for Griezmann

Griezmann had the fewest touches (18) of any Barca player in the first half but he contributed the two most important ones of the second to leave Setien breathing a sigh of relief.

Puig caught napping

Brought on for Ivan Rakitic at the weekend as Barca sought the winner against Granada, Puig looks set for an increased role at Barca under Setien, but this was a learning experience for the 20-year-old. He was at fault for the opener and was ineffective at the other end of the pitch, failing to create a single chance.

What's next?

Barca face a tricky trip to Mestalla to face Valencia on Saturday. For Ibiza, it's back to the challenge of earning promotion from Segunda B Group 1, in which they trail leaders Atletico Madrid 'B' by two points. Bottom club SS Reyes are next for Pablo Alfaro's men.

Antoine Griezmann saved Barcelona from Copa del Rey humiliation as he scored a second-half double to see off Ibiza 2-1.

Having made an impressive start to his tenure with a dominant 1-0 win over Granada in which Barca had 82 per cent of possession, Setien rested Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets and Gerard Pique for the trip to the Balearic island.

LaLiga's pacesetters enjoyed similar superiority in terms of time on the ball, but appeared on course for an incredible upset defeat to the Segunda B club, who took the lead through a goal credited to Josep Caballe inside 10 minutes.

Ibiza had chances to extend their advantage, but the hosts eventually ran out of steam and Griezmann levelled in the 72nd minute, before securing Barca's progression to the last 16 in the fourth minute of stoppage time.

 

FIFA has revealed a record amount was spent on transfers in 2019, with deals for Eden Hazard, Antoine Griezmann and Joao Felix topping the bill.

A report issued by world football's governing body on Wednesday revealed $7.35billion (£5.6billion) was spent by clubs in the transfer market in 2019, an increase of 5.8 per cent on the previous year.

The study also confirmed that English clubs spent the most, though the total figure of $1.52billion (£1.14billion) was a 22.1 per cent decrease from 2018.

Joao Felix's €126million transfer from Benfica to Atletico Madrid – who sold Antoine Griezmann to Barcelona for €120m – was the biggest deal of 2019, while Hazard left Chelsea for Real Madrid in a deal reportedly worth €100m.

Harry Maguire became the world's most expensive defender with a reported £80m switch from Leicester City to Manchester United, while Ajax sold young stars Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong to Juventus and Barcelona respectively for an initial €75m each.

There was also a rise of 16.3 per cent in spending in the women's game, with over 800 transfers made in total.

Luis Suarez said under-fire Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde was not to blame for the team's Supercopa de Espana collapse against Atletico Madrid.

Barca were stunned 3-2 by Atletico in the Supercopa semi-final, conceding two late goals to sensationally lose in Saudi Arabia on Thursday.

Goals from Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann cancelled out Koke's 46th-minute opener until Barca shipped twice in the final nine minutes as Atletico earned a showdown with Real Madrid.

The result plunged Valverde's future further into doubt but star forward Suarez defended the 55-year-old.

"[Valverde] is not to blame, the mistakes were ours and we can't make them," Suarez said post-match.

"I do not know if they are defeats that help us grow, [but] this defeat shows that there are things to correct.

"It shows us that there are mistakes that cannot be committed because we were in control of the game and we have allowed them to hit us on the counter-attack."

Griezmann was frustrated afterwards as the Barca forward lamented the side's errors against LaLiga rivals Atletico in Jeddah.

"I think we lost due to our own errors and they had the legs at the end," Griezmann said. "It cost us and we have to work hard in order to continue.

"We all made errors. I played a bad pass and then their goal arrived. They are errors which can cost you a Champions League or a league title."

Liverpool cannot afford to sign leading French stars like Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann, according to manager Jurgen Klopp.

Premier League leaders Liverpool have no French players in their first-team squad despite Les Bleus having won last year's World Cup.

Mamadou Sakho left for Crystal Palace on a permanent basis in August 2017 and none of his compatriots have moved to Anfield amid Liverpool's rise.

"There's no reason for it," Klopp told Canal Football Club.

"Kylian plays for PSG, Griezmann joined Barcelona. Obviously you know how good your [national] team is.

"We would like a French player but some of them are too expensive for us."

Liverpool will have a new addition to their squad when the transfer window opens on January 1 after agreeing a deal to sign Japanese winger Takumi Minamino from Salzburg.

Klopp's men won the Champions League last season and claimed the Club World Cup with a 1-0 extra-time victory over Flamengo in Saturday's final in Doha.

Their next assignment is a key Premier League clash with Leicester City at King Power Stadium on Boxing Day.

Barcelona forward Antoine Griezmann claimed his first El Clasico will hold few surprises because the former Atletico Madrid star plans to draw on past derby experiences.

LaLiga leaders Barca have the chance to open up a three-point advantage when second-placed Real Madrid arrive at Camp Nou on Wednesday.

Ernesto Valverde will hope Griezmann continues his good scoring form and the France international, a veteran of multiple Madrid derbies, appeared relaxed ahead of his first taste of Spanish football's showpiece fixture.

"It's nothing out of the ordinary. At the end, they're an opponent we're fighting for top spot with," Griezmann said, courtesy of LaLiga.

"At Atletico it was already very important for the fans, it was a derby and now it's El Clasico.

"Both here and at Atleti we want to beat Real Madrid, obviously, and we'll do everything we possibly can to win the game."

However, Griezmann acknowledged that it will be a high-profile occasion.

"It's the most important game of the year," he said.

"It's a great show, the previous days are intense on the TV – because I always used to watch it on TV – and we will do everything we can do to try and be at our 100 per cent and win the game.

"I imagine there will be a great atmosphere, with great tension and great excitement from the fans and from ourselves.

"It's a game you want to be a part of, no matter how."

Barca drew 2-2 at Real Sociedad on Saturday and Griezmann, on the scoresheet at Anoeta, insisted the Catalans must put Madrid out of their thinking in pre-match planning.

Blaugrana boss Valverde would still be wise to formulate a strategy for dealing with Karim Benzema, who netted a late equaliser for Los Blancos at Valencia and has 12 goals in 15 league games this term.

"Yes, yes, he is like that every year," Griezmann said. "For some reason people always doubt him but he's always racking up 15-20 goals per season in LaLiga. He's a great striker.

"He's spent I don't know how many years at Real Madrid and I reckon he is one of the best number nines out there."

A frustrated Sergio Busquets hit out at the inconsistency of referee Javier Alberola Rojas and questioned why Barcelona did not benefit from a VAR review, after they were denied an injury-time penalty in a thrilling 2-2 draw at Real Sociedad.

Fourth-placed Sociedad were good value for their point against the reigning LaLiga champions, which was earned through Alexander Isak's 62nd-minute strike after Barca had come from a goal down to lead.

However, the visitors felt they should have had a late spot-kick when Gerard Pique claimed his shirt had been pulled by Diego Llorente as the pair fell to the ground in the Sociedad box.

Barca's frustrations were heightened by the fact they had fallen behind to a Mikel Oyarzabal penalty, awarded when Busquets was ruled to have tugged the jersey of Llorente.

"If you set the bar so low for the first penalty, you have to give so many more penalties," insisted Busquets.

"VAR would have to have intervened in that final play. The penalty on Pique is so clear.

"I think the referee saw it, but he didn't want to blow the whistle. I don't know why VAR didn't intervene. I would like to know their explanation, but it's not going to happen."

Busquets was able to speak more positively about Antoine Griezmann, who marked his latest return to his first professional club with Barca's first goal, courtesy of a delightful chipped finish.

"We knew it was special for Antoine, because of his past," added Busquets. "He did not want to celebrate the goal, which is respectable, but for us that goal, and his work as usual, has been very good for us."

Griezmann said: "I will never celebrate a goal against Real. I have a lot of respect for everything they gave me."

Barcelona suffered a potentially costly slip-up ahead of Wednesday's Clasico as they were held to a 2-2 draw at Real Sociedad.

Luis Suarez scored one goal and made another as Ernesto Valverde's men, who had won their previous six games in all competitions, came from behind to lead at Anoeta.

However, Alexander Isak's 62nd-minute strike earned fourth-placed Sociedad a deserved share of the spoils, meaning Real Madrid now have the chance to move two points clear at the top of LaLiga with victory at Valencia on Sunday.

Barca could have few complaints about their failure to win, having been outplayed for large parts of an entertaining contest, and Ernesto Valverde's men will know they must deliver an improved display against Madrid in their next match.

Sociedad moved ahead after 12 minutes when Sergio Busquets was penalised for tugging Diego Llorente's shirt at a corner and Mikel Oyarzabal calmly sent Marc-Andre ter Stegen the wrong way from 12 yards.

The hosts remained in the ascendancy for much of the first half, but Barca pulled level in the 38th minute courtesy of a devastating break. Sociedad were left short of bodies at the back after Llorente was caught under the ball near the halfway line and Suarez drove forward before slipping in Antoine Griezmann, who clipped a deft finish into the bottom-right corner in front of his former home fans.

Imanol Alguacil's men were again guilty of slack defending as Barca took the lead four minutes into the second half. A glorious lofted pass from the previously unimpressive Busquets put Lionel Messi clear and he selflessly squared the ball to leave Suarez with the simple task of finding an open goal.

Griezmann and Gerard Pique came close to adding a third for Barca, but Sociedad soon hit back, Isak converting a simple rebound after Ter Stegen had needlessly parried a Nacho Monreal cross into the striker's path.

Monreal required treatment and a new shirt after comically injuring himself celebrating the goal. He and Oyarzabal attempted to bump chests but instead collided face to face.

Neither side could find a winner thereafter, home substitute Willian Jose coming closest when he fired a close-range shot into Ter Stegen's legs with the keeper grounded, while Barca saw an injury-time penalty appeal waved away when Pique and Llorente tumbled to the floor together contesting a Suarez cross.

 

Liverpool lead the way with 10 nominations for the EA Sports FIFA Team of the Year.

Luis Suarez labelled his stunning back-heel effort for LaLiga champions Barcelona as the best goal of his career.

Suarez scored a memorable goal as Barca defeated Real Mallorca 5-2 at Camp Nou on Saturday to regain top spot in LaLiga.

While Lionel Messi bagged a record-breaking hat-trick, Suarez capped a wonderful team move by back-heeling past Mallorca goalkeeper Manolo Reina prior to half-time.

"It's the best goal of my career," Suarez, who has now scored against all 28 teams he has faced in LaLiga, said of the 43rd-minute goal.

"I knew that it was a tight angle and the last option I had was to hit it with my heel. I was looking to bounce it because I had very little chance against the goalkeeper.

"[Head coach Ernesto] Valverde tells me that sometimes I miss the easiest ones and score the most difficult ones."

Barca produced an impressive performance at home to Mallorca as they moved ahead of Real Madrid on goal difference after their rivals won earlier in the day.

"This shows the confidence we're gaining as the matches go by," Suarez said. "We've been looking for our team-mates more and it was a great match today."

Antoine Griezmann opened the scoring in the seventh minute as the former Atletico Madrid star netted his first LaLiga goal since October 18.

"He has had to take up a new position in attack, he must find his space," Suarez of Griezmann. "I congratulate him on settling in because it's not easy."

Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick in the week he was crowned the world's best player as Barcelona eased to a 5-2 home win over Real Mallorca and reclaimed top spot in LaLiga.

Antoine Griezmann gave Barca a seventh-minute lead and Messi then took over with a couple of goals, either side of Ante Budimir's strike against the run of play.

On a day when the home side's front three clicked into gear, Luis Suarez added a fourth before the end of the first half with a sublime back-heel to round off a fluid passing move.

Budimir pulled another back for Mallorca 26 minutes from time, but Messi rounded off his hat-trick late on as Barca maintained their good form and overtook Real Madrid at the summit.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen claimed a second assist of the season with a quick goal-kick that Griezmann collected and lifted over Manolo Reina after racing through on goal.

Reina produced an impressive save to keep out the returning Sergio Busquets' header, but Messi found a way past the visiting keeper 95 seconds later with a 25-yard curler.

Mallorca, now winless in seven away league outings this season, gave themselves hope when Budimir's shot deflected off Clement Lenglet and looped over Ter Stegen.

But Messi took matters into his own hands with another trademark goal from range, before Suarez capped a fine piece of team play by back-heeling in from eight yards.

Reina frustrated Ernesto Valverde's men with a string of saves and Budimir then headed in from close range to once again give Mallorca a foothold on the game.

Barca made certain of a sixth win in a row in all competitions thanks to Messi's third of the match late on, the forward picking out the roof of the net after being teed up by Suarez to move onto 35 LaLiga hat-tricks in his career – one more than Cristiano Ronaldo.

 

Ernesto Valverde praised Antoine Griezmann's performance in the forward's return to Atletico Madrid as Barcelona claimed a 1-0 win on Sunday.

Facing his former club for the first time, Griezmann struggled to have an impact at the Wanda Metropolitano, where Lionel Messi's 86th-minute goal proved decisive.

Griezmann has scored five goals and provided three assists in 18 games since joining Barca from Atletico for a reported €120million in July.

The forward was again backed by Valverde, whose team returned to the top of the table with their hard-fought win.

"He looked good. It was a tough game for him. It's difficult when you face players you have played alongside for many years," the Barcelona head coach told a news conference.

"He was whistled a little bit. He was fighting and working hard. He had a really good chance and could maybe have controlled the ball better. It's something that happens when you come back to a place where you spent so long for the first time.

"That was what happened to Griezmann. He fought to overcome it and I think he played well."

Barcelona have won five straight games in all competitions and host Real Mallorca in LaLiga on Saturday.

It was all so predictable. From Lionel Messi's late heroics to Antoine Griezmann's frosty reception and his subsequent stunted display, very little about Barcelona's 1-0 win at Atletico Madrid on Sunday was even remotely surprising.

If it wasn't already, this had been arguably the most anticipated non-Clasico match in the Spanish football calendar ever since Griezmann's July move was confirmed.

That transfer ended a protracted saga that included one new contract, a 'documentary' and allegations of deception and shady negotiations.

Although Griezmann opted to remain with Atletico last season, documenting in excruciating detail his thought process in 'Le Decision', that contrived and narcissistic video certainly damaged his relationship with Colchoneros fans.

Perception of Griezmann worsened after it was alleged Barca and Griezmann began discussions before his release clause dropped from €200million to €120m, leaving Atletico adamant they were owed a further €80m.

If they didn't enjoy the soap opera that was the transfer saga, Atletico fans may at least have taken a hint of pleasure in Griezmann's early struggles at Barca.

The Frenchman doesn't appear to have improved them in any way, and that was the overriding feeling again after on Sunday.

Perhaps his sheepishness could be put down to the vociferous welcome reserved for him from the home support, some of whom added certain decorations to Griezmann's plaque outside the stadium before the match.

Every player to represent Atletico 100 times is honoured with a plaque outside their new stadium, though toy rats and a red cross were the most prominent new additions to Griezmann's on Sunday.

The abuse and scorn surely would've gone into overdrive had he found the net, though in reality he never looked a threat.

As has been the case for much of his career, Griezmann is at his most deadly when occupying a central position, where he can exploit even minimal spaces and do the unexpected.

Before the interval, however, he only popped up in such a position once, as he took up possession and found Luis Suarez, who lashed just wide from distance.

Otherwise he spent most of his time isolated and offering little on the left flank, the match passing him by.

After a cagey start to the second half, proceedings began to open up around the hour mark and you could be forgiven for expecting that to play into the hands of Griezmann and Barca.

Yet Griezmann remained on the periphery, barely making a squeak as chaos roared around him, the visitors clinging on for dear life.

"You wanted to be a name and you forgot to be a man," read a banner unfurled by Atletico fans, but he's failing to live up to his name at Barca.

He might have seen an opportunity for glory deep into the second half when he appeared to make a great run in behind Kieran Trippier, needing only to be fed by the marauding Messi.

But instead of slipping Griezmann through, which seemed to be the easier option, Messi used Suarez.

There was one exchange of passes and then – whack! Messi found the bottom-left corner, opting to stick to the tried and tested combination of himself and Suarez.

The ineffectiveness of Griezmann's display was entirely in keeping with the rest of his Barca career.

Suarez was the only outfield Blaugrana player – excluding substitutes – who touched the ball fewer times than Griezmann, yet the Uruguayan still proved more effective, teeing up Messi for that winner.

Although a night that began with a chorus of jeers ended with an embrace from Messi, Griezmann is feeling anything but the love after choosing to "be a name" at Barca.

Clashes between Barcelona and Atletico Madrid are always fascinating occasions, with two completely different philosophies pitted against each other.

But Sunday's contest at the Wanda Metropolitano will be intriguing for an entirely new reason – the return of Antoine Griezmann.

The France international's move to Barca was somewhat acrimonious, with Atletico convinced he was talking to his new club long before his release clause dropped from €200million to €120m.

Atletico fans had long been frustrated with Griezmann's behaviour, particularly after his 'Decision' documentary last year showed him considering a move before eventually signing a new deal.

Yet, for all the build-up, drama and soap opera-like twists and turns, Griezmann's adaptation at Camp Nou has been underwhelming.

Ahead of Griezmann's return to the Wanda, we took a look at Opta data to examine how Barca are faring since signing the forward, whether Atletico are suffering without him and how he is doing individually.

Griezmann struggling to influence

It's difficult to find evidence that shows Griezmann has improved Barca in any way. The data suggests they are less effective with him in the team.

Across Barca's 61 matches last season, they averaged 2.3 goals and 2.2 points per match. Both figures have dropped, to 2.2 and 2.1, respectively, while they're winning with less regularity as well, down to 64.7 per cent from 67.2 per cent.

It's a similar story with respect to shots, with their average per match now 11.9 with Griezmann. Last season they recorded 15.3 attempts per game.

In Griezmann's 17 games for Barca, they have a passing accuracy of 78.6 per cent in the final third and 84.4 per cent in the opposing half. Once again, those figures are less than last term (79.2 per cent and 85.1 per cent).

While it would be unfair to suggest Griezmann is to blame in every area, a lack of fluency and effectiveness in Barca's attack this season is difficult to deny.

Yet to find his niche

A relative decrease in productivity can be expected to a certain degree when changing teams, particularly given the contrasting styles imposed by Atletico and Barca, but few would have predicted Griezmann's individual contributions to suffer as much as they have.

At Atletico last term, Griezmann scored 21 goals, laid on 11 assists and created 88 chances in 48 matches. As such, that equates to finding the net every 2.2 games, averaging 4.3 matches per assist and crafting 1.8 opportunities per outing.

This season, Griezmann has scored five times, got three assists and created 12 chances in 17 games.

That means he is only scoring once every 3.4 matches, almost double his record for last term, averaging 5.6 games per assist and laying on just 0.7 chances in each match.

Barca more lethal without Griezy

Griezmann has been out of the starting XI three times for Barca this season and the data does him few favours.

Barca have a 100 per cent winning record and average 4.0 goals in those games, double what they have been scoring with him in the line-up.

Without Griezmann Barca are averaging 15.3 shots each match, a 3.8 increase than when he does feature in the starting XI.

Barca have seen less of the ball across those matches, registering 54.4 per cent possession compared to 65.1 per cent with Griezmann. However, that metric combined with their shot average suggests the Blaugrana are more ponderous and less incisive when the Frenchman plays.

A new era

Atletico have seen a slight decrease across some areas compared to last season since Griezmann's exit.

When the France star featured for Simeone's men, they averaged 1.5 goals and 2.0 points per match. Their figures are down to 1.3 and 1.9, respectively, this term, while Atleti's win percentage is down from 56.2 per cent to 50 per cent.

But the difference in many other areas is negligible, and in fact, they are averaging more shots and conceding fewer efforts at goal since Griezmann left.

At the moment it seems Atletico are slightly less clinical and decisive without Griezmann, though it's difficult to argue they are actually missing him. At least, not the Griezmann who featured for them in 2018-19.

Luis Suarez has told Barcelona team-mate Ousmane Dembele and club doctors to find a solution to his injury problems following another setback.

Dembele went off in the first half of the 3-1 Champions League win over former club Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday due to a thigh injury.

The winger is due to have tests to determine the extent of the damage, but he is likely at least to miss Sunday's LaLiga showdown with Atletico Madrid.

Dembele has suffered three thigh problems in 2019 as part of a succession of injuries that have blighted his Barca career since moving from Dortmund in August 2017 for an initial €105million fee.

The 22-year-old, who has started only five matches in all competitions this season, has also had his professionalism called into question during a difficult time in Spain.

Suarez has now urged the player and medical staff to do their utmost to halt Dembele's problematic injury record.

"Dembele and the doctors have to try and find a solution to his injuries," Suarez said after the match, as quoted by Sport.

"[They have to find out] how he keeps getting injured after he has recovered. We hope he's back with us soon."

Suarez broke the deadlock at Camp Nou on Wednesday before setting up Lionel Messi for the second goal, and the Argentina star played in Antoine Griezmann - who came on for Dembele - to score the third.

Jadon Sancho pulled a goal back for Dortmund but Barca saw out a win that secured their place in the next round.

While he says his partnership with Messi has become easy after five years at the club, Suarez admitted they were eager to get Griezmann a goal to boost his confidence after a run of six appearances in all competitions without scoring.

"I've always said that spending time together, being with each other day to day, for so many years, playing games together makes the connection with Messi easy," Suarez said. 

"You start [running] knowing that he's going to put the ball in front of you. We always look for the best option. It's normal that we find each other because we're the two main forwards."

He added: "As has happened with other team-mates, knowing [Griezmann] was struggling to score, when we were up we looked for him. Antoine did spectacularly: he had chances and he scored. It's important for his confidence."

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