Barcelona have revealed Jordi Alba suffered a right thigh injury in the 1-1 draw with Sevilla, though it is unclear how long the defender will be sidelined.

The left-back, who has started all three games under new coach Ronald Koeman, had to be substituted in the 75th minute of Sunday's LaLiga game at Camp Nou.

Following tests on Monday, Barca confirmed the issue for Alba, who will be "unavailable for selection until otherwise noted".

The 31-year-old will be aided by the international break in his recovery, as he has not played for Spain since a 2-1 win over Romania in September 2019.

"The tests carried out this morning have confirmed that Jordi Alba has a muscle injury in the hamstrings of his right leg," a statement from Barcelona read.

"He is unavailable for selection until otherwise noted, and the evolution of the injury will condition the player's availability."

Alba was replaced by Sergino Dest, who became the first American to play in an official game for Barcelona following his arrival from Ajax.

The teenager was unable to help his new team secure victory in the closing stages, though the result - and the absence of fans at the famous stadium - could not spoil the occasion.

"This is the stadium of my dreams, the biggest in Europe," Dest told the club's website.

"Unfortunately, because of the coronavirus, there's no public. But it's very nice."

Barca are next in action away at Getafe in LaLiga, followed quickly by a Champions League group game against Ferencvaros.

Manchester City are reportedly looking at signing Lionel Messi, while Barcelona's rebuild does not include Luis Suarez.

Messi, 33, has been linked with a move away from the LaLiga giants after a trophy-less 2019-20 season.

Barca are preparing for a rebuild and while Messi is part of their plans, Suarez is seemingly not.

 

TOP STORY – MAN CITY CONSIDER MESSI MOVE

Manchester City are working out if they would be able to sign Barcelona star Messi without breaching Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules, according to ESPN.

The report says the Premier League giants are preparing should Messi become available.

Messi is contracted at Barcelona until 2021, but has been linked with a move.

ROUND-UP

- Also at Barcelona, Ronald Koeman is preparing his rebuild. Mundo Deportivo reports the club no longer want Luis Suarez, Ivan Rakitic, Arturo Vidal or Samuel Umtiti, but have plans for Philippe Coutinho, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba. The report also says Suarez's departure will open up a move for Inter star Lautaro Martinez.

- Ansu Fati is seemingly close to committing his future to Barcelona. The 17-year-old forward, who has been linked to Manchester United, will sign a new deal that will include a €400million release clause, according to Mundo Deportivo.

- A former Bianconeri striker could help Juventus land Edin Dzeko. Tuttosport reports Mario Mandzukic could join Roma as a replacement for Dzeko, who is being linked to Juve.

- Milan are reportedly looking at Brahim Diaz. Fabrizio Romano reports the Serie A giants have opened talks with Real Madrid about a loan move, with an option to buy, for Brahim.

- Hector Bellerin has been linked with a move away from Arsenal. RMC Sport reports the defender has been offered to Paris Saint-Germain.

- Also at PSG, Leandro Paredes could make a move. Gianluca Di Marzio says Juventus are interested in the midfielder.

Is Ronald Koeman the chosen one?

Quique Setien was sacked by Barcelona on Monday, following the club's Champions League horror show.

And Netherlands head coach Koeman – a former Barca defender – is reportedly on the verge of being appointed.

 

TOP STORY – KOEMAN TO LEAD STRUGGLING BARCA

Ronald Koeman is set to become Barcelona head coach, according to widespread reports.

Netherlands boss Koeman is reportedly the man Barca want to appoint following Quique Setien's sacking in the aftermath of their 8-2 Champions League humiliation against Bayern Munich.

Tuesday's frontpages of Marca and Sport say former Barca defender Koeman will replace Setien.

Voetbal and Sky Sports claim LaLiga giants Barca are holding talks with the Dutch Football Federation (KNVB) as they seek to appoint Koeman.

 

ROUND-UP

- With Koeman set to vacate his position, Fox Sports presenter Jan Joost van Gangelen claims former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has offered to take the Netherlands job. Wenger has been out of work since leaving Arsenal in 2018.

- The Guardian reports Premier League champions Liverpool are unwilling to pay the €30million (£27m) fee Bayern Munich are asking for star midfielder Thiago Alcantara. The Spaniard has also been linked to Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City.

Inter remain in talks with Brescia to sign star midfielder Sandro Tonali, reports Fabrizio Romano. Inter will reportedly try to finalise a transfer following the Europa League final. Tonali has also been linked to champions Juventus.

- Alfredo Pedulla says Napoli want to sign Arsenal defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos but are still trying to negotiate a fee. It comes as Arsenal reportedly close in on Lille centre-back Gabriel Magalhaes, who has also been targeted by Napoli.

City are preparing a new and improved offer for Napoli star Kalidou Koulibaly, says Sportitalia's Pedulla. Napoli are reportedly keen to sell Koulibaly in order to raise funds for Gabriel.

- According to Sky Sports, Manchester United are monitoring Juve winger Douglas Costa. The future of Costa in Turin is in doubt as new boss Andrea Pirlo rebuilds and with United struggling to prise Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund, they could turn to the Brazilian.

- Cadena Ser claims Barca plan to force pay cuts on players who refuse to leave Camp Nou. Luis Suarez, Jordi Alba and Ivan Rakitic are among three of the highest earners who the club are hopeful of selling this off-season.

Milan are hopeful of re-signing Gianluigi Donnarumma and Zlatan Ibrahimovic before the end of the month despite negotiations dragging on, according to Calciomercato.

- AS reports RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano could join Real Madrid in 2021. Due to the financial situation amid the coronavirus pandemic, Madrid are reportedly holding off on major transfers until next year.

Arturo Vidal, Martin Braithwaite, Jordi Alba and Lionel Messi were all on target as Barcelona beat Real Mallorca 4-0 to make a winning return in LaLiga.

It had been three months since the leaders last played because of the coronavirus-enforced break, but they needed less than two minutes to go ahead through Vidal's header.

Braithwaite then fired in a second eight minutes before the break in a game that also saw the return of Luis Suarez from injury.

Alba struck11 minutes from time before Messi wrapped up victory in injury time as Barca went five points clear of Real Madrid ahead of Los Blancos' return to action on Sunday.

There was no sign of any rust in Quique Setien's ranks as Barca went ahead after just 65 seconds.

Frenkie de Jong robbed Real Madrid loanee Takefusa Kubo in midfield and the ball was delivered into the box by Alba, with Vidal running onto the cross and directing his header into the bottom-left corner of the net.

Barca threatened to put the game to bed early on as Braithwaite and Messi both came close before Mallorca finally woke up.

Kubo looked intent on making amends as he forced Marc-Andre ter Stegen into a good save from the edge of the box before being denied again with a low free-kick.

Yet the leaders doubled their lead before the interval, Braithwaite clinically dispatching his first goal for the club after a scrappy build-up that included headed flick-ons from De Jong and Messi.

Mallorca nearly found a way back into the match shortly after the restart, but Ante Budimir's first-time effort was always bending away from Ter Stegen as it flew wide.

Setien brought on Suarez – out since January because of a knee injury – and that seemed to galvanise Messi, who set up Braithwaite and Ronald Araujo for efforts that were stopped by Manolo Reina and the post respectively.

Messi would not be denied a second assist, though, as he cleverly flicked the ball over the top for Alba, who just managed to stay onside and finish at the near post.

There was time enough for Messi to get on the scoresheet as he kept his balance in the box before working space and firing right-footed high into the net.

 

What does it mean? No away day blues for Setien's side

Barca's away form has been a problem this term and they arrived at Son Moix having won just one of their previous five LaLiga games on their travels, conceding 10 times across those games.

However, with centre-back Araujo making his first start, the Blaugrana recorded their first away clean sheet of 2020 and extend their lead at the top.

Alba delivers the goods

Coming into this game, Ter Stegen had more LaLiga assists this season than Alba but the left-back pulled level with his early cross for Vidal's goal.

The 31-year-old was involved in the second goal too, while he regained possession a team-high six times and had three clearances to boot.

Anonymous Antoine

The return of Suarez – and the continued transfer talk surrounding Inter's Lautaro Martinez over the break – should have jolted Antoine Griezmann into delivering a better performance.

However, in the 57 minutes the Frenchman was on the pitch, he failed to have a single shot and Braithwaite's goal means Griezmann is in danger of falling further down the pecking order.

What's next?

Barcelona host Leganes on Tuesday before travelling to Sevilla three days later as the fixtures come thick and fast in LaLiga. Mallorca, who have a crucial clash with Leganes next Friday, travel to Villarreal next.

Lionel Messi's enthusiasm is contagious as LaLiga leaders Barcelona prepare to return following the coronavirus pandemic, according to team-mate Jordi Alba.

Suspended in March due to the COVID-19 crisis, LaLiga will get back underway with a derby clash between Sevilla and Real Betis on June 11.

Barca, who were two points clear of bitter rivals Real Madrid through 27 rounds at the time of postponement, will return with a trip to Real Mallorca on June 13.

Captain and six-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi has provided plenty of motivation ahead of the league's resumption, with left-back Alba telling TVE: "He's a vital player of us and we should enjoy having him all the time.

"Seeing Leo with the enthusiasm he's come back with is contagious for the rest of the group."

Messi had topped LaLiga's goalscoring charts with 19, ahead of Madrid forward Karim Benzema (14).

"I see the team as having a lot of enthusiasm," Spain international Alba added.

"Mentally and physically we players have come back really well I would say, even better than we were before."

Meanwhile, defending champions Barca continue to be linked with former star Neymar – who left Camp Nou for Paris Saint-Germain in a world-record €222million transfer in 2017.

On a possible return, Alba said: "He's clearly a unique player and he gave us a lot. He chose and looked for other goals."

Left-back Jordi Alba was disappointed to hear jeers among the Barcelona supporters as they struggled to break down Real Sociedad, prompting a response when he appeared to have scored.

Barca ran out 1-0 winners at Camp Nou as Lionel Messi's late penalty ended La Real's six-match winning run in all competitions.

Sociedad are one of LaLiga's form teams, but there was little patience with the home side as they toiled for a time.

Alba noted prominent early whistles from the fans, and so the Spain international stuck his fingers in his ears as he found the net in stoppage time, only for the goal to be ruled out.

"I respect the fans but the fans have to respect me," he explained afterwards. "Nobody likes to be whistled, and less so after 15 minutes at 0-0.

"It's true that we have to improve a lot of things but the attitude is good."

Head coach Quique Setien, nodding to La Real's quality, added: "The team have not lost confidence at all, but the fans do not contemplate that the opponent can dominate you.

"I give La Real a lot of credit. We have done many things well. We have had more chances than them.

"You end up being in the lead because you're better, but it's getting more even. La Real have three or four players who could play perfectly in Barcelona."

Barca moved top of the table at least until rivals Real Madrid face Real Betis on Sunday, although Setien suggests victory for Zinedine Zidane's side is not a given.

"We overcame a difficult game and now it's they who have a difficult game in Seville," Setien said.

Jordi Alba has been named in the Barcelona squad to face Real Madrid, but head coach Quique Setien is unsure what part the full-back will play in Sunday's Clasico.

Alba injured his right adductor against Getafe on February 15, with Junior Firpo subsequently filling in at left-back against Eibar and Napoli.

However, Alba was on Saturday included in Setien's 18-man selection for the trip to the Santiago Bernabeu.

Setien told a news conference: "The fact is he's very well at the moment, a positive sensation. Clearly you have seen I've put him in the squad.

"The question now is whether he will start the game or not. We're not sure. It depends how he's feeling tomorrow, if he's feeling the same as today.

"He's got another day, but he's looking confident. Let's see whether we play him to start with or not. I haven't decided yet."

Barca boss Setien kept his cards close to his chest, but revealed Alba was not the only player he would be making a late call on, adding: "No, I've got others."

However, Barca should also be boosted by the presence of Gerard Pique in the centre of defence, with the former Manchester United man fit despite suffering an ankle knock against Napoli in midweek.

"I think he's pretty much over the problem he had," Setien said. "There's no major damage. He's over the problem."

Jordi Alba appears to be an injury doubt for Barcelona's clash with Real Madrid on March 1 after sustaining a groin problem in the win over Getafe.

Alba - who has endured an injury-hit campaign - went off 22 minutes into Saturday's match at Camp Nou.

He was replaced by Junior Firpo, who played a key part in teeing up Sergi Roberto's strike - a goal which ultimately proved to be the winner for Barca, who had to hold off a second-half fightback from the visitors.

Barca confirmed during the match that Alba had suffered a problem to his right adductor, with tests subsequently confirming the injury.

It is not yet clear how long the 30-year-old will be sidelined for, but it seems his participation in both the Champions League last-16 tie with Napoli and the Clasico are in doubt.

The victory took Quique Setien's side - temporarily at least - level on points with Madrid at the top of LaLiga, with Zinedine Zidane's side not in action until Sunday.

Jordi Alba joined Lionel Messi in calling out Barcelona sporting director Eric Abidal for "throwing s***" within the club.

Abidal this week said in an interview with Catalan publication Sport that Barca took the decision to sack Ernesto Valverde after he and his colleagues identified "many players weren't satisfied nor working hard and there was also an internal communication problem".

Messi was disappointed the former left-back chose to tar all members of the squad with the same brush and did not specify names in his remarks.

Barca boss Quique Setien said on Wednesday the six-time Ballon d'Or winner remains happy at the club, with speculation mounting that he could opt to leave at the end of the season.

However, a 1-0 loss to Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey quarter-finals on Thursday was the latest blow for the club, who this week announced Ousmane Dembele will undergo surgery on a hamstring problem that is expected to rule him out of the rest of the campaign.

Speaking after the game at San Mames, Alba followed Messi's lead and claimed Abidal should have known better.

"This club gets enough s*** thrown at it from the outside so we shouldn't be throwing s*** at ourselves. That is the line to follow," said Alba.

"Abidal was a player, he is loved by the fans and that's why he should know what it's like inside the dressing room and how players feel."

Sergio Busquets headed the ball into his own net in the 93rd minute in Bilbao but Alba was pleased with the club's display.

"I think he had a very good game, one of the best of the season. It's a shame we lost at the last minute, but that's football," he said.

"I'm very proud of the team, especially for the level of the game. We have to continue like this.

"It's clearly the right path, we only missed the win. We played well, with possession and very clear openings. The result is a pity."

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have dominated the 2010s in terms of individual awards and moments of pure inspiration.

Future generations will look back on this past decade as a period obsessed with the two generational talents - their often-exaggerated rivalry exacerbated by spending such a long time on opposite sides of the Clasico divide.

But, while Ronaldo and Messi have filled more column inches than any other player on the planet, there are plenty of others who have been world leaders in their respective positions.

Having looked back over the last 10 years, using Opta data for inspiration, we have selected a Team of the Decade. But who makes the cut?

Is David de Gea selected in goal? Does Luis Suarez join Messi in attack? Has Virgil van Dijk done enough for inclusion? Find out below...

OMNISPORT TEAM OF THE DECADE

Manuel Neuer

There is not much more Manuel Neuer could have achieved over the past 10 years. For much of that time he has been one of the globe's most dependable goalkeepers, even if he has shown signs of decline since a spate of foot injuries. A veteran of seven Bundesliga title triumphs and a World Cup winner with Germany, Neuer boasts a save percentage of 74.2 per cent and has comfortably the most clean sheets (139) this decade in the German top flight.

Dani Alves

Has there ever been a better right-back than Dani Alves? The Brazilian stands to leave an impressive legacy, not just through his thrilling style of play, but with his record-breaking trophy haul of 43 after captaining Brazil to Copa America success this year. Despite being a right-back, he claimed 67 assists in league action through the 2010s, though his greatest contribution came in LaLiga with Barcelona, for whom he set up 51 goals. Marcelo (48) is the closest to him, but he has played 77 times more than the current Sao Paulo star.

Vincent Kompany

Although a brilliant player at his best, it is understandable to suggest Vincent Kompany never reached his ceiling due to injuries. Nevertheless, the Belgian will go down as a Premier League great such has been his impact with Manchester City, with whom he enjoyed four title wins. Kompany recorded 83 Premier League clean sheets in the 2010s, just 10 fewer than record-setter Kyle Walker, who has played 57 more matches. His leadership qualities have been missed by City this season.

Sergio Ramos

Sergio Ramos is a player who often polarises opinion, but he's one of only three players to have been at Madrid for the entire decade, so he must be doing something right. An undisputed leader and fierce competitor, Ramos is a big-game player like few others and boasts a goal-scoring record even many midfielders would be happy with, having netted 43 times in LaLiga since the start of 2010, more than any other defender. Over the past 10 years, he's helped Los Blancos to a remarkable four Champions League titles, while he won the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012 with Spain.

Jordi Alba

At his best, Jordi Alba was almost unstoppable. The flying left-back became a staple and key outlet for one of the great Barcelona teams, with his driving runs – on or off the ball – often creating havoc. A master at making a darting run into the box before cutting a pass back to create a chance, Alba has 38 LaLiga assists to his name for Barca, a record bettered by only Dani Alves and Marcelo among defenders. He gets the nod ahead of his Madrid counterpart as his assist haul is from 72 fewer matches.

Luka Modric

The only player to break the Cristiano Ronaldo-Lionel Messi Ballon d'Or duopoly, Luka Modric has enjoyed a wonderful decade. A vital part of the Croatia team that enjoyed an historic run to the 2018 World Cup final, Modric also played a big role in Madrid's incredible Champions League domination. Toni Kroos (11,260) is the only midfielder to have completed more passes in LaLiga than Modric (10,759), while he laid on 42 assists and created 522 chances.

N'Golo Kante

If there was an award for the most likeable player of the decade, N'Golo Kante would surely be a frontrunner. Sadly there is no such thing, so he'll have to contend with inclusion in this team. Arguably the key cog in Leicester City's remarkable Premier League title win, Kante followed that up with similarly impressive form at Chelsea and with France, winning the World Cup with Les Bleus last year. He has made 912 tackles and interceptions in the Premier League, putting him fifth among players with 200 appearances or fewer this decade, and each of those who rank higher have played at least 20 matches more.

David Silva

When David Silva leaves Man City at the end of the season, there will inevitably be a debate as to whether he can be regarded the Premier League's greatest 'import'. That this will even be suggested tells you the impact he has had. No one gets close to Silva's record of 89 Premier League assists in the 2010s, with the Spaniard almost certainly the most consistent creator the division has seen in the past 10 years. He was similarly important for Spain until his post-World Cup retirement last year, having previously lifted the trophy in South Africa in 2010 and at Euro 2012, eventually accumulating 125 caps.

Lionel Messi

Where does one even begin with Lionel Messi? If any single player has defined the 2010s – from an individual perspective – in world football, it is surely the Barcelona talisman. In LaLiga, Messi has amassed 505 goal involvements (369 goals, 136 assist) in 343 matches since the start of the decade, routinely carrying Barca to victory. He has won every trophy possible with the Blaugrana over the past 10 years and claimed five Ballons d'Or, with his 2019 victory giving him a record-breaking sixth. Although now 32, he remains frighteningly decisive – all that eludes him is international success with Argentina.

Robert Lewandowski

A long list of immense strikers have starred throughout the 2010s, but arguably chief among them – Ronaldo aside – is Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski. Having moved from Borussia Dortmund, whom he helped turn into Champions League contenders, the Poland international has developed into a remarkable all-round striker. In 307 Bundesliga games he has 221 goals from 1,163 attempts, meaning he scores every 5.2 shots – by contrast, Ronaldo needs 6.4 efforts per goal. Although he is yet to win Europe's elite club competition, there is little doubt the Pole appears to be getting better with age having already notched 19 league goals this term, just three short of his total for 2018-19.

Cristiano Ronaldo

In the somewhat tiresome 'Ronaldo or Messi' debate about which superstar is "better", the former can at least point to his international successes with Portugal as something that sets him apart, having lifted Euro 2016 and the 2018-19 Nations League. That is just the tip of the iceberg for his brilliance in the 2010s, however. Across spells with Real Madrid and Juventus, Ronaldo has scored 335 league goals and laid on 95 assists. With Los Blancos he helped inspire four Champions League successes, also winning a couple of LaLiga titles. What a privilege it has been to see Ronaldo and Messi in the same era.

Barcelona have confirmed Jordi Alba suffered a reoccurrence of a hamstring injury during the Champions League clash with Slavia Prague.

Alba went off at half-time in the 0-0 draw at Camp Nou on Tuesday, with Sergi Roberto replacing the full-back for the second half.

Spain international Alba was sidelined for several weeks with a hamstring injury earlier on in the campaign, and Barca have revealed the 30-year-old has suffered a reoccurrence of the same problem.

Barca, who confirmed the news on their official Twitter channel, offered no timescale on Alba's return.

"Tests performed have shown that Alba has had a relapse of the injury to his left biceps femoris [hamstring]. He is out and his recovery will determine his availability," the club's tweet read.

Barca's draw left Ernesto Valverde's side without a win in their last two matches, and they look set to be without Alba for Saturday's LaLiga match against struggling Celta Vigo.

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