Barcelona 'on the right track' to register signings, De Jong pay cut not allowed – Tebas

By Sports Desk July 28, 2022

LaLiga president Javier Tebas declared Barcelona are "on the right track" to register their new signings before the season begins – but made it clear they cannot pressure Frenkie de Jong to take a pay cut.

The Catalan club's financial issues have been well documented in recent years, but coach Xavi has still been able to make considerable additions, landing Raphinha and Robert Lewandowski while Jules Kounde looks set to follow from Sevilla.

That activity has raised eyebrows across Europe regarding how Barcelona can afford to land new recruits, with it clear that departures will be on the cards in the latter stages of the transfer window to balance the books.

Tebas admitted that was indeed the case, with Barcelona having a "little work" still to complete, but that the situation does not look to be a cause for concern.

The club have raised funds by selling off chunks of future TV rights income, giving them an immediate financial boost.

"We follow all the movements of Barca very closely, but when the documentation of the levers and reduction of players that they have to do arrives, we will see if they register everyone," Tebas said.

"They know what they have to do. They still have a little work to do to be able to register everything they have signed and intend to sign. I think for now they are on the right track."

Regarding outgoings, Manchester United's pursuit of Netherlands international Frenkie de Jong has been well documented. Despite Barcelona being reportedly open to a sale, the player seems unconvinced.

It has been floated that Barcelona would insist on De Jong taking a pay cut in order to remain at the club, but Tebas has made it clear that would not be allowed.

"LaLiga is going to enforce the legislation. Players cannot be pressured or pushed aside, it is what marks the collective agreement, the law, reason and ethics," Tebas said.

Xavi has already admitted the financial situation may take a decision on De Jong's future out of his hands, despite stating he is important for Barcelona.

"He's a key player, but then there’s the economic situation and financial fair play. I like him a lot as a player," Xavi said after the 1-0 pre-season win against Real Madrid.

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  • Liverpool and Rangers set for historic battle of Britain, Barca face Inter – Champions League in Opta numbers Liverpool and Rangers set for historic battle of Britain, Barca face Inter – Champions League in Opta numbers

    Liverpool face Rangers in a battle of Britain and Barcelona will attempt to apply more pressure on Inter boss Simone Inzaghi with a Champions League victory on Tuesday.

    An army of Gers fans will travel south of the border to descend on Merseyside for a Group A clash that will give them another opportunity to secure a first point, with the Reds in second spot behind Napoli.

    Barca moved top of La Liga last weekend and Xavi's side will start their third Group C game level on points with out-of-sorts Inter after losing 2-0 to leaders Bayern Munich last month.

    Bayern will be expected to maintain their 100 per cent record at the expense of Viktoria Plzen, and Serie A table-toppers Napoli travel to Ajax looking to continue their brilliant start to the season.

    Ahead of another mouthwatering set of matches, Stats Perform trawls through the Opta data to highlight the most noteworthy facts for each contest.

    Liverpool v Rangers

    This will be the first European meeting between Liverpool and the Glasgow giants in a European competition.

    The Gers have only won one of their seven away games in England, that being a 2-1 Champions League victory at Leeds United in November 1992 courtesy of goals from Mark Hateley and Ally McCoist. They have suffered six defeats and drawn twice.

    Liverpool's last meeting with Scottish opponents in the European Cup was back in the 1980-81 campaign, winning 5-0 on aggregate against Alex Ferguson's Aberdeen (1-0 away, 4-0 home). The Reds went on to win the competition that year.

    Jurgen Klopp's side have won 13 of their past 15 home Champions League group stage matches (D1 L1), scoring 36 goals in process. Their solitary defeat was against Atalanta in November 2020

    Rangers have failed to score in their two group games so far. Indeed, only Plzen (2) and Sevilla (3) have had fewer shots on target than the Scottish club (4) in this season's first two matchdays.

    Inter v Barcelona

    Inter have won just two of their 14 European matches against Barcelona (D4 L8), a 2-1 victory in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in January 1970 and 3-1 Champions League triumph in April 2010.

    Barca's two away wins against the Nerazzurri came 60 years apart, winning 4-2 in the Fairs Cup in September 1959 and 2-1 in the Champions League in December 2019.

    Inter have lost six UEFA Champions League matches against the Catalan giants, their most against a single opponent. Barca have only beaten Celtic (8) more times in the competition.

    Barca have lost three of their past four away Champions League group stage matches (W1), as many as in their previous 25 matches on their travels in the competition (W15 D7). Xavi is only the second manager to lose his first two away Champions League matches in charge of Barcelona, along with Louis van Gaal in 1997.

    Inter have lost their past two Champions League games at San Siro (0-2 v Liverpool and Bayern). Only once previously have they suffered three consecutive home defeats in the European Cup/UEFA Champions League (a run of three between February-September 2011).

    Bayern Munich v Viktoria Plzen

    Bayern have won all four of their European matches against Plzen, beating them twice in the 1971-72 Cup Winners' Cup and the Champions League in 2013-14.

    Plzen's two away European matches against Bayern have seen them concede at least five goals on each occasion, losing 6-1 in September 1971 in the Cup Winners' Cup and 5-0 in the Champions League nine years ago.

    Bayern are out to record three wins at the start of a Champions League campaign for a fourth consecutive season. In their opening three games in the previous three seasons and their two games this year, they have won all 11 matches by an aggregate score of 41-7.

    Plzen have conceded seven goals in their two Champions League games this season and only kept one clean sheet in their 20 matches in the competition.

    Leroy Sane has been directly involved in 14 goals in his past 11 Champions League starts for Bayern (8 goals, 6 assists). The winger could become only the second player to score in Bayern's first three Champions League games in a season, with Robert Lewandowski (in 2019-20 and 2021-22) being the other.

    Ajax v Napoli

    Napoli have never won away from home in the Netherlands (D2 L3) in any European competition.

    Ajax have failed to win any of their past 11 home European matches against Italian opposition (D6 L5) since winning 2-1 against Roma in this competition in December 2002.

    Napoli will be looking to win their first three Champions League group stage games for the first time. They are unbeaten in eight matches in the group stage of the competition (W5 D3).

    Ajax have won their past four home games in the group stage of the Champions League, scoring four goals in each of the previous three (4-0 v Borussia Dortmund, 4-2 v Sporting CP and 4-0 v Rangers).

    Napoli are the top scoring side in the Champions League this season with seven goals. Luciano Spalletti's side have had more shots (43) and shots on target (19) than any other team.

    Other fixtures:

    Marseille v Sporting CP

    6 - Marseille have lost six of their eight European Cup/Champions League matches against Portuguese opponents (W1 D1).

    16 - Marseille have lost 16 of their past 17 Champions League matches (W1), failing to score in 11 matches in this run, including both games this season.

    Porto v Bayer Leverkusen

    7 - Porto have won seven of their eight home Champions League games against German opposition (D1), winning five in a row.

    2 - Leverkusen have only won two of their past 13 away matches in the Champions League (D5 L6), with three of the previous four ending in defeats without scoring.

    Club Brugge v Atletico Madrid

    3 - Brugge are unbeaten in all three home meetings with Atleti in European competition (W2 D1).

    7 - Atleti have never won a European match against a Belgium club in seven attempts (five away, two neutral). They have played more major European games on Belgian soil without winning than in any other country.

    Eintracht Frankfurt v Tottenham

    4 - Tottenham have lost their past four Champions League matches against German opposition by an aggregate score of 14-3, losing twice to Bayern Munich (2-7 and 1-3) and twice to RB Leipzig (0-1 and 0-3).

    3 - Eintracht have won three consecutive European games against English teams (one versus Arsenal, two v West Ham), as many as in their first 14.

  • Xavi not looking for Inter revenge in 'very important' San Siro showdown Xavi not looking for Inter revenge in 'very important' San Siro showdown

    Xavi will not be on a revenge mission when Barcelona face Inter in a "very important" Champions League showdown at San Siro on Tuesday.

    Head coach Xavi was in the Barca side knocked out of the Champions League by Inter at the semi-final stage in 2010.

    The Blaugrana were beaten 3-1 in the first leg in Milan and failed to overturn that deficit, crashing out after winning 1-0 at Camp Nou against Jose Mourinho's men, who went on to lift the trophy.

    Xavi returns to San Siro with the two sides both having picked up three points from their opening two Group C games, with Barca beaten 2-0 at leaders Bayern Munich last month.

    And the former Spain midfielder is motivated by the prospect of qualifying for the last 16 rather than having a score to settle.

    He said: "I have no feeling of [wanting] revenge. I come here as a coach this time. I remember that we had to travel by bus [to Milan] because of the volcano, but they were a great team.

    "It was difficult for us in the first leg. We lost it here. It was a controversial tie, but this is how it is. It's a bitter memory for us, unfortunately."

    Inter boss Simone Inzaghi is under pressure with his side ninth in Serie A following back-to-back defeats to Udinese and Roma.

    But Xavi is not reading anything into the Nerazzurri's poor form, as he knows they have the quality to turn things around.

    "It's not significant," he said. "It's Inter, a very strong team. They have a different system to anything we've come across so far.

    "They play with two strikers, something you don't see too much in Spain. They're a tough opponent, with good dynamics, but that has to be shown."

    Xavi added: "I have it quite clear. Despite the size of the rival, we are clear that we want to dominate. It is an important rival. It is the Champions League. It is not a definitive match, but it is very important for the future of the group."

    Inter have won just two of their 14 European matches against Barcelona, a 2-1 victory in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in January 1970 and that 3-1 Champions League triumph in April 2010.

    However, Barca's only two away wins against the Nerazzurri came 60 years apart, winning 4-2 in the Fairs Cup in September 1959 and 2-1 in the Champions League in December 2019.

  • Former Argentina forward Higuain confirms retirement at end of MLS season Former Argentina forward Higuain confirms retirement at end of MLS season

    Gonzalo Higuain will retire from professional football at the end of the 2022 MLS season, he announced on Monday.

    The veteran striker, a 75-cap former Argentina international who was a member of the squad that came second at the 2014 World Cup, will bring the curtain down on a glittering 17-year career.

    Higuain played over 100 games for each of Real Madrid, Napoli and Juventus, having began his playing days with River Plate, while he also had brief spells with Milan and Chelsea before joining Inter Miami.

    A six-time domestic league champion – with three LaLiga crowns and three Serie A triumphs – he signed for the MLS club in September 2020.

    Higuain has been in top form for Miami in the second half of this season, scoring 12 goals and assisting a further two in the past 14 games.

    Phil Neville's side are seventh in the Eastern Conference, clinging to the final playoff place with two games of the regular season remaining.

    Victories over Orlando City on Wednesday and CF Montreal on Sunday would extend Miami's season and Higuain's career.

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