Rumour Has It: Messi closer to Camp Nou stay than PSG move, Barca make Neymar move

By Sports Desk May 02, 2021

Will Lionel Messi stay or leave?

The superstar Barcelona captain is set to become a free agent, though the LaLiga giants are determined to re-sign Messi.

Paris Saint-Germain are interested but Messi could reportedly extend his Camp Nou career.

 

TOP STORY – MESSI SET FOR BARCA STAY?

Lionel Messi is closer to staying at Barcelona than joining Paris Saint-Germain, according to L'Equipe.

Messi's future has dominated headlines, with his contract due to expire at season's end amid interest from Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City.

Barca are keen to re-sign Messi, who is encouraged by the Copa del Rey triumph and Joan Laporta's plans, despite an offer from PSG.

 

ROUND-UP

Barca have reached out to PSG regarding a possible reunion with Neymar, however, RAC1 says the Ligue 1 holders are not willing to sell the Brazilian superstar.

Everton are plotting a bid for soon-to-be free agent and City star Sergio Aguero, reports the Daily Star. Aguero will leave the Etihad Stadium on a free transfer and the forward has been linked with Chelsea, Barcelona, Inter and Tottenham.

- Fabrizio Romano says Leicester City are working on a deal to sign Lille star Boubakary Soumare, who has previously been linked with Manchester United, Tottenham, Inter and Napoli.

- The Sun claims Borussia Dortmund have joined United and PSG in the battle sign Brighton and Hove Albion defender Ben White.

- Sky Sport Italia claims Milan ultras met with star goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma and demanded he sits out the fixture against Serie A rivals Juventus if he does not renew his contract. Donnarumma is set to become a free agent and he is yet to re-sign amid reports he is in talks with Juve. The Italy international has also been linked with United, Chelsea and PSG.

United are prepared to sell Paul Pogba if he does not commit to a new contract, according to The Sun. Juve and Real Madrid are reportedly eyeing the French star. It comes as The Sun also claims United are not willing to part ways with Donny van de Beek following a difficult first season at Old Trafford.

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    The champions had to contend with local fireworks, a misfiring Erling Haaland and a second-half onslaught from the hosts before they left the south coast with a 15th victory from their last 17 matches.

    Phil Foden’s first-half tap-in proved enough for City, who took advantage of Liverpool being in Carabao Cup final action this weekend, but were again not at their fluent best after a narrow 1-0 win over Brentford in midweek.

    “They are supermen,” Guardiola insisted.

    “What can I say? The demands for the calendar, for everything, for the expectations, they are so high. What they have done many, many years with a lot of games, many things and always you believe they will fall down, not continue to do it and they surprise me every time.

    “I tell them so that is not normal. For many, many years every three days and Bournemouth have seven days to prepare for one game.

    “Seven days dreaming every second of their one week to beat the best team in the world and we have three days to prepare for that.

    “It is a lot of competitions, but still we are there and I love it, I love it, I like it. Still we are there.

    “I don’t know how much longer we arrive in all competitions but still, we are there. Knowing where we come from, it’s unbelievable.”

    City started brightly at Vitality Stadium and Haaland fired wide in the ninth minute, the first of a succession of squandered opportunities from the division’s current leading marksmen.

    Haaland’s next opportunity was saved by Bournemouth goalkeeper Neto after Mateo Kovacic’s lofted pass, but Foden was on hand to stroke home from close range for his 16th goal of the season.

    The visitors failed to kick on afterwards and it was the Cherries who finished the half strongly with Ryan Christie’s stinging effort parried by Ederson.

    Andoni Iraola’s men remained in the ascendancy and should have levelled with 55 minutes played when Antoine Semenyo’s cross picked out Marcus Tavernier, but he scuffed his effort into the ground and Ruben Dias headed the ball away for good measure.

    Taverner screwed another shot off target minutes later before Ederson clawed away Dominic Solanke’s close-range header with 23 minutes left.

    Bournemouth continued to push for a leveller and – after Dango Ouattara arrowed a shot wide – their final opportunity went to January recruit Enes Unal in stoppage-time, but he headed Semenyo’s cross past the post to extend their winless league run to seven matches.

    Iraola praised his own players and also doffed his hat to champions City, who remain firmly in the hunt to clinch a sixth Premier League title in seven seasons.

    “I am happy because we showed today we are able to compete with one of the best teams in the world, if not the best,” Iraola admitted.

    “Obviously you cannot ask much more of the players, effort wise.

    “I think it is really difficult what they (City) do. It is really difficult. It is really demanding for the players to play every three games, very competitive games but they are used (to it) and have the experience.

    “They can use different players and the level is more or less the same. They also, I think, have learned when to peak during the season.

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    In fact, Gilbert is confident that the more his new-look team plays, the better the performances will be, as they continue to introduce and expose players to the senior programme, mainly due to the current standoff between the World Cup players and the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF).

    The Chileans through goals from Michelle Olivares (12th), Maria Jose Urrutia (22nd), Yestin Jimenez (61st), Yenny Acuna (70th) and Paloma Duarte (88th), outclassed their Jamaican counterparts at the Juan Pinto Duran Stadium in Chile on Friday. Chinyelu Asher (77th) with her seventh international goal, pulled one back for the Jamaicans.

    “I don’t think we were good enough to be honest, we started off really shaky and allowed them too much space to play despite what we said we wanted to achieve and how we wanted to approach the game. We were a little bit tentative on the back foot and they exploited those areas that we left opened,” Gilbert told SportsMax.TV.

    “We were much better in the second half, so we will look to build on that because it is a learning process, and so we will see how best we can carry that momentum over into the next game,” he added.

    Along with the lack of preparation heading into the games, Gilbert pointed out that niggling injuries also marred their performance, as a number of the college players are just getting back into season, while former Liverpool midfielder Jade Bailey is still gradually working her way back from a knee surgery.

    “It was difficult because some players are recovering from injury and some college players are just heading back into season, but it is what we have to work with, and we just have to put a better showing in the next game. The more we play oppositions like these, the better we will get. As I said before, this is new for a lot of them on the international stage, so the more we play, the more competitive we will be,” Gilbert reasoned.

    Still, with the next game scheduled for Tuesday, the veteran tactician is keen on using the remaining time in Chile to work on certain aspects of the team’s game, with hopes of conducting more intensive work when they next assemble for the April window.

    “But for now we are just going to recover and assess the game, look at where we went wrong and improve some things that we could have done better. There are some areas that needs more work than what we will be able to fix here, but we are going to ensure we have good defensive organisation,” Gilbert declared.

    “So, we are going to give a few other players some minutes to get back into fold and we are going to continue to work to make sure that defensively we are solid, and also tighten up on how we match up against opponents like these, so we should give a better account of ourselves in the next game,” he ended.

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    Pep Guardiola’s side had to contend with local fireworks, a misfiring Erling Haaland and a second-half onslaught from the hosts before they left the south coast with a 15th victory from their last 17 matches.

    This latest triumph was thanks to Foden’s 24th-minute tap-in, but it was the Cherries who did most of the running from there afterwards and were unlucky to lose with Marcus Tavernier squandering two fine chances.

    Nevertheless, this win for the champions keeps them firmly in the hunt for another title ahead of a bumper month of March with league clashes to come with Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal.

    City had edged past Brentford on Tuesday night thanks to a goal from Haaland, but his shooting boots deserted him after nine minutes at Vitality Stadium.

    Sent through after Foden had flicked on Bernardo Silva’s lofted pass, current Premier League top goalscorer Haaland curled the ball wide from 20 yards to spark big cheers from the home faithful.

    The Bournemouth fans were almost on their feet celebrating 60 seconds later when Andoni Iraola watched his team create an opening for left-back Milos Kerkez, who tested Ederson with a dipping effort.

    Chances remained at a premium with the main first-half flashpoint Adam Smith’s forceful tackle on Matheus Nunes until Foden continued his outstanding month with a 24th-minute opener.

    It was more akin to route one than excellent football with Kovacic able to chip the ball into the path of Haaland, who brilliantly rolled Marcos Senesi before Neto saved his effort but Foden stroked home from close range for his sixth goal involvement of February.

    Guardiola was on his haunches moments later when Silva failed to play through Haaland as City started to get into their stride with a Rodri effort also bravely blocked by Ryan Christie.

    Bournemouth had spent most of the first half allowing their frustration with referee Jarred Gillett to get the better of them, but eventually posed City problems with Ederson called upon to parry Christie’s low effort in stoppage-time.

    Whether Iraola’s team could keep it up was another question, but they fashioned a decent opening which was wasted by Kerkez early into the second period.

    Justin Kluivert tried his luck soon after and, while Ederson saved his 25-yard strike – not for the first time – the City goalkeeper looked unconvincing.

    The champions nearly highlighted their overwhelming power minutes later when Haaland bundled his way into the area, but Illia Zabarnyi got back well to block with his backside.

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    Antoine Semenyo again got the better of Nathan Ake and his cross found Marcus Tavernier, but the Cherries attacker fired his effort into the ground and Ruben Dias headed the wayward shot clear for good measure.

    Bournemouth were in the ascendancy now and another guilt-edged chance was squandered when in-form Dominic Solanke twisted away from Dias and set up Taverner, who dragged his 14-yard shot wide.

    Guardiola had seen enough and Jeremy Doku was the first to get the call from a star-studded bench but it did not have the desired effect.

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