Luis Suarez accepted Barcelona's 2-0 LaLiga loss at Granada was a worrying result.

Goals from Ramon Azeez and Alvaro Vadillo moved promoted Granada top of the table and deepened Barca's growing crisis.

They are without a win in seven away games in all competitions, while their start to the new LaLiga campaign is their worst in 25 years.

Regardless of their poor form, Barca are only three points off the top of the table and Suarez called for Ernesto Valverde's side to buck up their ideas quickly.

"It is a defeat that worries and hurts, and we have to look at many things," he said after the game.

"We must be self-critical in order to improve.

"After going behind in the first two minutes it was difficult for us.

"We have to be more forceful to win the title. We must be self-critical."

Suarez, though, said it is inappropriate to consider Barca's slow start an extension of their underwhelming end to the 2018-19 campaign.

"It is not necessary to mix with the ones from the last year," he added.

"We must analyse the first games that we played as visitors, that obviously worries us with the lack of effectiveness."

Barcelona have made their worst start to a LaLiga season for 25 years after falling to a 2-0 loss away to promoted Granada.

The Spanish champions have taken a single point from their three away games this season, failing to win any of their past seven matches on the road in all competitions.

Ramon Azeez and Alvaro Vadillo struck to condemn Barca to defeat at Nuevo Los Carmenes on Saturday, a stunning result that moved newcomers Granada top of the table on goal difference.

Barca, meanwhile, are lagging behind in seventh spot with seven points from as many games.

However, similar troubles for Real Madrid and other elite LaLiga clubs mean they are only three points behind the leaders.

The last time they made such a poor start to a league campaign was in 1994-95, towards the end of the Dream Team era under legendary coach Johan Cruyff.

Barca finished fourth that season and exited the Champions League at the quarter-final stage, losing to Paris Saint-Germain.

Antoine Griezmann's problems adapting to life at Barcelona continued as he went a fourth away appearance for the club without managing a shot on target.

Barca went down 2-0 away to promoted Granada in LaLiga on Saturday, with Ernesto Valverde overseeing their worst start to a league season in 25 years.

The defending champions have taken just seven points from five games - only one of those points coming away from home - to increase the pressure on Valverde after last term's shock Champions League exit to Liverpool.

Griezmann has shouldered responsibility for Barca's goalscoring in the early weeks of the campaign. with club captain Lionel Messi yet to start a game as he recovers from a calf injury.

Luis Suarez has also been sidelined by injury, but Griezmann looked to have settled in quickly at Camp Nou when he netted a brace in a 5-2 home win over Real Betis, after which his audacious goal celebration made headlines.

It has been a struggle for the striker since then, though, with Griezmann going without a goal in six games for Barcelona and France, and his role in the Catalan side's attack appears unclear.

A controversial move from Atletico Madrid does not seem to be working out for Griezmann, with Barcelona drawing a blank in consecutive matches.

Granada shocked Barcelona 2-0 in LaLiga to increase the pressure on Ernesto Valverde, who has overseen the Blaugrana's worst start to the season since 1994-95.

Diego Martinez's side had won their past two league games and led in the second minute, Ramon Azeez heading in at the back post, and they made it 2-0 from the penalty spot.

Arturo Vidal was penalised for handball after a VAR check and Alvaro Vadillo sent Marc-Andre ter Stegen the wrong way to leave Barca, who brought Lionel Messi and Ansu Fati on at half-time, with a mountain to climb.

Barca are winless in seven away games in all competitions and struggling in seventh, while promoted Granada are the shock league leaders after their third straight clean sheet.

Junior Firpo was making his first LaLiga start for Barcelona but he made two errors as Granada took the lead with 63 seconds on the clock.

Antonio Puertas profited on Junior's twin mistakes to race clear and deliver a low cross that ballooned over Ter Stegen via a deflection off Gerard Pique for Azeez to nod home.

Luis Suarez hit a free-kick into the wall as Barca tried to strike back, but they ended the first half without recording a shot on target.

After Messi came on at half-time, Barca almost gifted Granada a second. Ter Stegen carelessly dropped a cross, the goalkeeper recovering in time to beat Roberto Soldado to the loose ball.

Granada doubled their lead in the 66th minute, Arturo Vidal conceding a penalty shortly after replacing Ivan Rakitic, with Vadillo beating Ter Stegen from the spot.

Despite Messi and Fati adding zest to their attack, Barca still could not find a way through, the captain forcing Rui Silva into his first save with eight minutes to play.

What does it mean? Problems mount for Valverde

Barca have taken a single point from three away league games this season, while they drew a blank at Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League in midweek. Messi's lack of fitness has exposed the weaknesses in Barca's squad and questions will continue to be asked of Valverde.

Granada's remarkable start to the season means they top the league ahead of Sevilla – who have a game against Real Madrid in hand – on goal difference, but Barca are only three points off the summit despite their issues both at the back and in attack.

Herrera sets tone for battling performance

Granada inevitably had far less of the ball than Barca, but Yangel Herrera's energetic midfield display helped keep the champions at bay. He recorded four tackles, four interceptions and two blocks - as many as anyone on the pitch for all three defensive metrics before his 83rd-minute withdrawal.

Perez out of his depth

Were it not for injuries to Messi and Ousmane Dembele, Carles Perez would surely be nowhere near the Barca squad.

Another limp performance from the 21-year-old indicated why Barca were so keen to bring Neymar back from Paris Saint-Germain this year as, Messi apart, the lack of stardust in attack is clear. Perez was withdrawn at half-time, with 16-year-old Fati, Barca's future, sent on in his place, although the similarly anonymous Antoine Griezmann could have also made way.

What's next?

Barca have a quick turnaround with Villarreal visiting Camp Nou on Tuesday. Granada go to Real Valladolid on the same day.

Atletico Madrid failed to win for a third successive game in all competitions as an inspired performance from Ruben Blanco secured Celta Vigo an unexpected 0-0 draw at the Wanda Metropolitano.

Diego Simeone's side saw their 100 per cent LaLiga record come to an emphatic end against Real Sociedad last weekend, while they rallied on Wednesday to secure a 2-2 Champions League draw with Juventus.

However, their efforts in clawing back a two-goal deficit against the Serie A champions appeared to have taken a toll judging by their performance against Celta, with a sluggish Atletico failing to score at home in league action for the first time since May 2018.

Hector Herrera was rewarded for his equaliser off the bench in midweek with a first LaLiga start, while Simeone also selected Angel Correa in an attack-minded starting XI.

Yet for all their exerted efforts going forward, Atletico were unable to find a way to beat the outstanding Blanco.

He kept the home team at bay with a trio of fine saves in the first half, starting with an acrobatic effort to turn away Felipe's header from Kieran Trippier's inswinging free-kick.

The visiting goalkeeper also tipped over a rising long-range drive from Renan Lodi, with Blanco then denying Joao Felix's on-target prod from the resulting corner.

Koke tested the 24-year-old reflexes again from distance early in a second half where Atletico became increasingly frustrated with each passing minute.

Lodi's decision to go for goal from a tight angle rather than cross for the waiting Alvaro Morata summed up a below-par performance, while they were grateful substitute Pione Sisto failed to do better with a back-post opportunity in the closing minutes of a quickly forgettable encounter.

 

What does it mean? Sluggish Atleti come up short

After two tough fixtures, it is perhaps understandable Atleti were a little flat, despite the best efforts of a raucous home crowd to inspire their team.

Worryingly for Simeone, they have now managed just five goals in as many LaLiga outings in 2019-20, despite having 20 attempts on Saturday.

Blanco makes a point for Celta

The away team were resilient in defence but still relied on their goalkeeper to pick up a point on their travels. Blanco made five saves in total, the best of them his early denial of Felipe's close-range header.

Joao Felix fails to fire before departure

The Portugal international has still managed just the one goal for the Spanish club since his big-money arrival from Benfica. As was also the case against La Real, the teenager was withdrawn when his side were searching for a way to find a breakthrough in attack.

What's next?

With a midweek round of fixtures in Spain, Atletico Madrid travel to Real Mallorca on Wednesday. Celta, meanwhile, are in action the following day, as they host Espanyol.

Lionel Messi is on the bench for Barcelona's LaLiga trip to Granada on Saturday.

Messi, who missed the start of the season with a calf injury, made his first appearance of 2019-20 as a substitute in the goalless Champions League draw away to Borussia Dortmund in midweek.

But with coach Ernesto Valverde easing the club captain back into action, Messi remains out of the starting XI for the trip to Nuevo Los Carmenes.

Luis Suarez starts after making a goalscoring return to fitness from the bench against Valencia last weekend, featuring in attack with Antoine Griezmann.

There is no place in the Barcelona side for teenager Ansu Fati, who has two LaLiga goals already this season, with Carles Perez replacing him in the XI.

With Jordi Alba sidelined by injury, left-back Junior Firpo makes his first LaLiga start since joining Barcelona from Real Betis, while Ivan Rakitic is in a LaLiga line-up for the first time this season.

Barca have taken a single point from their two away games in the league, following an opening weekend loss at Athletic Bilbao with a 2-2 draw at Osasuna.

However, the Spanish champions have won 15 of their past 16 LaLiga matches against Granada, including each the previous six with 21 goals scored and only two conceded in that run.

Sevilla boss Julen Lopetegui insists he has no extra motivation to beat Real Madrid, despite his short-lived spell at the Santiago Bernabeu last year.

Lopetegui lasted four and a half months before being axed by Madrid last October following a heavy 5-1 loss to bitter rivals Barcelona.

The 53-year-old took just 14 points from a possible 30 during his time in the Spanish capital but has had far more joy at Sevilla since his appointment in June.

Sevilla are two points better off than Madrid ahead of Sunday's clash at Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan, but Lopetegui claims he is not out for revenge against his former side.

"There is no room for extra motivation when you coach Sevilla, something I can hopefully do for many years," he said.

"There are three points at stake and that is enough motivation, even if we know the impact of facing Real Madrid.

"I always have a very good memory of all the clubs where I have been, as I stay with the positive.

"I try to be responsible and ambitious, and [Sunday] will be no exception. The central characters are the players, not the coaches."

Sevilla have won three and drawn one of their opening four matches and maintained their momentum with a 3-0 Europa League win at Qarabag on Thursday.

Lopetegui is refusing to look too far ahead, though.

"I do not focus on what I hope or don't hope for, but on the day-to-day and on preparing each game well," he said.

"We look at the very short term. It is the best way of using the energy we have as coaches.

"We know that in front of us there is an extraordinary team, with spectacular talent, that will force us to give our best version.

"I would like to see a Sevilla side that knows how to attack and defend well.

"We want the three points and we will go for the three points."

Under-fire coach Zinedine Zidane insists he has no regrets about returning to Real Madrid and says he is not affected by speculation that Jose Mourinho could replace him.

The Frenchman has struggled to rekindle the magic that saw him win three consecutive Champions League titles between 2016 and 2018 since replacing Santiago Solari in March.

Los Blancos have won just two of their four LaLiga games so far this season and slipped to a humbling 3-0 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League on Wednesday.

That defeat has led to fresh questions about his future, with the Madrid board rumoured to be considering swapping Zidane for former boss Mourinho.

However, Zidane says he is unfazed by the speculation and remains focused on preparing his side to face Sevilla in LaLiga on Sunday.

"If I read the press, it says I'm gone," he told a media conference. "I feel strong. I have learned to never back down and to keep working until the very last moment.

"I'm not thinking about leaving. I'm only thinking of winning tomorrow. The difficulties that they speak of on the outside are something we can't control.

"I made the decision to come back because I liked the look of the new project. Now I am here, I will try. We have to be together to achieve our objectives."

Asked about speculation that Mourinho could replace him, Zidane added: "It doesn't bother me to hear about Mourinho; it is what it is. Here, you lose one game and you have to change everything."

Sevilla are top of LaLiga after three wins from their opening four games and Zidane says his players need to continue working hard if they are to return to winning ways.

"We must give everything we can to win the game," he said. "It's a difficult stadium but it's always going to be like that.

"We have to keep working hard, prepare well for games and change things around. That's football. We have a chance to change it round quickly. That's what helps me get through.

"We can't talk about everything that goes on outside the club and respond to all the criticism."

Zinedine Zidane is already under pressure at Real Madrid and his latest move displeased the LaLiga giants' board.

Madrid have made a slow start to the season, winning two of four LaLiga games and suffering a humbling defeat to Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League.

A decision Zidane made after that loss has reportedly upset the leaders at Madrid.

 

TOP STORY – ZIDANE ANGERS REAL MADRID BOARD WITH DECISION

Zidane's decision to give his players a day off on Thursday in the wake of their PSG defeat angered Real Madrid's board, according to Mundo Deportivo.

The latest report just adds to what has been a tough return to the Santiago Bernabeu for Zidane, back at the helm for a second stint.

With plenty of talk around his future, Sport reports it would cost Madrid €80million to sack Zidane, who signed a three-year deal in March.

 

ROUND-UP

- The man Zidane replaced, Santiago Solari, is close to landing a new job. Solari is the favourite to be the first coach of MLS side Inter Miami, according to beIN SPORTS.

- Juventus knew what they needed in the close season. Calciomercato says the Serie A champions prioritised the signing of Matthijs de Ligt for a reported €75m from Ajax over trying to land Joao Felix, who ended up at Atletico Madrid from Benfica.

- Nemanja Matic appears on the way out at Manchester United and Inter have been offered the midfielder, according to Calciomercato. However, the report says Matic is not a priority for Antonio Conte.

- Staying at Old Trafford and Manchester United are holding contract talks with 19-year-old midfielder Angel Gomes, according to the Manchester Evening News. Gomes is in the final year of his current deal and Barcelona are reportedly interested.

- Premier League clubs are on alert with Barcelona wanting to raise funds by selling midfielder Ivan Rakitic and defender Samuel Umtiti, according to the Daily Mail. The LaLiga giants are reportedly looking to raise at least €124m this season.

- AC Milan have held talks about possibly signing 20-year-old San Lorenzo forward Adolfo Gaich, according to Calciomercato. The Serie A side opted not to pursue a deal for the one-time Argentina international in the close season.

Diego Simeone dodged questions relating to Antoine Griezmann on Friday after reports claimed the France international negotiated a €14million signing-on fee with Barcelona while still an Atletico Madrid player.

Griezmann joined Barca in July when the Catalan club deposited the €120m to activate his release clause, which had dropped from €200m at the start of that month.

It brought an end to prolonged speculation about the attacker's future, though Atletico were adamant Barca and the player had struck some form of deal before July, meaning they felt they were owed a further €80m.

Barca insisted they only began negotiations in July, but Spanish newspaper El Mundo claimed on Thursday they had obtained evidence suggesting Griezmann discussed a commission in March.

Simeone was unwilling to address the matter in his pre-match news conference ahead of Saturday's visit of Celta Vigo, however.

"I'm thinking about Celta, I'm not interested in anything else," he told reporters.

"With all due respect to you, I understand the questions, but honestly, after playing on Wednesday we use the time to think about Celta.

"They have a reinforced team, the talent they have, the arrival of Rafinha, the presence of [Santi] Mina that creates an important attack. We are more focused on that.

"I understand your objective, but I've got mine."

New Atletico signing Renan Lodi received his first senior Brazil call-up on Friday, with the left-back having caught the eye during his early days at the club.

Although he was shown a red card on his LaLiga debut, he appears to have made the spot on the left of defence his own and Simeone is pleased with the 21-year-old's impact.

"He has been doing a great job since the first day he arrived," Simeone said. "He has extraordinary attributes that will grow with work.

"Hopefully he can maintain this situation of wanting to improve and I'm happy he's been selected by the national team."

Ernesto Valverde believes Barcelona need to be more forceful if they are to rectify their poor away form.

The Spanish champions have failed to win any of their last six competitive matches on their travels in a run stretching back to May, conceding 11 goals and scoring four.

Barca were somewhat fortunate to escape with a goalless draw against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League in midweek, having already lost to Athletic Bilbao and drawn with Osasuna in LaLiga.

Granada are up next for Valverde's men and the 55-year-old has demanded an improvement from his players.

"When we are away from home, our level of effectiveness and possession decreases," he said at Friday's pre-match news conference. 

"It is costing us in that we are not getting the results we expect when playing away. 

"Everything we have been doing well at home we forget to do away. We want to change this. We must be more forceful and decisive."

Lionel Messi made his first appearance of the season from the bench in Tuesday's stalemate with Dortmund and is in line to start against Granada, who are level on points with Barcelona after making a positive start to the campaign.

"Messi played well against Dortmund, despite having been out for a while," Valverde said. "We hope that as he gets more minutes. He gives us a lot - like he always has.

"His presence changes things in the attack. We will see who will play against Granada."

Ansu Fati has scored two LaLiga goals in three appearances and became the youngest player to feature for Barcelona in the Champions League after being named among their starers against Dortmund.

But Messi's return could see Fati drop down to the bench, while Ousmane Dembele is also closing in on a comeback after taking part in training this week.

Asked if Dembele is now behind Fati in the pecking order, Valverde said: "We will see if he has taken his place.

"So far they have not trained together. There is competition in the team and it will stay that way. It is a matter we will answer over time."

France international Nabil Fekir insists he never hesitated when joining Real Betis, despite having been linked with bigger clubs.

Fekir, 26, joined Betis in July in a deal that could cost them almost €30million, having established himself as one of Ligue 1's biggest stars with Lyon.

His move came a year after a transfer to Liverpool reportedly fell through due to concerns over his knee, though he has since accused the Reds of creating that "excuse" in order to not sign him.

Fekir remained at Lyon for a further season and departed in search of a new challenge, becoming the central figure of a new era at Betis, essentially replacing Giovani Lo Celso after his move to Tottenham.

Despite many expressing surprise at Fekir leaving Lyon – who are in the Champions League – for a club not even in the Europa League, he insists he had no doubts about the switch.

Fekir told LaLiga: "I had a meeting with the board or directors and it went well, they explained to me the project they had.

"They wanted to be [near] the top of the table to qualify for Europe next season, I liked that and I did not hesitate one second.

"That [qualifying for Europe] will be complicated, but we are going to give our best. We have to be ambitious and I believe all players here are ambitious and we are all eager to play at the highest level, and the highest level is in Europe. We are going to give our all to achieve that.

"In Lyon I had a lot of freedom too, but I had been there a long time and I needed new challenges. I came here with great ambition and they paid a high amount for me, so I will give my all to show the level that they are expecting from me."

Fekir is one of six players to play in all of Betis' first four games of the season, with club icon Joaquin also accomplishing that despite turning 38 in pre-season.

The Betis captain's larger-than-life personality and penchant for a joke are renowned in Spanish football and Fekir is enjoying his company.

"He is very good, I have no complaints," the Frenchman said. "He gives us his good humour and it is important to have someone like him on the team that gives his support to everyone.

"He has a good spirit and the mood you always need to have, and in spite of being a 38-year-old, he still has great quality. You can see that on the pitch."

Jose Mourinho has refused to declare any interest in a return to Real Madrid out of respect for Zinedine Zidane.

Since replacing Santiago Solari during the second half of last season, Zidane has failed to rekindle the magic that saw him bring three consecutive Champions League titles to the Santiago Bernabeu between 2016 and 2018.

Wednesday's humbling 3-0 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain in Europe's top competition led to fresh questions about his future, although former Madrid boss Mourinho declined to put himself forward as an alternative during an interview with Deportes Cuatro on Friday.

"There are two types of rumours. One, when one speaks about Zidane, who is one of ours and it hurts us when our teams aren't going well," he said.

"You have to live with it. Zidane is in football all his life and he knows it. The other type of rumour is to put my name in there and I don't like that. There are problems in many places, but another thing is [to have] respect.

"I wouldn't like to return [to Madrid] because they have a manager and I can't coach a team who have a manager.

"You can speak with respect about the club but also about the manager, who isn't just anyone.

"I am out of it. I'm not just blowing smoke. I would like that things turn out well and everything gets fixed."

In fact, Mourinho pointed to the early standings in LaLiga, where Madrid are ahead of champions Barcelona by a point and can overtake leaders Sevilla with victory at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan this weekend, to suggest the picture in the Spanish capital is not as gloomy as some make out.

"They're third or fourth, no? Close to being first. It's not bad," he said.

"If you look at if pragmatically, if you focus on the table, they're right there.

"Now, they play Sevilla and if they win, they go ahead of them. Barcelona are behind them and Atletico are a point ahead."

Mourinho suggested he could be ready to take his talents elsewhere when he goes back to work, with a piece of information that is unlikely to go unnoticed in the Bundesliga's upper echelons.

"Now, I am in German classes in case one day I end up there, or so I can speak one day in this language for a Champions League game," he added.

"It will be my sixth language."

Inter Miami have found their star signing, set to land Manchester City playmaker David Silva.

The MLS side, set to start playing next year, have been linked with numerous big names, with Barcelona star Lionel Messi among them.

But they appear to have found the man to lead them into their debut campaign.

 

TOP STORY – DAVID SILVA SET TO JOIN MLS SIDE INTER MIAMI

David Silva is likely to join Inter Miami at the end of the 2019-20 season, according to the Independent.

The 33-year-old has previously said this campaign would be his last with Manchester City, the club he arrived at in 2010.

David Beckham is a co-owner of Inter Miami and it seems they are set to land the star they have been chasing.

ROUND-UP

- Unsurprisingly, Erling Haaland's Champions League exploits have led to interest from a couple of Europe's biggest clubs. The RB Salzburg forward, 19, scored a hat-trick against Genk on Tuesday. Barcelona have watched Haaland previously, according to Mundo Deportivo, while The Sun reports Manchester United have also joined the race for the Norway international.

- Barcelona may be busy in January, but only with departures. Marca reports the LaLiga giants are not planning to make any signings despite continued interest in Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar, but are considering selling first-team players Ivan Rakitic, Samuel Umtiti and Arturo Vidal.

- Mason Greenwood is set to re-sign with Manchester United. The Sun reports the forward, who scored his first senior goal for the club in the Europa League on Thursday, will sign a new contract before his 18th birthday on October 1, taking his wages from £800 to £25,000 per week.

- Antoine Griezmann made the move from Atletico Madrid to Barcelona in the close season and the forward received quite the bonus. The France international landed a €14million commission to sign for Barcelona, according to El Mundo.

- Like Haaland, another RB Salzburg player is being chased by a Premier League club. Arsenal have made a fresh approach for playmaker Dominik Szoboszlai, according to The Sun, having also chased the 18-year-old Hungarian during the close season.

- There appears to be some tension at Inter. Romelu Lukaku and Marcelo Brozovic exchanged words in the dressing room and had to be separated by team-mates after a 1-1 Champions League draw at home to Slavia Prague on Tuesday, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Barcelona chief executive Oscar Grau has confirmed Ernesto Valverde asked the club to buy Neymar, as the Spanish champions consider whether to make any future bids to Paris Saint-Germain.

Neymar was strongly linked with a return to Camp Nou, with PSG sporting director Leonardo confirming the Brazilian was for sale having asked to leave the French capital.

But despite Barca reportedly making a series of cash-plus-players offers to PSG, no deal could be completed before September 2's European transfer deadline.

Neymar scored on his first Ligue 1 appearance this term after failing to get his desired move, but PSG ultras have indicated he will not be welcomed back to the fray quickly.

Real Madrid have also long been linked with a move for Neymar, with Grau unwilling to say whether Barcelona will continue to pursue a deal for the Brazil forward.

"Neymar was a request from the sports area and the coach and the club did everything in order to get him, albeit in a financially sustainable way," Grau said on Thursday.

"We made many proposals to PSG. They always rejected them. I don't know if we are going to target him again next summer. Planning for next season will be done in the future.

"We would have been delighted to have the chance to bring Neymar back, but the terms always had to be reasonable.

"If some parameters had been accomplished, it would have been possible, but PSG were not happy about losing him."

Barca also missed out on Matthijs de Ligt, who opted not to follow his Netherlands team-mate Frenkie de Jong from Ajax to Camp Nou.

"We made him an offer, but he preferred to go to Juve, where Italian taxation allows him to earn a higher net salary," Grau added.

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