Zone Blitz: Are Barcelona doing the right thing by trying to re-sign Neymar?

By George Davis, Mariah Ramharack&Lance Whittaker July 18, 2019

It's said you should never go back to your ex but Barcelona and Neymar could be a re-marriage made in heaven.

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  • Netherlands reveal Koeman's Barcelona exit clause Netherlands reveal Koeman's Barcelona exit clause

    Ronald Koeman has a clause in his Netherlands contract that allows him to leave to coach Barcelona, but Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) director Nico-Jan Hoogma hopes he stays put.

    One point from their final two qualifying matches in Group C will see Netherlands clinch their place at Euro 2020 and they are in good shape after winning their past four games.

    Former Barca defender Koeman is under contract until the conclusion of the 2022 World Cup and Hoogma hopes not to change coach until after the tournament in Qatar.

    "I hope we can work together for a very long time, because I think it is going very well," Hoogma said of Koeman on FOX Sports.

    "But Ronald has long indicated that he wants to be Barcelona coach someday. Let's see what will happen.

    "Success with Oranje will certainly help him. But again, I hope that the process continues up to and including the World Cup in Qatar."

    Barcelona are top of LaLiga after nine matches in 2019-20 but question marks linger over the future of head coach Ernesto Valverde, who came under pressure towards the end of last season.

    The Blaugrana's elimination from the Champions League semi-finals by Liverpool and defeat in the Copa del Rey final to Valencia left Valverde's position in doubt, but Hoogma indicated Koeman would not come cheap if there is an attempt to lure him to Camp Nou.

    "Agreements have been made about it," said Hoogma. "They will have to pay something for him. How much? I'm not talking about that.

    "After one year [of Koeman's time in charge] we still have a year to go to the European Championship, so this is not the time [to talk about it].

    "No matter how I respond, there will always be people who say if they [Barcelona] come for him, he will go anyway."

  • Jesus joins Messi, Lewandowski and Aguero on illustrious list after netting 50th Man City goal Jesus joins Messi, Lewandowski and Aguero on illustrious list after netting 50th Man City goal

    Gabriel Jesus joined an illustrious list of players after scoring his 50th Manchester City goal in the Premier League champions' 2-0 win over Crystal Palace.

    Jesus sent a glancing header in off the post to put City ahead 39 minutes into Saturday's encounter at Selhurst Park.

    David Silva doubled City's advantage with a wonderful volley two minutes later as Pep Guardiola's side moved to within five points of league leaders Liverpool.

    With his goal, Jesus brought up the milestone of 50 in all competitions for City, having joined the club in January 2017.

    The 22-year-old also became the seventh player to achieve the feat while playing for Guardiola, joining Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi and Bayern Munich forward Robert Lewandowski, along with City team-mates Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling.

    Jesus is only eight behind Pedro, but Messi leads the way with an incredible 211 goals during four seasons under Guardiola at Barca.

    "I'm very happy, you know, because last season I had a difficult start to the season," Jesus, who has now scored in each of his last seven starts for City, told Sky Sports.

    "This season is going to be different for me. I worked hard as well. I focus on the goal all the time and I think that's why I score a lot."

    1. Lionel Messi, Barcelona - 211

    2. Sergio Aguero, Manchester City - 103

    3. Thomas Muller, Bayern Munich - 79

    4. Raheem Sterling, Manchester City; Robert Lewandowski, Bayern Munich - both 67

    6. Pedro, Barcelona - 58

    7. Gabriel Jesus, Manchester City - 50

  • It's fashionable to not agree on political issues - Barca boss Valverde wants swift Clasico resolution It's fashionable to not agree on political issues - Barca boss Valverde wants swift Clasico resolution

    Ernesto Valverde thinks "it is fashionable not to agree on anything in political matters" and is keen for a new date for Barcelona's Clasico contest with Real Madrid to be signed off as soon as possible.

    The first LaLiga meeting between the fierce rivals this season was due to take place next Saturday at Camp Nou but the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) confirmed on Friday the match was postponed due to the ongoing political tensions and protests in Catalonia.

    There were violent scenes in Barcelona this week after nine Catalan political leaders received long prison sentences over their roles in the region's 2017 referendum and subsequent unilateral declaration of independence.

    The RFEF intervened after a rally in the city by pro-independence politicians was called for the same day as the Clasico.

    Barca later suggested December 18 as a potential new date and Madrid agreed with the proposal, which still requires ratification from the RFEF's Competition Committee.

    Speaking after Barca's 3-0 triumph at Eibar on Saturday, Valverde said: "I hope and I trust that we play this match before the end of the first round of fixtures, or at least before the end of the season.

    "It's fashionable to not agree on anything on political issues. I hope that [there is an agreement] in this. I don't think it's too difficult."

    On the pitch, Barca ultimately cruised at Ipurua with Antoine Griezmann, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez all on target in a win that saw the Blaugrana reach LaLiga's summit, albeit Madrid can reclaim top spot against Real Mallorca later on Saturday.

    It was one of the best collaborative performances the trio have produced since Griezmann's close-season switch from Atletico Madrid and Valverde said it was a matter of time before the triumvirate gained an understanding playing with one another.

    "It's a question of time and of playing matches," Valverde added.

    "In the end, great players always find each other [on the pitch] and know where their team-mates will be and know where the pass will go.

    "They've participated and worked very hard. This is the reward. They scored a goal each, they understood each other well.

    "The new players are finding their place and trying to understand each other. It's a question of time before they understand each other better."

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