Luis Enrique has revealed how a jovial team talk helped inspire Barcelona to win the Champions League in 2015 and complete their second treble.

The Catalans became champions of Europe for the fifth time by defeating Juventus 3-1 in Berlin thanks to goals from Ivan Rakitic, Luis Suarez and Neymar.

The victory secured Barca's second single-season sweep of LaLiga, Copa del Rey and Champions League titles and made them the first team in history to achieve such a feat twice.

Luis Enrique, who took over as head coach prior to the start of that season, has recalled how he fired up his players by pointing out just how anxious Juve were likely to have been feeling in their own dressing room.

"It was an unforgettable final," the Spain boss told Barca TV. "It's not just the final but also the group stage and the knockout matches. Although we had a very tough route, we weren't out of the competition for a single second.

"[Before the match] I said, 'Imagine I was giving the Juve team-talk and telling them about Barca. They'd be s******g themselves!'. At least it raised a smile."

Despite having confidence in his players, Luis Enrique admits it was the most nervous he has ever felt in his professional career in football and he only began to relax after Neymar scored the third deep into second-half stoppage time.

"I have never been so nervous in my life, as a player or a manager," he said. "I thought I'd calm down, but there was so much tension that I was finding it hard to deal with.

"The first goal boosted our morale. That made the opposition realise we were serious. It's something special about Barca and what makes all fans proud.

"[Neymar's] goal was the one I have celebrated most in my life because it was the third. When it's 2-1 you celebrate but you know there's still a lot to be done.

"It's the biggest thing that any player, coach or fan can experience. Not just winning the Champions League but the treble too. It was the second time Barca had done it. That shows what a club this is. The nicest thing is making so many people happy.

"The day of the final, the day after, and a whole summer of people feeling happy to wear the Barca shirt... so much goes into winning a treble and when you achieve that you have to go out and enjoy it."

Barca's success that season was spearheaded by their formidable front three of Lionel Messi, Suarez and Neymar, but Luis Enrique felt their true strength was in working as a unit.

"The great thing about those three was not just their football, it was their ability to pout the team ahead of any individualism," he added. "It was such a united and committed squad, not just Suarez, Neymar and Messi but the other spectacular players too. It was like a world XI."

Lionel Messi could be set to extend his contract at Barcelona.

The six-time Ballon d'Or winner's deal with the LaLiga giants expires next year, and there has been some speculation about the forward's future.

But, a renewal at Barcelona could be on the cards.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA TO BEGIN CONTRACT TALKS WITH MESSI

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu is planning to meet Messi's father next week to discuss a contract renewal, according to Sport.

The 32-year-old has won 10 LaLiga titles and the Champions League on four occasions during his time at Barca.

Meanwhile, Sport also reports Barcelona rejected a €100million offer for 17-year-old forward Ansu Fati.

ROUND-UP

- While RB Leipzig star Timo Werner is reportedly set to join Chelsea, it seems Liverpool may be looking elsewhere. The Independent says Liverpool are closely monitoring Borussia Dortmund attacker Jadon Sancho. The England international has been linked to Manchester United and Real Madrid. The Mirror, meanwhile, reports Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp called Werner to tell the forward the club would not be pursuing a move.

- Barcelona are expected to be busy during the close season. Marca reports the LaLiga giants are still focused on Inter star Lautaro Martinez and Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic, despite the transfers being complicated.

- Staying at Camp Nou and Sport reports Bayern Munich consider Barcelona defender Nelson Semedo, valued at €40m, too expensive, with Ajax's Sergino Dest a cheaper alternative.

- Out of contract at Paris Saint-Germain at season's end, Thiago Silva could be set for an exit. The defender is open to a return to AC Milan if he does not renew in Paris, according to Sport.

- Another player coming out of contract, Dries Mertens, is seemingly going nowhere. Sky Sport reports Mertens, 33, will extend his contract with Napoli for two years with an option for a third.

- Could Chelsea add a left-back this close season? The Guardian says they are stepping up their interest in Leicester City defender Ben Chilwell, while Ajax's Nicolas Tagliafico is said to be an alternative.

Barcelona great Xavi bade farewell in style on this day five years ago as he claimed a fourth Champions League title.

Elsewhere on June 6, Brian Lara set the cricket record books alight in the midst of a phenomenal 1994 purple patch, while an icon of the tennis world has great memories of this day in 1999.

Here we look back on those and some other landmark sporting moments.

 

1994 - Lara racks up 501

West Indies batsman Lara apparently did not satisfy his unquenchable thirst for runs when scoring a Test record 375 against England in Antigua.

On English soil two months later, he scored 501 not out for Warwickshire against Durham, surpassing Hanif Mohammad's 499.

It could have been very different as Lara made an uncertain start – bowled off a no ball on 12 and then dropped by wicketkeeper Chris Scott.

The Durham gloveman's error proved unfathomably costly as Lara smashed 62 fours and 10 sixes to reach his still unsurpassed milestone from 427 deliveries. Starting with the 375, it was his seventh century in eight first-class innings.

 

1997 - Rose finally blooms

Considering his breakout performance as a teenager at the Open Championship came in 1998, Justin Rose had to bide his time when it came to waiting for first PGA Tour title.

However, he took the opportunity in style when his moment came at the 2010 Memorial Tournament.

Four strokes off the lead at the start of the final day, Rose shot an imperious 66 to finish on 18 under and win by three strokes from Rickie Fowler.

In 2013, the Englishman claimed his maiden major triumph at the U.S. Open.

 

1999 - Agassi completes career Grand Slam

Andre Agassi's designs on completing tennis' career Grand Slam appeared to be slipping through his fingers when he fell two sets behind to Ukraine's Andrei Medvedev in the final of the 1999 French Open.

But he stormed back to complete a 1-6 2-6 6-4 6-3 6-4 triumph, converting a fourth match point in the decider. It made Agassi the first man in 30 years to win all four grand slams.

"It's been a lot of years since I've had this opportunity and I never thought I would see this day," he said, having won Wimbledon in 1992, the 1994 US Open and the 1995 Australian Open.

That Roland Garros triumph sparked a late career surge from Agassi, who lost the Wimbledon final to Pete Sampras and won a second US Open later that year, preceding a trio of Australian crowns in 2000, 2001 and 2003.

 

2001 - Iverson steps over Lee

In 2001, Iverson produced one of the greatest moments in NBA Finals history.

With less than a minute of overtime remaining, Philadelphia 76ers star Iverson made a 16-foot jump shot that Tyronn Lue of the Los Angeles Lakers leant in to contest.

As the ball dropped through the hoop, Lue lost his footing and Iverson mockingly stepped over him in celebration – an iconic image that sits uneasily with its main protagonist.

“I don’t like it [people making fun of Lue] because I love him," Iverson told ESPN in 2016. "I don’t like people joking on him and all that, because that’s my man."

The Lakers collectively had the last laugh, storming back from their opening night reverse to take the series 4-1. Iverson top scored for the 76ers in each game and ended the Finals with 178 points – a record for a five-game series.

 

2015 - Barca complete 'MSN' treble

Luis Enrique's fabulous Barcelona side – inspired by the MSN forward line of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar – completed their 2014-15 treble with a 3-1 Champions League final win over Juventus in Berlin.

Ivan Rakitic gave the Catalan club an early lead but Alvaro Morata levelled for Juve 10 minutes after the interval.

Suarez restored the advantage midway through the second half before Neymar made sure of victory deep into stoppage time.

For Xavi, it amounted to the perfect farewell at his boyhood club, having also lifted the Champions League in 2006, 2009 and 2011.

Ander Herrera insisted Kylian Mbappe and Neymar were "very happy" at Paris Saint-Germain and said the Ligue 1 giants were more likely to buy stars than sell them.

Mbappe and Neymar have been linked with moves away from PSG, with Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively reportedly interested in the forwards.

But Herrera said both forwards looked happy at PSG, who claimed a third straight Ligue 1 title when this season was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Asked who would be harder to retain if PSG had to sell one of the stars, the midfielder told AS: "I don't know, because I don't know what they earn or the income they generate for the club, which is still a company.

"But I do know that both are key in the project and I see them very happy and involved with PSG."

PSG landed Neymar for a world-record €222million from Barca in 2017, while Mbappe joined permanently from Monaco the following year for a reported €135m.

Herrera said the French giants were more accustomed to buying stars than selling them.

"You have to take into account a fundamental aspect, and I have discussed it with Kylian, that PSG is not a club that sells its stars, on the contrary, it buys them," he said.

"It has enough economic muscle to support both of them."

Angel Di Maria insisted he wanted to finish his career in Europe at Paris Saint-Germain, saying he was happy he did not leave for Barcelona in 2017.

Di Maria, 32, was linked with a switch to Camp Nou three years ago after just two seasons at PSG and with Neymar arriving from the LaLiga giants.

But the Argentina attacker ended up staying in Paris, and said he was happy that had been the case.

"I was very happy in Paris, but people at the club at the time told me some things, which turned out to be lies in the end," Di Maria told L'Equipe.

"Barca tried to get me to come. The two clubs discussed it, but PSG did not want to sell me and it ended there.

"These lies annoyed me a lot but, in the end, not leaving was a good thing because I am very happy in Paris today."

Di Maria, who has scored 12 goals in 37 games this season, is out of contract at PSG next year.

The former Real Madrid and Manchester United attacker said he wanted to stay at PSG.

“Ending my career in Europe with PSG is the only thing I want and have in mind," Di Maria said.

He added: "As for the rest, I don't know for the moment. No discussions have been initiated and this is not my intention at this time."

Loren Moron has signed a new four-year deal with Real Betis just a few months after he came close to a move to Barcelona.

The 26-year-old forward, who was given his first-team debut by Barca coach Quique Setien, had been identified by the champions as a potential emergency signing in February when injuries to Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele left their striker options depleted.

Betis coach Rubi claimed Barca – who were granted special dispensation to sign a free agent or a player already in LaLiga – made an approach for Loren, who has nine goals in 26 league matches this term.

However, with the Blaugrana reportedly restricted to a modest budget at the time, they were unwilling to match Loren's hefty €50million release clause, instead moving for Martin Braithwaite of Leganes.

And now Loren has re-committed to Betis, signing on until 2024 – the news coming after fresh speculation linking the hard-working forward with Premier League clubs Tottenham and Crystal Palace.

A statement read: "Real Betis Balompie and Loren Moron have renewed the contract that unites them. In this regard, he will continue to be linked to the club until 2024."

Loren began the 2019-20 season in lethal form, scoring seven goals in his first eight league matches, though he has only added another two to that tally since.

Betis return to LaLiga action following the coronavirus-enforced hiatus on Thursday, as they go to local rivals Sevilla in the division's first post-suspension fixture.

Lionel Messi faces a race to be fit for Barcelona's first match since the coronavirus lockdown after it was confirmed he has a thigh muscle injury.

The Argentinian talisman, who is Barcelona's captain and LaLiga's all-time record goalscorer, trained away from the rest of the squad on Friday.

Barcelona described the problem as a "minor quadriceps injury", specifying the particular muscle region in Messi's thigh, and said he was "doing specific exercises to avoid unnecessary risks".

The LaLiga leaders are due to resume their interrupted campaign at Mallorca on Saturday, June 13.

Barcelona said Messi "should be able to re-join his team-mates in a few days' time".

That may give the 32-year-old time to prove his fitness to head coach Quique Setien in time for the trip to tackle the islanders on the first weekend back in action.

Barcelona said young forward Ansu Fati also trained individually on Friday.

Meanwhile, the first team will leave the training ground behind on Saturday for a rare session on the Camp Nou pitch.

Barcelona said on their website that the players would head to the stadium with the purpose of getting used to playing in front of empty stands, given games will be played behind closed doors when competitive football returns to Spain.

Barcelona forward Antoine Griezmann admitted it would be "very strange" to play behind closed doors.

The LaLiga leaders will resume their season with a trip to Mallorca on June 13 amid the coronavirus pandemic, which led to the campaign being suspended in March.

Griezmann said there was no doubt it would be unusual to play with no fans in attendance due to COVID-19.

"The first game will be in Mallorca, but it will be very strange to play without an audience," he said during a conversation on Twitch on Thursday.

"It will be the first time I have experienced something like this."

With 11 games left to play in LaLiga, Barcelona hold a two-point lead over rivals Real Madrid.

Griezmann, who has scored 14 goals in 37 games this season, said he made the most of family time during the suspension of the campaign.

"I had never been so long stopped," he said.

"Yes, it is true that during these days I was able to enjoy my children."

Luis Suarez hopes he can go past Laszlo Kubala on the list of Barcelona's all-time top goalscorers to prove what an impact he has made at Camp Nou.

Suarez has been sidelined since undergoing knee surgery in January but is in line to feature again when the season resumes amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The former Liverpool forward will take to the field just three goals behind third-placed Kubala in Barca's record books.

Suarez has the opportunity to boost his tally of 191 Blaugrana goals, narrowly short of the great Hungarian's 194 haul, between now and the end of the campaign.

But with Barcelona locked in a tense title tussle with Real Madrid and still engaged in the Champions League, Suarez - while keen to overtake Kubala - is focused on securing silverware.

"I always say that records or landmarks come by themselves," he told Barca TV. "You just need to focus on helping the team as best you can.

"The chance to move past a legend like Kubala is very welcome. It means you left your mark at a great club like Barca."

Only clear leader Lionel Messi and second-placed Cesar, a star of the 1940s and 1950s, have scored more goals for Barcelona than Kubala.

Suarez anticipates challenges with the unorthodox end to the season, which follows a three-month break caused by the health crisis, adding: "I think it's a mix of everything.

"I think we are not used to playing in such heat in the middle of summer, but we are acclimatising ourselves to playing matches in the heat.

"As for the fans, it will be unusual to play in a stadium without a crowd, but we will adapt.

"I have done it before, so we will just try to focus on the football and doing well and winning matches in the league, which we all want so much to win."

The arrivals of Lautaro Martinez and Neymar at the end of the season had been the dream for Barcelona.

Forming the best attack in the world had been the idea, prising Inter's Martinez to Camp Nou and re-signing Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain.

But Barca have reportedly been priced out of a deal for Neymar.

 

TOP STORY – PSG SET NEYMAR PRICE

Paris Saint-Germain want €175million in cash for Barcelona target Neymar, according to Sport.

Neymar left Barca for PSG in a world-record €222m transfer in 2017 but the Brazilian superstar continues to be linked with a Camp Nou comeback.

But Barca's hopes have been dealt a blow due to PSG's demands and coronavirus as they prioritise Inter forward Lautaro Martinez.

 

ROUND-UP

- RMC Sport claims Manchester City are interested in Milan midfielder Ismael Bennacer. Pep Guardiola has reportedly talked to Bennacer about a move to the Premier League. City are also interested in Barca's Sergi Roberto, claims Mundo Deportivo.

Real Madrid are keen on signing Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, AS says. The England international has been tipped to join United, while Chelsea and Liverpool have also been linked.

- Calciomercato claims Napoli are eyeing a move for Lille forward Victor Osimhen. It comes amid uncertainty over the futures of Arkadiusz Milik and Jose Callejon. Milik has been heavily linked to Juventus, while the likes of Sevilla and Real Betis are reportedly interested in bringing former Madrid winger Callejon back to LaLiga.

Sevilla are prepared to wait until the end of the season for Barca's Ivan Rakitic, reports Mundo Deportivo. Barca are willing to sanction Rakitic's transfer and Spanish rivals Sevilla are looking to bring the Croatia international back to Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.

- According to L'Equipe, injury-plagued Barca star Ousmane Dembele has no intention of leaving Camp Nou for Juve.

- ESPN says United need more cash to sign Birmingham City sensation Jude Bellingham. The 16-year-old has also been linked to Dortmund.

Fabian Ruiz is wanted by Spain's two biggest clubs – Barca and Madrid. But Mundo Deportivo says the Napoli star is moving further away from a switch to the Santiago Bernabeu due to Madrid not being able to meet the Italian club's valuation. Luka Jovic and James Rodriguez have been mentioned as possible makeweights but Napoli only want cash.

- Lille defender Gabriel has emerged as a possible replacement for Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly. Le10Sport says Napoli have identified Gabriel as well as Fiorentina pair German Pezzella and Nikola Milenkovic. Sky Sport Italia, meanwhile, says United are offering £71m (€80m) for Koulibaly but Napoli are holding out for at least £89m (€100m).

Pedro is a player in demand. The Chelsea forward is set to become a free agent and AS says Roma are the Spaniard's "priority". Juve, Sevilla, Betis and Valencia have also been credited with interest.

Lautaro Martinez's move to Barcelona is seemingly getting closer.

The star Inter forward has been linked to the LaLiga giants, although questions have been raised over whether Barca can find a deal to land the 22-year-old.

But the Argentina international could be nearing a switch to Camp Nou.

 

TOP STORY – LAUTARO, BARCELONA AGREE TO FIVE-YEAR DEAL

Martinez and Barcelona have reached an agreement on a five-year deal at about €12million per season plus bonuses, according to Sport.

The report says Inter have given up on the star forward, but are yet to reach an agreement with Barcelona.

Martinez has scored 16 goals in 31 games this season.

ROUND-UP

- Bayern Munich have already decided not to purchase Philippe Coutinho, who has been linked with an extended stay on loan. However, Sport Bild reports there is no chance the playmaker stays in Munich.

- Timo Werner is reportedly a target for Liverpool, but another Premier League club could be making their move. The Telegraph claims Chelsea are plotting a move for the RB Leipzig forward.

- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's Arsenal future remains uncertain. The Telegraph reports head coach Mikel Arteta is trying to persuade the striker to stay at the Premier League club, while The Sun says Arsenal will keep Aubameyang until the end of his contract in 2021 if they cannot get more than £20m for him this close season.

- Could Eric Garcia return to Barcelona? Sport reports the LaLiga giants are tracking the defender, who came through their youth system before joining Manchester City in 2018.

- Having impressed at Lyon, Houssem Aouar may be ready for a move. According to CalcioMercato, the attacker would prefer a switch to Juventus over Manchester City.

- After contract talks with Newcastle United broke down, Matty Longstaff could be heading abroad. The Times says the midfielder is set for a move to Serie A, with Udinese frontrunners to sign the 20-year-old.

Hernan Crespo labelled Lautaro Martinez a "complete player" and wants the forward to snub Barcelona and stay at Inter.

Martinez, 22, is heavily linked with a move to the LaLiga giants after an impressive season at Inter, scoring 16 goals in 31 games in 2019-20.

Former Inter and Argentina forward Crespo believes Martinez should stay at San Siro and establish himself further before moving on.

"I would like him to stay at Inter because this has been his first year as a starter," he told David de las Heras on YouTube, via Sport.

"I wish he had a bit more solid foundation before another change comes. Trains slow down at the best stations and Lautaro is one of them."

Crespo, now head coach of Defensa y Justicia, won three Serie A titles with Inter, where the former Chelsea forward spent four seasons.

The 44-year-old likes what he has seen from Martinez, who also has nine international goals in 17 appearances for Argentina.

"He is a very serious and focused boy. I really like that. He has a lot of personality," Crespo said.

"He is a complete player who can play in attack both alone and accompanying another striker."

Lionel Scaloni said playing alongside countryman Lionel Messi is better for Inter star Lautaro Martinez amid growing links to Barcelona.

Martinez has been tipped to swap Serie A side Inter for LaLiga champions Barca in the off-season following his exploits in Italy.

The Argentina international forward scored 16 goals in 31 matches across all competitions before the 2019-20 season was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.

As speculation grows over Martinez's future, Argentina head coach Scaloni discussed the 22-year-old.

"If he plays with Messi he is better, no doubt. Beyond that later he will have to fight for the position as he did in Inter," Scaloni told TyC Sports.

"We have to be calm. If he changes clubs, maybe he does not have to be the undisputed starter, and it will not affect us, as long as he has a number of minutes that allows him to be in force.

"He has a huge future but still has a lot to give."

With Martinez dominating headlines, Scaloni issued a reminder about Sergio Aguero's exploits for Argentina and Manchester City.

Aguero is City's all-time top scorer as he celebrated his 32nd birthday on Tuesday, while he is third on Argentina's overall goals list with 41.

"Talking so much about Lautaro, it is Sergio who is breaking all the records," added Scaloni. "That is why you have to go calmly and wait for the moment of each one."

Barcelona will activate a purchase option on Sao Paulo teenager Gustavo Maia this June, according to the player's agent.

Maia's performances in the Copa Sao Paulo – Brazil's most prestigious youth tournament – at the start of the year drew the eye of LaLiga's champions and led to them agreeing to part with €1million for the option to sign him before the end of this month.

The 19-year-old winger, who was nearly sent on loan to Flamengo last year, became a father in December and overcame personal issues to force his way into the starting line-up at the Copinha, where he scored three goals in seven games.

Barca are required to pay an additional €3.5m to sign Maia permanently and his representative Danilo Silva is confident it will happen.

"We are sure Barcelona will complete the purchase," he told Radio Transamerica in quotes reported by Globo Esporte.

"There was already a signal from the club and [on Monday] Maia started private Spanish lessons to get more prepared.

"Other clubs came to us in the last few months but he never had any doubt, he always wanted Barcelona."

Sao Paulo director Alexandre Passaro said they have not yet been notified that Barca wish to purchase Maia, however.

"Whether he will go to Barcelona or not, we can't be sure, because they have until June 30 to notify us and they still haven't," said Passaro.

"The last time I spoke to them they said everything is very uncertain.

"LaLiga set the restart of games for June 11. Who knows, they may give us a signal in the next 30 days to find out whether Maia is going or not."

Marc-Andre ter Stegen revealed talks over a new contract at Barcelona stopped when the coronavirus pandemic hit, but he reassured supporters there is no chance of him leaving.

German goalkeeper Ter Stegen joined Barca in 2014 from Borussia Monchengladbach, and despite being understudy to Claudio Bravo for two years in LaLiga, his potential was never in doubt.

Since becoming first choice for the 2016-17 campaign, Ter Stegen has barely been out of the team, proving a dependable and consistent performer.

His last contract extension in May 2017 saw him renew until 2022, and with little over two years remaining on that deal, some fans may have worried about the 28-year-old potentially moving on.

Although Ter Stegen acknowledged talks were shelved earlier this year, he is adamant that was the appropriate action given the sensitive situation regarding the COVID-19 crisis.

Speaking on the Kicker Meets DAZN podcast, Ter Stegen said: "It's not possible for me to leave this summer.

"There were already the first meetings between my agent and the club [regarding a contract extension], then the coronavirus issue came up and it was not time to discuss a contract.

"At a time when many people are concerned about their lives, we decided to postpone it. I feel good in Barcelona, ​​also because my family feels good."

LaLiga is set to resume behind closed doors next week and Barca will return to action with a two-point lead over Real Madrid at the summit. Both sides have 11 matches remaining.

Although LaLiga's hiatus is approaching the three-month mark, Ter Stegen believes Barca are in peak physical condition and he is fully aware Madrid will not let them coast to the title.

"Physically, we have rarely been at such a high level," he said. "And mentally we will be much more focused on the matches left. Despite being in a good position, Real Madrid will not give us anything.

"New football will, of course, be different, we do not have to fool ourselves, a game without an audience is not the most attractive thing, but the ball will roll and that is what pleases us."

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