Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani felt "ashamed" to pull the plug on a "done deal" for Raphinha to join Chelsea and says only time will tell if Barcelona will pay up for the winger.

Raphinha left Elland Road to join Barca for a reported fee of €67million (£57m) last month.

Chelsea thought the Brazil international was on his way to Stamford Bridge after reaching an agreement with their Premier League rivals.

Radrizzani was embarrassed to inform Blues owner Todd Boehly that the deal was off, but says he had no choice.

He told The Athletic: "For me, it was done, the deal with Chelsea. When I have a deal, my word is my word and I felt ashamed to go back to Todd Boehly, the owner of Chelsea, and change the position.

"It was really for me, disrespectful and not the right thing to do, but I didn't have a choice.

"If I could decide to not sell the player, I would have preferred that. But I didn't have a choice because for us it was more important to buy six players than keep Raphinha."

 

Radrizzani confirmed London rivals Tottenham and Arsenal also wanted Raphinha.

He added: "Obviously we had interest from Tottenham, from Arsenal, from Chelsea and from Barcelona. So all of  these clubs and the best deal we agreed was with Chelsea.

"Then at the end the deal that came up with Barcelona is pretty much the same for the way we structured it at the very end, but it took time, it was hard. We had to manage well and as I said, I'd rather not sell him, but I didn't have a choice because we had to buy six players."

Eyebrows have been raised over Barca's spending in this transfer window given they had to let Lionel Messi leave 12 months ago due to a financial crisis.

Radrizzani says only time will tell if the LaLiga giants stump up the cash they have agreed to pay Leeds for Raphinha and vowed to take action if they do not.

Asked if he is confident Leeds will get the money from Barca, the Italian replied: "Look, I'll tell you on the 2nd of September. If not we will have a global case on all media in the world about Barcelona. So I don't know."

The LA Galaxy have signed midfielder Riqui Puig from Barcelona on a three-and-a-half-year contract.

The Galaxy used Targeted Allocation Money to bring the 22-year-old to Major League Soccer after he was deemed surplus to requirements by Barca coach Xavi.

LaLiga giants Barca have the right to re-sign Puig and will be entitled to 50 per cent of any transfer fee he commands when he leaves Los Angeles.

Puig joined the Catalan club from Jabac Terrassa as an under-16 player in 2013 and went on to made 57 senior appearances for the Blaugrana, scoring twice.

"We are pleased to welcome Riqui to the LA Galaxy," said Galaxy head coach Greg Vanney. "Riqui is a very technical and well-educated player with incredible experiences for his age. He will fit seamlessly into our group and style of play."

Galaxy technical director Jovan Kirovski said: "Riqui is a very talented player with a unique profile that brings something different to our squad."

Puig won the LaLiga title with Barca three years ago and lifted the Copa del Rey in 2021.

Manchester United have offloaded back-up left-back Alex Telles after agreeing to loan him to Sevilla for the season.

Brazil international Telles joined United from Porto in 2020 and, although he featured in only nine Premier League games during his first season, the competition he represented was initially seen as a contributing factor in Luke Shaw's improved form.

Shaw enjoyed arguably the best season of his career in the 2020-21 campaign and also impressed at the delayed Euro 2020 as England reached the final, during which the left-back scored.

The Southampton youth product's form dipped significantly for an underwhelming United last season, however, and as such Telles appeared more regularly, making 18 starts from 21 Premier League outings.

Despite the increased exposure to first-team football, Telles rarely looked entirely convincing, particularly on the defensive side of the game.

His days appeared to be numbered when United confirmed young Dutch left-back Tyrell Malacia as new manager Erik ten Hag's first new signing in early July, and Telles' subsequent pre-season performances in several roles have been unspectacular.

Sevilla had been on the hunt for a second left-back since letting Ludwig Augustinsson move to Aston Villa on loan with an option to buy after a solitary unremarkable campaign at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan.

Telles will be expected to play back-up to Argentina left-back Marcos Acuna, who has marked himself out as a key player at the club after an impressive two seasons in Andalusia.

Sevilla, who will play in the Champions League this season, do not have an option to buy the 29-year-old.

It felt like a landmark moment in European football.

In August 2017, Paris Saint-Germain forced Barcelona to hand over one of their prized assets when they triggered the €222million release clause of Neymar, apparently signalling a power shift from the more traditional European powerhouses to the French giants.

It has not quite been that simple in the five years that have followed, though.

Barca have not won a Champions League since Neymar left, but neither have PSG, and the Catalan club can probably point to wider issues as to why their trophy haul has dried up in recent times, like how poorly they spent all the money they received for him.

The Brazil international remains the most expensive footballer in history, even if his transfer did signal a general explosion in fees across the top level of the game, but has he been worth it for PSG?

Half a decade since he swapped Spain for France, Stats Perform has taken a look at Neymar's five years in Paris.

Bye-bye Barca

Neymar's name first came to prominence when he was called up to the Brazil squad for the 2010 World Cup at the age of just 18. Immediate comparisons were made to Ronaldo, who was taken to the 1994 World Cup by the Selecao at a young age, before latterly becoming one of the greatest strikers the game had ever seen.

The new kid on the block was clearly a different kind of player to the legendary forward, but Neymar's flicks and tricks at Santos excited onlookers enough that the whole of Europe was trying to sign him, with Barca winning the race in 2013.

Neymar went on to become part of a fabled front three at Camp Nou alongside Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi, winning two LaLiga titles, three Copa del Rey trophies and the Champions League in 2014-15.

During his four years at Barca, he was directly involved in 164 goals in 186 appearances (105 goals, 59 assists), and in his final season in Spain, Neymar was the only player in Europe's top five leagues to record 20 or more for both goals (20) and assists (21) in all competitions.

It was therefore quite a blow when PSG came along and took him in 2017.

 

Life in Paris

Despite having been in Paris for a year longer than he was in Barcelona, Neymar has so far played 42 fewer games for PSG than he did at Barca, with 156 goal involvements (102 goals, 54 assists) to his name in 144 appearances in all competitions. 

The Brazil international has been largely ruthless, converting 52.9 per cent of his big chances, bettering Mbappe (46.4 per cent) and Messi (26.1 per cent).

He made an impressive start, scoring 28 in 30 games in his first season, followed by 23 in 28 the next.

His lack of availability has often been an issue, though, seemingly unable to stay fit for long enough to truly dominate across a season.

That being said, Neymar currently sits fifth in the club's all-time leading scorers alongside, but well behind team-mate Kylian Mbappe (171), who has become the face of the current PSG side, particularly now he has committed his future to the club after penning a new deal in May.

On the surface, you would say those numbers suggest Neymar has been a relative success at the Parc des Princes, particularly as he has also won four Ligue 1 titles, three Coupe de France trophies and twice lifted the now defunct Coupe de la Ligue.

However, you cannot really mention Neymar or PSG without then discussing Champions League ambitions.

Having ironically been at the centre of PSG's embarrassing elimination at the hands of Barca just months before leaving the latter for the former in 2017, it was hoped that adding Neymar would tip the scales in the Ligue 1 side's favour as they looked to lift Europe's most prestigious prize for the first time.

As it is, they have reached just one final, losing 1-0 to Bayern Munich in 2020, and they once again suffered a humiliating collapse against Spanish opposition last season as they crashed out against eventual champions Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu, despite holding a 2-0 aggregate lead heading into the second half of the second leg.

Following that loss, PSG fans turned their ire on Neymar, believing the superstar to have not done enough to prevent their elimination, but he was not the only one receiving boos from his own supporters, with a well-regarded Argentine also being partly sneered at.

 

Friends reunited

Since Neymar left Barcelona, barely a transfer window has passed without him being linked with a move back to Camp Nou, with suggestions that Messi wanted to play with his former partner in crime again.

What many hadn't seen coming was that they would indeed be reunited, just not in LaLiga.

Barca's inability to give Messi a new contract after the league imposed financial restrictions on them in 2021 meant he had to leave, with PSG waiting with open arms to bring the Argentina legend to link up with Neymar once again.

It has not quite been the same, though, and while you can excuse Messi not setting the world alight in his first season having only played for Barcelona at senior level in his illustrious career, Neymar also failed to light up many games in which he featured.

He again missed several games through injury, making just 28 appearances in all competitions in 2021-22, scoring 13 goals, three of which were penalties.

 

Notably, he also failed to register a single goal in the Champions League, the competition he was essentially signed for such vast money to lead the club to winning.

There have been murmurs about PSG moving on from the Neymar experiment, with fans turning on him and club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi recently saying he wants to move on from the "bling bling" era and bring in more local players like Mbappe over the next few years.

Whether anyone is willing to take a gamble on a player who will still cost a lot of money remains to be seen, with Manchester City seemingly distancing themselves from a move in this transfer window.

It might not be too late for Neymar, though. The talent is undoubtedly there, and he has shown he is capable of putting up tremendous numbers, it's just a case of remaining available and turning up in the big games.

The arrival of Christophe Galtier as head coach appears to be a step in the direction Al-Khelaifi was alluding to, and the former Lille and Nice boss has said he would love for Neymar to stay and be a part of things next season.

As far as starts go, Neymar made a strong one to the new campaign, netting twice in Sunday's 4-0 rout of Nantes in the Trophee des Champions, a game that Mbappe missed.

With PSG looking set to play with a back three, there might be even more room for their attack to flourish, and Neymar could prove his doubters wrong.

Barcelona president Joan Laporta suggested the club's spending may not be overnand hinted at a move for reported target Bernardo Silva should head coach Xavi request it.

The Manchester City midfielder has been linked with a move to Camp Nou as a potential replacement for Frenkie de Jong, who is rumoured to be of interest to Manchester United and Chelsea.

Barca have already signed Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, Franck Kessie, Andreas Christensen and Jules Kounde during the transfer window, though questions had been raised whether the club would be able to register them.

Speaking at a media conference to present Kounde after his move from Sevilla, Laporta explained the current situation around player registration, stating: "We are optimistic. We are doing everything possible to register the new purchases.

"I hope that the interpretation we give of the regulation is the same as [LaLiga]. There is time until August 13."

When asked if the club would be looking to add Silva as well, he replied: "First we have to register the players, then we will see what to do if the coach [Xavi] asks for more reinforcements."

The club also announced it had activated a third economic lever in order to try and register their new arrivals.

A statement on the Barca website on Monday read: "FC Barcelona announces the sale of 24.5 per cent of Barca Studios to the company Socios.com for €100million to accelerate the club's audiovisual, blockchain, NFT and Web.3 strategy.

"The sale has been made in accordance with the authorisation of the General Assembly of FC Barcelona Members held last October 23."

Barca, who had reportedly been €1.3billion in debt, had relied on two economic levers so far, the first seeing the Catalan giants sell 10 per cent of their LaLiga broadcasting rights to American investment firm Sixth Street.

The second reported involved transferring a further 15 per cent of their television rights to Sixth Street for the next 25 years, supposedly raising more than €500m from both.

Real Madrid have confirmed the departure of forward Borja Mayoral, who has joined Getafe on a five-year deal.

The 25-year-old spent the second half of last season on loan with Getafe, scoring six goals in 18 matches, and leaves Madrid after 15 years associated with the Spanish giants.

With Madrid, Mayoral has won the Champions League, Club World Cup, Super Cup and Supercopa de Espana, although he never quite established himself as a regular within the first-team squad.

Mayoral made his debut for Madrid in 2015 but subsequently went on loan to Wolfsburg for the 2016-17 season, returning to the Santiago Bernabeu the following year.

A two-year loan with Levante was followed by a two-season spell with Roma, which was cut short in January with Getafe taking over the deal for the remainder of the 2021-22 campaign before securing his permanent signing.

Jules Kounde has detailed the role Xavi played in bringing the defender to Barcelona from Sevilla, describing how "important" it was the coach was pushing for the deal.

The 23-year-old was long courted by Premier League outfit Chelsea, who were widely reported to be set to secure a deal before Barcelona moved to hijack the agreement.

It was the second time in the window a late Barca move had frustrated the English side, with the Blaugrana beating them to the signature of Raphinha from Leeds United, while they also signed Andreas Christensen on a free transfer from the Blues.

For Kounde, though, the key to his decision was the conversations he had with Xavi.

"I had some good conversations with Xavi, he always expressed desire for me to come here, and that was important for me," he told a news conference.

"This is an important moment in my career, and in the conversations, he asked me to continue to do what I was doing in Sevilla, to continue to be aggressive, bring the ball out from the back, distribute, those are some of my strengths. 

"Barcelona is a great club, very demanding as well, and that's something that Xavi talked to me about."

Kounde's arrival at Barcelona comes as part of a significant recruitment drive from Xavi's side, with Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, Christensen and Franck Kessie fellow new arrivals.

However, the France international has an advantage due to his experience of playing in Spain and believes he will quickly settle into the club.

"My knowledge of the league is going to make it easier to adapt as soon as possible, to adapt to the Barcelona style as well," he explained.

"My coach is obviously going to ask me to know my team-mates as well, and that's going to take time, but it won't be a problem.

"There is lots of competition, I think it's very good for the team. It's good to have a lot of competition in each spot; there are lots of games, of course.

"What I have to do here is grow and learn. I'm very young still, and I'm here to help the team at any given moment, whatever the coach asks of me and my team-mates.

"It's good that there is competition, I'm really looking forward to playing, and when there's competition, it's a challenge and that's great."

Barcelona coach Xavi is confident Robert Lewandowski will soon find his rhythm at the club, having failed to find the net in pre-season.

The Poland international is one of Barcelona's marquee additions for the 2022-23 season, joining from Bayern Munich, and arrives with an established reputation as one of Europe's deadliest finishers.

Goals have not come in preparation for the new season, but Xavi is not concerned and believes there have been some encouraging signs already.

"The positive is that he has had all those opportunities, I am sure he will mark them," he said following Barcelona's win against the New York Red Bulls.

"In training, they go in; today, they have not gone in. I am convinced that they will go in, I trust him. 

"It happened with Luis Suarez, Ferran [Torres] last year. He's going to have chances to score; tonight he's had them, that's the positive part."

There could yet be further transfer business at Camp Nou, as Frenkie de Jong continues to be of interest to Manchester United.

Xavi has insisted playing De Jong at centre-back in a previous friendly was not a "signal" he was to leave, although the coach has almost finalised plans for his first-team squad.

"I don't know if there will be more [signings], it all depends on the financial fair play and the finances," Xavi said. "There will be exits, and I've been clear about that.

"I think I'm 99 per cent sure about [the final squad list], and most players know, too. We have spoken to the players whose future we've decided."

Barcelona have confirmed that Oscar Mingueza will join fellow LaLiga outfit Celta Vigo, pending a medical and personal terms.

The 23-year-old defender rose into the first-team during Ronald Koeman's spell in charge of Barca, making his debut during a Champions League clash against Dynamo Kyiv.

Capped by Spain in 2021, Mingueza featured 66 times for Barca's first-team, registering five assists and scoring two goals – including against Real Madrid.

Last season, Mingueza featured in 19 LaLiga matches for Barca, and featured in the Champions League and Europa League, but he saw opportunities decrease in the second half of the season.

After the turn of the year, Mingueza started just twice for Xavi's side in the league as Barca's form improved under the guidance of their legendary midfielder.

Mingueza is set to join Celta on a four-year deal reportedly worth around €5million.

His role in the side would have been difficult to maintain following the club's defensive reshuffle in the current transfer window, which has seen Jules Kounde and Andreas Christensen move to the club. 

Joao Felix scored a late winner and Fred was sent off as Atletico Madrid beat a Manchester United side lacking the goalscoring prowess of Cristiano Ronaldo 1-0 in Oslo.

Ronaldo has been linked with a move to Atleti after making clear his desire to leave United in this transfer window.

The La Liga club have since insisted their business is finished and Ronaldo is due to play for United in Sunday's friendly with Rayo Vallecano.

Saturday's warm-up ahead of the start of the new season next weekend was largely light on incident until the closing stages.

Anthony Martial and Anthony Elanga spurned promising opportunities for the Red Devils in the first half.

Saul Niguez failed to hit the target with a header and Harry Maguire did the same at the other end in the second half.

The game looked destined to end goalless until substitute Joao Felix drilled a low shot beyond David de Gea before Fred was dismissed in injury time for a second bookable offence.

Xavi has given a strong indication Barcelona will make a sensational move to sign Lionel Messi next year.

Barca boss Xavi stated earlier this week that it would be "impossible" for the Catalan giants to bring club legend Messi back to Camp Nou during this transfer window, given he is under contract with Paris Saint-Germain.

The Argentina captain joined PSG on a two-year deal last year after sensationally ending his 21-year stay with the Blaugrana, who could not afford to keep him.

Barca president Joan Laporta on Thursday declared that he thinks the LaLiga giants "will make this aspiration a reality" when asked about the prospect of signing Messi.

Xavi wants his former team-mate to return to Barcelona, but says it will not happen while he is contracted to the Ligue 1 champions.

He said: "Now he has a contract, it's a utopia, we're going to focus on this year. Obviously, I would like Leo's time at Barca not to end the way he did and for him to have one last chance to say goodbye as the best in history.

"Of course I would like to, yes, I would like it to happen, but he has a contract."

Xavi has been given great backing in the transfer market ahead of the 2022-23 season, with Barca splashing out on Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha and Jules Kounde

Franck Kessie and Andreas Christensen have also arrived on free transfers and Xavi wants further additions.

He said: "Everything that is reinforced is good. I already said that there should be two players per position, more this year with the World Cup.

"We need footballers to compete and to be better. Yes, we want to reinforce ourselves more, the more the better."

Robert Lewandowski accused Bayern Munich of making up "bulls***" about him in an attempt to keep the fan base onside ahead of his move to Barcelona. 

Barca paid an initial €45million to sign Lewandowski from Bayern, where he had one year left on his contract and had made his desire to leave clear after a breakdown in talks over an extension. 

Lewandowski denied wanting out because of the Bundesliga champions' reported interest in Erling Haaland, who ended up swapping Borussia Dortmund for Manchester City. 

While he was unwilling to give the full details, he hit out at his former club for painting what he feels was an inaccurate portrait of the situation. 

"No, that was nothing to do with Erling," he told ESPN FC. "I am the guy who even if something's not good for me, truth is more important.

"I don't want to speak about what happened exactly. But if the question is if the decision to move was because of him, no, I didn't see the problem if he joined Bayern Munich. 

"But some people don't tell me the truth, [they] say something different. And for me, it was always important to be clear, to stay true, and maybe for a few people that was the problem. 

"In the end, I know that something doesn't work well with my person... and I feel that maybe it's a good time to move out of Bayern Munich and join Barcelona. 

"I had a very good relationship with my team-mates, with the staff, with the coach, and these are all things I'm going to miss because I spent a beautiful time there. 

"We were not only friends from the pitch but also something more. But in the end this chapter is over, and I open a new chapter in my life and a new chapter in my career. 

"So I feel that I'm in the right position, right place. So everything that's happened in the last few weeks before I left Bayern Munich, that was also of course a lot of politics. 

"The club tried to find an argument [for] why they can sell me to another club because before it was difficult to explain maybe to the fans. I had to accept that, even though it was a lot of bulls***, a lot of s*** said about me. 

"[It was] not true, but in the end I knew that the fans, even in this period, still support me a lot." 

Frenkie de Jong has a "strong possibility" of staying at Barcelona despite intense interest from Manchester United, according to Joan Laporta. 

United have been chasing the Barca midfielder since hiring his former Ajax coach Erik ten Hag as their new manager, but De Jong is understood not to be keen on missing out on Champions League football by making the switch. 

The Netherlands international is said to be owed €17million in deferred wages and being asked to sign a new contract with a salary reduction of around 40 per cent. 

Selling De Jong would significantly improve Barcelona's hopes of successfully registering new arrivals like Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha and Jules Kounde and making further moves in the market. 

However, Laporta suggested the most likely outcome is that De Jong will stay put – even if he cannot be tied down to a new contract on reduced terms. 

"The first thing to say is we want Frenkie to stay at Barcelona. We love the player and him as a human being. I want him to stay at Barcelona. He's a high-quality player and a good guy. I also know that he wants to stay," Laporta told CBS. 

"In football, you never know. I can't say categorically [he won't join United]. It all depends on the different parties. But in principle, I can say there is a strong possibility he stays, and I can say as president I will do my best for him to stay at Barcelona. 

"All we are doing with Frenkie is the same as the rest of the squad. The signings coming in have adjusted their salary to the new structure. But Frenkie has a contract and we respect that. We can't force him to take a pay cut. It's his decision. 

"We have explained the situation and are grateful to any players who can help us. It was the same with [Ousmane] Dembele, and I am very grateful to him. And after months of talks, he accepted a renegotiation of his salary and he can be proud of his decision." 

Asked what will happen if De Jong refuses a new deal and stays at Barca, Laporta replied: "Then he will continue. He has a contract. We will respect that decision. For us, he's a Barcelona player. We count on him." 

Barca sold off a percentage of their TV revenue for the next 25 years to help get them out of a financial hole, but their decision to use the funds raised to sign players instead of pay off deferred wages has come in for criticism. However, Laporta feels the approach is justified. 

"The club has a payroll that's 40 per cent higher than our competitors'. We have to reduce this, and it's not easy. But the players we are talking about – who have taken pay cuts – all love Barca.  

"To me, the players we have signed this summer are investments, not expenses. And our existing players understand this perfectly. The new signings adjust their salaries to the new structure that we have created and all we ask is the current squad, where possible, do the same. 

"People outside the club don't have all the information. We have to act this way or the club will probably disappear." 

Arsenal and Sevilla will observe a minute's applause in memory of Jose Antonio Reyes during Saturday's Emirates Cup clash. 

Reyes, who represented Sevilla and Arsenal during his playing career, died in a car accident in June 2019 at the age of 35. 

He lifted the Europa League three times with Sevilla and won two major honours with Arsenal. 

With two of his former clubs set to face off this weekend, Sevilla announced on Friday that a special tribute had been planned. 

Supporters inside Emirates Stadium were encouraged to applaud Reyes in the ninth minute, marking the number he wore on his shirt at Arsenal. 

There will also be a video tribute played on the big screens ahead of kick-off, while managers Mikel Arteta and Julen Lopetegui will exchange shirts before the match. 

Atletico Madrid will not be signing Cristiano Ronaldo and that decision is final, according to club president Enrique Cerezo.

Speaking at the presentation of Nahuel Molina on Friday, Cerezo said the newly recruited Argentina international was "the last piece" of the jigsaw.

That means Diego Simeone's squad is complete as far as Cerezo is concerned.

Molina has joined from Udinese, and Atletico have also brought in the likes of Samuel Lino and Axel Witsel to plump up their ranks after Luis Suarez, Sime Vrsaljko and Hector Herrera moved on.

"With this incorporation our sports directorate has managed to fit the last piece we were looking for," said Cerezo.

"I repeat, for the journalists, with this incorporation our sports directorate has managed to fit the last piece we were looking for."

The emphasis spoke of how Cerezo wants to move on from the links to Ronaldo, after a group of Atletico supporters declared their steadfast opposition to his potential arrival.

Cerezo had already said any deal to bring Ronaldo to Atletico from Manchester United was "practically impossible".

Five-time Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldo, who is Real Madrid's all-time record scorer, appears to be set on leaving United after the Red Devils failed to qualify for the 2022-23 Champions League.

It has been reported Sporting CP, where Ronaldo launched his career, could be a possible destination for the 37-year-old, who scored 24 goals across all competitions for United last season.

German champions Bayern Munich have ruled themselves out of contention.

Ronaldo and his agent Jorge Mendes were at United's training ground on Tuesday for talks over his future. 

Atletico will face United in a pre-season friendly on Saturday, with Ronaldo highly unlikely to play any part.

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