Sports Xtra

Barcelona FC - All the latest News, Player Transfer, Messi, Suarez News from Spain

Messi misses penalty as Barcelona lose cup derby

Lionel Messi missed a penalty as Barcelona suffered a first defeat since August in their Copa del Rey quarter-final first leg against Espanyol.

Messi was denied by goalkeeper Diego Lopez in the 62nd minute after a foul on Sergi Roberto.

Espanyol's Oscar Melendo then slotted home with two minutes left after racing onto Marc Navarro's cross.

The second leg takes place at the Nou Camp on Thursday, 25 January.

In the other quarter-final ties, Diego Costa scored his third goal in four games during Atletico Madrid's 2-1 defeat at home by Sevilla.

Costa put Atletico ahead in the 73rd minute only for goalkeeper Miguel Angel Moya to inexplicably push a speculative cross that deflected off defender Lucas Hernandez into his own net.

New Sevilla coach Vincenzo Montella then sealed his third win since arriving in Spain as Joaquin Correa raced on to Wissam Ben Yedder's pass before finishing with two minutes remaining.

Goncalo Guedes and Rodrigo scored in the second half as Valencia came from behind to record a 2-1 win over La Liga strugglers Alaves.

Written by Gideon Sarpong

Coutinho unveiled as Barcelona player

Philippe Coutinho's £142m move to Barcelona was officially confirmed on Monday as the playmaker was unveiled to fans at the Nou Camp.

The 25-year-old Brazilian signed a contract alongside Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu, before performing keepy-uppies in front of supporters.

A deal for Coutinho to join Barcelona from Liverpool was agreed on Saturday.

"I want to thank the president and everyone who has made it possible," said Coutinho.

"I am very happy, it's a dream come true and I hope to be up to the job on the field."

Bartomeu added: "All the Barca fans are excited to have Coutinho here.

"It hasn't been easy but his effort in coming, along with his strength and patience, have been key."

Coutinho passed his medical, but it did show he has a right thigh injury - which kept him out of Liverpool's 2-1 win at Burnley on New Year's Day.

Barcelona said the midfielder was likely to be out for around three weeks, meaning the earliest he could realistically make his debut is the Catalan derby against Espanyol on 4 February.

Written by Gideon Sarpong

Barcelona agree £142m deal for Coutinho

Liverpool have agreed a £142m deal with Barcelona for midfielder Philippe Coutinho in what will be one of the most expensive transfers of all time.

The Reds are expected to receive £105m up front - a British record - for the 25-year-old Brazil international, with the rest in realistic add-ons.

The final deal will be eclipsed only by the £200m Paris St-Germain paid Barcelona for Neymar last summer, and the £165.7m Kylian Mbappe will cost PSG at the end of his initial loan spell from Monaco.

Coutinho joined Liverpool from Inter Milan for £8.5m in January 2013.

He stayed behind on Merseyside while final negotiations were concluded as his Liverpool team-mates flew to Dubai for a mid-season break.

The formalities of the deal are now expected to be concluded in Spain within the next 24 hours as Coutinho finally secures the switch he has craved since the Spanish giants made their first move for him in the summer.

Liverpool rejected three Barca bids and a transfer request from the player during the summer transfer window.

The last of Barcelona's three bids was £118m - which included add-ons totalling in excess of £30m based on Coutinho winning the Ballon d'Or and other built-in clauses.

Coutinho only signed a new five-year deal, which did not include a release clause, with the Anfield club in January, having joined the Reds from Inter Milan in January 2013.

He has a minor thigh injury and missed the club's past two games, including Friday's FA Cup third-round win against Everton.

Coutinho will not be eligible to play for Barcelona in the Champions League in their last-16 tie against Juventus, having already played a key role in Liverpool's qualification for the knockout phase,

Written by Gideon Sarpong

Nike cause huge uproar with Coutinho's name on Barca shirt

Barcelona kit manufacturers Nike advertised the club's shirts with Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho's name on the back.

Coutinho was the subject of failed bids by Barcelona in the summer and has been linked with joining them in January.

A listing, which has since been deleted, on the Nike website read: "Philippe Coutinho is ready to light up Camp Nou."

The Brazilian, 25, is sponsored by Nike and wears their boots.

Coutinho, who signed a five-year deal at the start of 2017, started the 2-1 win over Leicester City on Saturday and has six goals in his past seven games for Liverpool.

The Anfield club rejected bids of £72m, £90m and one in the region of £114m prior to the summer transfer deadline in Spain, which closed a day later than in England.

"I do not know how the future is going to be," said Coutinho in early December.

"What will happen in January, we will know it in January. I do not know if there will be an offer."

The BBC has contacted Nike and Barcelona for comment.


Written by Gideon Sarpong

Barca move 14 points clear after thrashing Real Madrid away from home

Barcelona produced a superb away performance to secure a victory over Real Madrid that all but eliminates their arch rivals from the Spanish title race.

A second-half Luis Suarez strike and Lionel Messi's penalty, after Dani Carvajal was sent off for handball, helped move Barca nine points clear of Atletico Madrid at the top of La Liga, and increased their advantage over defending champions Real to 14 points.

Karim Benzema hit the post and Cristiano Ronaldo missed two good chances in the first half, but the home side were blown away after the restart in the first El Clasico meeting of the Spanish league season.

Los Blancos started with Gareth Bale on the bench, and although he forced a save form Marc-Andre Ter Stegen having been brought on following Carvajal's dismissal, the Wales forward was unable to spark a comeback.

Instead, late substitute Aleix Vidal added further insult in injury time with a third for Barca, as his shot from inside the box squeezed over the line after Messi's cut-back.

It is the first time Barca have won three consecutive away league matches at the Bernabeu, and the result leaves Zinedine Zidane's side fourth in the table.

More to follow.

Written by Gideon Sarpong