Barcelona's Arda Turan ready for Turkey national team return

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Arda Turan

Turkey and Barcelona midfielder Arda Turan on Friday said he was ready to return to national team duty, two months after announcing his retirement from international football following a bust-up with former coach Fatih Terim.

Turan, Turkey’s captain and standout player of the last decade, had in June been thrown out of a training camp by Terim following a fracas with a reporter on a plane.

But the situation changed after Terim this month stepped down, also in the wake of fisticuffs — in this case at a Turkish kebab restaurant.

He was replaced by veteran Romanian coach Mircea Lucescu who immediately opened talks with Turan in the hope of acquiring his services for Turkey’s remaining four World Cup qualifiers.

“From now on, I want it to be known that I would feel honoured to have the national jersey on my back when the coach thinks it appropriate,” Turan wrote on his Instagram account by a picture of the Turkish number 10 shirt.

“I want to be by the side of my teammates in these difficult four games that remain,” added the 30-year-old.

He praised the support of Turkish Football Federation (TFF) president Yildirim Demiroren and Lucescu which led him to reconsider his decision.

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A post shared by Arda Turan (@ardaturan) on

Turan joined Barcelona in 2015 after four successful seasons with Atletico Madrid. Although he has struggled to earn a regular first team berth, his performances are followed with intense interest in Turkey.

After his move to Barca, the authorities in the gritty Istanbul district of Bayrampasa announced that they had named the street where he grew up “Arda Turan Street” in his honour.

Turan has also made no secret of his support for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, attending rallies to back “my commander-in-chief” in the wake of the failed coup bid last year.

Turkey face a nail-biting struggle to qualify for Russia 2018, currently in third place in their qualifying group, two points behind Croatia and Iceland.

They have four more matches, starting with an away clash against Ukraine, who they lead on goal difference, on September 2.

Meanwhile, according to reports, Turan wants to leave Barcelona and join his former club Atletico Madrid. The Turkish international though has also attracted interest from Galatasaray.

Provided by AFP Sport

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Chapecoense hero Alan Ruschel returns to the pitch to face Barcelona on emotional night at Camp Nou

The two teams embrace before kick-off at Camp Nou.

Alan Ruschel played his first match since the plane crash which killed 19 of his team-mates as Chapecoense were beaten 5-0 by Barcelona in a friendly at the Nou Camp.

The Brazilian club were invited to play the match in the wake of the tragedy last November, when the plane carrying their team to the Copa Sudamericana final crashed in Colombia.

Ruschel played in the first 35 minutes of the match before leaving the pitch to a standing ovation from supporters and both sets of players.

Two other survivors of the crash which killed a total of 71 people, Jakson Follmann and Neto, also took to the pitch before kick-off as guests of the Catalan club.

Barcelona named a strong line-up for the occasion in what was their first match since the departure of Neymar, with Gerard Deulofeu taking his place up front.

The former Everton man took just six minutes to make an impression as he finished off a pass from Ivan Rakitic.

Sergio Busquets curled in a long-range effort five minutes later to increase Barcelona’s lead and Deulofeu set up Lionel Messi to tap in the third on the half-hour.

Luis Suarez and Denis Suarez added goals in the second half and Paco Alcacer had a late penalty saved on a night in which the result was rendered insignificant.

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Neymar not bigger than Barcelona, says club president after PSG move

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Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu insisted no player is bigger than the Catalan giants on Monday in the wake of Neymar’s world record €222 million move to Paris Saint-Germain.

Bartomeu and his board are under pressure to wisely reinvest the huge sum, which more than doubled the previous record for a transfer fee, before the transfer window closes on August 31.

“No player is above Barca,” Bartomeu told the world congress of Barca supporters groups.

“You know that Neymar formed part of the success of our club, but Neymar is now history. He wanted to go. It was his decision although we did everything in our hands for him to stay.”

Barca were powerless to stop Neymar leaving after PSG met the buyout clause in the Brazilian’s contract, which he had signed just last year.

However, Bartomeu defended himself from criticism that the club should have insisted on inserting a much higher buyout clause in that deal to fend off PSG’s millions.

Neymar’s clause rose from €200 to €222 million from July 1 and would have jumped to €250 million had he entered the third year of the five-year deal.

“We foresaw that he could leave in the future, that is why we raised his buyout clause in the new contact,” added Bartomeu.

“Receiving this money allows us to face the future with guarantees to strengthen the team.

“When the doubts over his future began we were calm because his decision would be a good one

“If he stayed we would maintain a great player and if he went, obviously paying his clause, we had the guarantee of being able to bring new players.”

Barca have been linked with a series of potential replacements for Neymar with Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho heading their wish list.

Yet, Bartomeu promised to be act with “prudence” despite having to deal in a transfer market characterised by hyperinflation due to booming television rights deals.

“The €222 million that we received for Neymar Jr will be administered with prudence, rigour and serenity,” he said.

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