Julen Lopetegui delays Spain squad announcement for Barcelona's tribute to Andres Iniesta

David Cooper 16/05/2018
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Andres Iniesta is a colossal figure for Barcelona and the Spanish national team but the latest show of respect towards the midfielder is still staggering.

With the 34-year-old set to leave Catalans this summer after another successful season in which he helped secure the La Liga and Copa del Rey titles, the club have prepared a tribute to their captain at the Camp Nou on Friday.

As such, Spain head coach Julen Lopetegui has delayed his squad announcement for the World Cup 2018 so as to not steal the spotlight away from the iconic midfielder, according to Spanish daily AS.

The squad for the tournament in Russia will instead be revealed 72 hours later than initially intended.

Iniesta is nailed on to make the 23-man squad in what will likely be his final major tournament with the national side.

The change of plans means Pelayo, an insurance company sponsoring the team, has had to delay the launch of their campaign by 48 hours but are on board affording the World Cup winner all the attention this week.

A spokesperson for the company said: “For Iniesta, whatever it takes.”

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Live Barcelona Blog: Ernesto Valverde praised by club president

Alex Broun 16/05/2018
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Alex Broun and the rest of the Sport360 team are in place to provide you with the latest news, comment and analysis on all things Barcelona.

Our daily blog will ensure you have all the latest updates throughout the week but we want you to get involved, too.

Tell us your thoughts on what’s happening by tweeting @Sport360.

11.37am – Messi horrified by reports of Neymar to Real Madrid

Understandably Lionel Messi has reacted with alarm to the steadily growing rumours that his former team mate is set to join Los Blancos.

Messi says he would hate the sight of Neymar playing for the Catalan club’s bitter rivals. Messi and Neymar played together for four years, forming one of the world’s deadliest strike trios alongside Luis Suarez, before the Brazilian left for Paris Saint-Germain last summer.

But the Brazilian super-star is reportedly unsettled in France, leaving the door open for Real to swoop

Neymar and Messi forged a successful partnership on and off the pitch.

Neymar and Messi forged a successful partnership on and off the pitch.

5.20pm – Sevilla’s Clement Lenglet agrees Barcelona deal – report

Barcelona’s chase of Sevilla defender Clement Lenglet has taken another turn today with Mundo Deportivo reporting he’s agreed a five-year deal.

The defender was originally viewed as a potential replacement for Samuel Umtiti, but Barcelona now want to bring him in whether the Barca centre-back stay or goes.

Lenglet was initially concerned he would not see enough game time but has now decided he can compete with Umtiti and Gerard Pique for a starting spot.

The player’s representatives have met with Barcelona who like his price (apparently in the region of €35 million) and his youth and expect to complete a deal after the season ends.

Lionel Messi holds off Clement Lenglet of Sevilla, who reportedly has now joined Barcelona

Lionel Messi holds off Clement Lenglet of Sevilla, who reportedly has now joined Barcelona.

8.30pm – Barcelona president happy with Valverde

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has had his say on Blaugrana’s La Liga title-winning campaign and Copa del Rey success.

The Catalan giants stormed to the league in spectacular fashion but hopes of going an entire campaign unbeaten were distinguished after losing a 5-4 thriller to Levante last weekend.

Whilst the Champions League quarter-final exit against Roma somewhat overshadowed Barca’s winning streaks domestically, Bartomeu has been full of nothing but praise for his manager and playing squad.

Read more here.

Happy with campaign: Josep Maria Bartomeu.

Happy with campaign: Josep Maria Bartomeu.

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Live Barcelona Blog: Jordi Alba has emerged as European's top full-back

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Jay Asser and the rest of the Sport360 team are in place to provide you with the latest news, comment and analysis on all things Barcelona.

Our daily blog will ensure you have all the latest updates throughout the week but we want you to get involved, too.

Tell us your thoughts on what’s happening by tweeting @Sport360.

3:17pm – Alba tops full-back rankings in European football

Jordi Alba has been instrumental to Barcelona’s success this season and his impact can’t be overstated.

Our man Aditya Devavrat listed the top full-backs in Europe, with Alba leading the way ahead of Marcelo, Joshua Kimmich and others.

Check out the list to see who made the cut.

jordi-alba

12:03pm – Messi tops list of best European players for 2017/18

This isn’t exactly a revelation, but Barcelona star Lionel Messi was the top player in all of Europe for the 2017/18 season, according to a list compiled by the CIES Football Observatory.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner ranks ahead of stalwarts like David Silva, Sergio Aguero and Mohamed Salah in a list that is heavy weight Manchester City players.

Check out the entire list here.

Messi celebrates 1

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