Sergio Busquets hopes Real Madrid will struggle this season after selling Cristiano Ronaldo

David Cooper 19/08/2018
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Sergio Busquets hopes Real will suffer

Barcelona star Sergio Busquets hopes their arch rivals Real Madrid will miss Cristiano Ronaldo after selling their forward to Juventus.

The Portuguese completed his move to the Serie A champions last month as Los Blancos look to begin life without their most prolific players.

Real Madrid open their La Liga campaign against Getafe later on Sunday night and Busquets hopes their rivals will struggle although he believes coach Julen Lopetegui will make them a competitive side.

“I hope they miss him and notice the lack of goals,” he told El Pais. “But I know his coach and he will make Madrid more of a team.”

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Barcelona prepared to wait until next season to sign Paul Pogba

David Cooper 19/08/2018
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Set to stay: Paul Pogba

Barcelona are prepared to wait until next summer to sign Paul Pogba from Manchester United.

The Frenchman has been strongly linked with a move to the Nou Camp. However, the Red Devils insist there’s no chance of him leaving especially as they will not be able to bring in a replacement given that the transfer window for English clubs closed on August 9.

However, according to reports, the Spanish champions will play the waiting game and try to prise the 25-year-old with an offer of £50m plus two players.

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Valverde lavishes praise on Messi as Barcelona ease to victory against Alaves

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Magic: Leo Messi.

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde praised his players’ patience as they got their season off to a winning start.

Lionel Messi scored twice as champions Barcelona beat Alaves 3-0 at the Nou Camp in their opening match of the new La Liga season.

Messi, who saw his Argentina side fail to make an impact at the World Cup in Russia, returned to club action in a determined mood and rattled the crossbar with a first-half free-kick.

The Barcelona captain, taking the armband following the departure of Andres Iniesta, eventually broke the deadlock when his clever low free-kick flew under the wall on 64 minutes.

Substitute Philippe Coutinho added a well-taken late third before another fine bit of individual skill from Messi wrapped things up in stoppage time.

Quoted on Barcelona’s official website, Valverde applauded his squad for their improvements throughout the match.

“Although we were close to scoring, we could sense how difficult it was getting. They defended very well out there, they were very compact. We were lacking a bit of rhythm early on but then we started getting more chances and finally opened the scoring,” he said.

“When Alaves started opening up more, we were able to kill off the game.

“All the same, the second goal was hard to get too. But as the minutes went by, we got better and better.”

Singling out Messi, the boss added: “We are so fortunate to be living in the time when Leo Messi is playing.

“It’s a pleasure to have him playing for us, he never fails to surprise.”

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