Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde expressed his frustrations over repeated questions concerning to Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar.
The Brazilian was linked to a return to the Catalan club all summer but the move failed to materialise. However, Neymar’s name has continued to pop up in press conferences due to his pending court case with the club over a contractual situation.
Valverde admitted he was frustrated with all the questioning and maintained that he wants to keep the Brazilian’s name out of his pressers.
“This is the never-ending story. We spent the whole of August waiting until the last day of the month for the end of the transfer market. But it goes on and on. But I have nothing to say about Neymar,” he said.
“This is an internal issue between the club and the player because of a contractual situation. This is beyond my reach. I think that so far this season there hasn’t been a single press conference during which we haven’t talked about Neymar. Let’s see if we can achieve that. Not to talk about him. I think we will.”
Hear more from the Barca boss in the clip above
Brazil great and former Barcelona striker Rivaldo feels that the Spanish giants must be patient with Lionel Messi’s injuries.
The Argentine star missed a month’s worth action due to a calf injury at the beginning of the season and was taken off in Barcelona’s tie against Villarreal due to a fresh injury.
Messi is expected to be out for about 10 days due to a thigh injury. But Rivaldo believes he must not be rushed back.
“As the Argentinian returns from injury, the club need to be careful about not rushing him back,” Rivaldo wrote in his column for Betfair.
“He’s 32 years old and has been playing at the highest level for a while without any rest, so it’s normal to see him starting to feel some pain at times.
“The club needs to let him fully recover so that he doesn’t suffer a recurrence of his injuries right after returning to the team. It doesn’t matter if he misses two, three weeks or a month. When I was in my early-thirties, I thought I would never get injured, or feel pain, but it wasn’t the truth and those kinds of problems started to come.
“Being 32 is not the same as being 25, so you need to manage your fitness better.
“I don’t see this as a sign of decline in Messi, though, as he will come back and have a few more years at the highest level.”
Lionel Messi’s La Liga start lasted only until half-time but Barcelona were still able to see off Villarreal with a 2-1 victory at Camp Nou on Tuesday night.
The Argentine set up the opener for Antoine Griezmann with a corner in the sixth minute before Arthur doubled the advantage with a fine strike 10 minutes later.
Santi Cazorla produced a stunning effort of his own just before the break but the Catalans were able to hold on for the three points in the second half.
ARTHUR PENS COMPELLING ARGUMENT
Given the high-profile arrival of midfield prodigy Frenkie de Jong, that he would automatically be handed a starting berth makes perfect sense. Why that cost Arthur his place in the line up though remains a mystery.
The Brazilian was exceptional in his first season at Camp Nou last term, even drawing comparisons to Xavi, but found himself riding the bench once the current campaign kicked off.
Having afforded his first league start this season at home to Villarreal, Arthur proceeded to make Ernesto Valverde look a bit silly for limiting his playing time. The playmaker was tidy with his passing and took up the right positions in possession.
He capped a convincing display with a spectacular strike for Barca’s second, doubling his tally for the season. Now, if only Valverde would start with both Arthur and De Jong more often instead of persisting with an utterly vanilla option in Sergi Roberto.
SUAREZ A SHADOW OF HIS FORMER SELF
One of the running themes of Barcelona’s season so far has been the form of an overweight Luis Suarez. Even the most dedicated Barca fan can’t help but wince at the sight of the Uruguayan’s name in the starting line-up.
The former Liverpool star has been in decline over the past couple of seasons but looks totally off the pace this term. Not only does he make for a tame threat in the final third but he’s starting to be a liability as he squanders the limited chances his side are creating at the moment and fails to press from the front with any sort of intensity that would put the opposition under pressure.
Ousmane Dembele worked an opening quite brilliantly early in the second half but Suarez’s scuffed effort from the Frenchman’s square ball rolled harmlessly into the keeper’s hands. De Jong played him through but a heavy touch from the striker meant another chance went begging.
At some point Valverde has to be brave enough to drop the sluggish forward and perhaps deploy Griezmann up front.
Suárez 🆚 Villarreal— Ⓐ (@Barzaboy) September 24, 2019
Accurate passes 22 (78%)
Shots on target 1
Successful dribbles 1
Possession lost 14 💥
Key passes 1
Duels (won) 8 (3) pic.twitter.com/A9nbW6AYTR
Injuries saw Cazorla’s Arsenal career fizzle out but he was an elite midfielder in his prime and at Villarreal he’s starting to get back to his best.
The Spaniard scored his second goal in as many games to mark a special occasion as he reached 300 appearances for the Yellow Submarine.
His return to top level football is an inspiring tale having spent 636 days on the sidelines at Arsenal and being told walking normally again would be a success.
With goals against Real Madrid and Barcelona this season, following on from his impressive campaign last term, it’s no wonder he’s been recalled to the national team.
He was typically elegant in possession at Camp Nou and produced a stunning strike to halve the deficit. What a player.
34-year-old Santi Cazorla still has plenty of magic in his boots with a brilliant strike vs. Barcelona!— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) September 24, 2019
We'll never forget his magical Villarreal unveiling 🔮