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Is A Financial Crisis Looming At Barcelona?

Barca-ChampionsThese are the best of days for a Barcelona fan. The best team in Europe with arguably the best three players on the planet in Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez and Neymar. But there are storm clouds on the horizon as Barca tries to renew the contracts of Messi.

At first glance the renewals should not be an issue. Both players want to stay at the Camp Nou, and with a turnover of £482million (€608m) last season. Barca is one of the richest clubs in the world.

Stamford Bridge ChelseaChelsea have submitted a planning application to rebuild Stamford Bridge into a 60,000-seat stadium that is expected to cost at least £600 million and take three years. The cost of the stadium will be financed by Blues owner Roman Abramovich.

Provided they get the necessary backing in the now-launched consultation period, Chelsea could begin life in their new home on the first day of the 2020-2021 season.

Stamford Bridge currently has a capacity of only 41,600, making it the smallest ground amongst England’s big clubs when Liverpool and Spurs finish their stadium works. Chelsea’s matchday revenue is dwarfed by that of Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal. And in an expanding global market, Stamford Bridge’s small capacity puts Chelsea at a financial disadvantage against Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and PSG.

Man City's Football Club MCFCManchester City have announced that a Chinese consortium is investing £265 million to buy a 13% stake in the club’s patent company, in a deal that values the business at $3 billion, which puts it on par with rivals Manchester United who are valued at $3.05 billion.

Incredibly, Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan originally paid around £265m to purchase full ownership of the club in 2009 and has created the City Football Group that includes teams in New York, Melbourne and Yokohama.

FIFA Ballon D’or Nominees Revealed

ballon-d-or-2015Fifa have announced the three names that make up the shortlist for the Ballon d’Or awards.
Barcelona duo Lionel Messi and Neymar will compete with current holder Cristiano Ronaldo for this year’s FIFA Ballon d’Or.

Real Madrid forward Ronaldo has won the award for the past two years, with Messi winning it for each of the four years previous to that. And with Ronaldo named in 2008 too, one of the pair has been named the best player in the world on the last seven occasions.

Rooney-RonaldoFormer Manchester United captain, and current Sky Sports pundit, Gary Neville believes that his former club are just two players short of winning the Premier League, with rumours of Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Old Trafford picking up momentum again.

If you put two more players into Manchester United’s team, say a Gareth Bale or a Cristiano Ronaldo into that team, that team could win the league. Because the structure that is being built at this moment in time is solid. But they need that match-winner, that Neymar, that Luis Suarez, the one that is going to light up a game and score one or two goals to take it away, then all of a sudden they would look like a Barcelona, because they’re dominating possession, making teams look foolish.

jamie-vardyLeicester City striker Jamie Vardy made history by scoring for the 11th Premier League match, as the Foxes drew 1-1 at home to Manchester United.

The England forward struck in the 24th minute as Leicester scored the kind of counter-attacking goal that Manchester United used to score. Leicester goalkeeper Kaspar Schmeichel collected a corner and launched a counter attack with a long throw out to Christian Fuchs.

The midfielder ran for 30 thirty yards unchallenged before splitting the United defence with a great through ball to Vardy who made no mistake with the finish.

usaworldcupqualifyingThe U.S.A. is pulling out all the stops for its crucial World Cup qualifier against Guatemala, as US Soccer has announced that the match will take place in Columbus, Ohio on March 29.

I don’t think that their is a bigger home-field advantage for the Americans than the home of the Columbus Crew. Since first opening in 1999, the MNT has gone 7-0-3 all-time and 6-0-2 in eight World Cup Qualifying matches at the venue. Most notably, the site has played host to four straight World Cup Qualifiers against Mexico, each finishing with the famous “Dos a Cero” score line.

jose-mourinho-smilingIt was a smiling Jose Mourinho that met with the press on Wednesday after seeing his side beat Maccabi Tel Aviv 4-0 and take a big step towards qualifying for the CHampions League knock-out stages.

The Portuguese manager began his post-match press conference by asking journalists for a calculator so he could figure out what Chelsea would have to do to qualify for the last 16. After pausing and thinking about it, Mourinho said:

“I know if we win, we finish first. If we lose we are going to the Europa League and with a draw second place.”

lvg2-mufcManchester United manager Louis van Gaal admits that he is was “worried” about his team’s goal-scoring problems after a goalless draw with PSV Eindhoven left their Champions League campaign in the balance.

Victory on Wednesday would have taken United into the last 16, but with Jesse Lingard blazing their best chance over the bar in the second half, they must now win away to Group B leaders Wolfsburg in their final match to be certain of a place in the knockout phase. United have scored only six goals in their last eight games, four of which have been 0-0 draws, but while Van Gaal admitted to feeling concerned, he drew encouragement from the handful of chances his side had created.

Champions League trophyManchester United, Arsenal and Porto are among 13 teams competing for the seven unclaimed places in the Champions League knockout phase on 8 and 9 December.

Qualified: Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Atlético Madrid, Benfica, Juventus, Manchester City, Barcelona, Bayern München, Zenit

Can qualify: Wolfsburg*, Manchester United*, PSV Eindhoven, Roma, Leverkusen, BATE Borisov, Olympiacos*, Arsenal*, Porto*, Chelsea*, Dynamo Kyiv*, Gent*, Valencia*

Group By Group Standings
Group A: Real Madrid (13 points, qualified) v Malmö (3), Paris Saint-Germain (10, qualified) v Shakhtar Donetsk (3)
Madrid have won the group, Paris will finish second.