News, commentary, tickets, pre and post match reaction alongside opinion about FC Barcelona.

Barcelona, Champions League, News, Serie A

Edu Could See Action This Weekend + Champions League News

Former Toronto FC midfielder Maurice Edu will likely be in the squad for Rangers on Sunday when the club faces rival Celtic in Glasgow.  If Edu arrives in the city on time, manager Walter Smith sees no reason why the US international would not factor into the Old Firm match.  Rangers spent £2.6m on Edu who agreed to a five-year deal.  He recently competed for the United States in a World Cup qualifier against Guatemala.  The 22-year-old also competed in the Olympic tournament in China.

In UEFA Champions League news:

Juventus, Barcelona, and Greek-power Panathinaikos all qualified for the group stage of the tournament. 

Barcelona, La Liga

Barcelona Warm Up For U.S. in Style

Before heading to the U.S to play CD Guadalajara in Chicago and the Red Bulls in New York Barcelona stopped in Scotland for two pre-season friendlies.

First Barca opened up by thrashing Hibs 6-0 at Murrayfield, giving new Barcelona coach Josep Guardiola his first victory.An Eidur Gudjohnsen double and goals from Lionel Messi and Pedro in the first half were followed by further breakthroughs from Bojan and Yaya Toure after the break as Hibs were outclassed. In this game Daniel Alves and Gerard Pique made their debuts for Barcelona from the start, while fellow summer signings Martin Caceres, Alexander Hleb and Seydou Keita started on the bench.

Barcelona, La Liga, Real Madrid

Looking Ahead to La Liga

This upcoming season in Spain promises to be an exciting one with FC Barcelona aiming to dethrone the two-time defending champion’s Real Madrid. Last season Madrid ended up finishing 18 points ahead of third-place Barcelona and the two games this season will go a long way to seeing if the new Barcelona can close the gap.

After the first match at the Camp Nou on Dec. 14 (Buy FC Barcelona – Real Madrid Tickets December 14), the two clubs will meet again at the Bernabeu on May 3 (Buy Real Madrid – FC Barcelona Tickets May 3rd). After the May 3rd game each team will have four more league games to play a pivotal role in this year’s Championship race.

Barcelona, Europe, La Liga

Ronaldinho Decides on A.C. Milan

Deciding to go with countrymen Kaka and Alexandre Pato versus Elano and Jo, Ronaldinho has signed with A.C. Milan upon completion of a physical.  His contract runs through 2011.  Barcelona noted that the San Siro outfit will pay $33.4 million for the Brazilian playmaker.  Obviously, A.C. Milan felt that the transfer fee was needed to pry the recent two-time FIFA World Player of the Year away from the Catalan club.

Not to be outdone, The Special One completed his first signing today at Inter Milan.  Amantino Mancini agreed to a four-year deal with Inter after the Serie A club agreed to a transfer fee with AS Roma that was well over $15 million.

Arsenal, Barcelona, Europe, La Liga, Liverpool, Premier League, Real Madrid

European Transfer News

Beleaguered ex-Manchester City striker Georgios Samaras has made a permanent move to SPL side Celtic.  The 23-year-old Greek international joined City for £6million in January 2006 yet failed to find his niche with the Premiership club.

Also from the Manchester City front, boss Mark Hughes will move his attention toward acquiring several more players to bolster the squad now that the tabled £25.5million offer for Barcelona playmaker Ronaldinho looks unlikely to be accepted.

In Serie A news, Juventus has signed Danish midfielder Christian Poulsen from Sevilla to a four-year contract.  The transfer cost the Italian club £7.8million.

Barcelona, Chelsea, Europe, La Liga, Man Utd., Premier League, Real Madrid

European Transfer Questions

On the eve of the transfer period, European clubs begin to maneuver for their primary and secondary targets.  Here are several questions to consider:

1. Will Cristiano Ronaldo stay or will he go?  All signs point to the Manchester United star moving to Real Madrid.  Will the Spanish outfit be able to come up with enough cash to secure the services of the world’s greatest player?

2. Will A.C. Milan, Manchester City, or another club land Barcelona’s Ronaldinho? Argentine superstar and fellow teammate Lionel Messi wants the Brazilian to remain with the Catalan outfit, but it looks like Ronaldinho is moving on. 

Barcelona, Major League Soccer

Ronaldinho not moving to the LA Galaxy

The English tabloids today had a story today that Ronaldinho was in line for a shock $40 million move to join David Beckham at LA Galaxy. It is not going to happen. The MLS salary structure will not allow the Galaxy to add a third superstar (in addition to Donovan and Beckham).

Under the MLS salary cap, the Galaxy cannot pay the former World Cup winner a $40 million a year package similar to Beckhams. While it is a nice idea, LA is not putting together their own American Galacticos team.

Arsenal, Barcelona, Europe, Man Utd.

Looking ahead to preseason

The release of the Premier League schedule for 2008-2009 reminded us that the new season is just around the corner. Many teams in Europe will be reporting back for pre-season training in a couple of weeks, especially those with Champions League Qualifiers to navigate.

Europe’s giants are talking different approaches to this years pre-season games, with several of the them being involved in high-profile pre-season tournaments.

The best pre-season tournament is the Emirates Cup at Arsenal. The tournament takes place the first week of August and the four teams are Arsenal, Hamburger SV, Juventus, and Real Madrid. Will the Emirates Cup mark the debut of Cristiano Ronaldo with Real Madrid?

Barcelona, Europe, La Liga, Real Madrid

European Review for May 17th

Here is a quick look at some of the results from four of the top leagues in Europe on Saturday.

La Liga: Real Murcia 3-5 Barcelona

The Catalan club ended the season on a high note after their recent embarrassment at the hands of Real Madrid. Goals from Samuel Eto’o (23’), Thierry Henry (26’), and a hat-trick from Giovani dos Santos (33’, 52’, and 66’) proved too much for Murcia. Barcelona will be in unfamiliar territory soon enough when they attempt to qualify for the group stage of the UEFA Champions League.

Serie A: U.C. Sampdoria 3-3 Juventus

Arsenal, Barcelona, Chelsea, Europe, Liverpool, Man Utd., Real Madrid

European Power Rankings

Eurosport has just released its inaugural European Power Ranking and Manchester United are on top. Intern Milan had led these rankings for much of the season but have dropped to fourth place after their recent stumbles is Serie A.

Europsport uses a mathematical formula based on based on points per game in domestic league and European games. What I cannot understand is how Arsenal are ranked higher than Chelsea. Chelsea finished higher than then in the Premiership and went two rounds further in the Champions League. Somehow the last-minute goal they conceded against Bolton cost them a place. And I thought the BCS formula was confusing!