Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde was full of praise for midfielder Philippe Coutinho following his performance in the Champions League last 16 second leg clash with French Ligue 1 club Lyon on Wednesday night.
Coutinho has been heavily criticised as a result of his poor outings for Barcelona this season and that has led to transfer reports over a possible return to the Premier League with clubs like Chelsea and Manchester United.
The 26-year-old had one of his best games in a Barcelona shirt as he helped the Catalans seal a spot in the quarterfinals of the Champions League.
In his post-match thoughts, Ernesto Valverde praised the Brazilian international for his performance against Lyon.
Valverde and Barcelona thrashed Lyon 5-1 in their second leg clash played at the Nou Camp to seal a 5-1 aggregate victory.
The first leg ended in a goalless draw in France.
Barcelona took a controversial lead in the 18th minute after a debatable penalty was awarded to home side after Lyon defender Jason Denayer brought down Luis Suarez in the box.
Lionel Messi stepped up to convert that penalty before Coutinho added a second goal just before the end of the first half.
It was his 9th goal of the season for Barcelona.
Lyon pulled one back through Lucas Trousart in the second half before Messi, Gerard Pique and Ousmane Dembele scored in the last fifteen minutes to give Barcelona a dominant win.
Barcelona, Real Madrid Want To Sign 24-Year-Old Man Utd Target – Agent
Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid are interested in a move for Inter Milan defender Milan Skriniar according to his agent.
Mital Halis told Spanish newspaper AS that the two clubs want to sign his client.
He’s the co-partner at the Star and Friends Agency that looks after the interest of Slovakian international centre back Milan Skriniar.
The 24-year-old has been attracting the interests of the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona following his superb form for Inter Milan for the better part of the last two years.
Premier League giants Manchester United have also been credited with an interest in him, especially during the winter transfer window.
Milan Skriniar joined Inter Milan from Sampdoria in the summer of 2017 in a deal worth €28m and he has seen his stock soar in recent months.
Premier League Manchester City were said to have made a €55m bid for him in January 2018 only for Inter Milan to rebuff them.
The Citizens turned their attention to Aymeric Laporte whom they signed for a club-record £57m at the start of last year.
Skriniar has scored four goals in 76 appearances for Inter Milan in all competitions since his transfer to the club from fellow Italian club Sampdoria.
Arsenal Face Barcelona Threat For La Liga Defender
North London giants Arsenal will have to fend off the threat from Spanish La Liga giants Barcelona in their quest to sign one of the best defenders in the Spanish top flight this season.
Getafe defender Djene Dakonam has been in superb form for his Madrid-based club this season.
His performances for Getafe has not gone unnoticed with the best teams in Europe.
Dakonam and Getafe are having a fantastic season with the club punching above their weight in the Spanish La Liga this term.
Getafe are in fourth position on the Spanish La Liga table and they are on course to play Champions League next season.
Major European clubs Arsenal and Barcelona are said to be keen on signing Djene Dakonam.
Arsenal manager Unai Emery was at the Mestalla to run the rule over the Togolese centre back as he helped Getafe to a battling goalless draw against hosts Valencia.
Unai Emery and Arsenal have made the signing of a new centre back top priority ahead of this summer’s transfer window.
The Arsenal defence has been largely unconvincing in the Premier League this term with just six clean sheets in 30 games and Unai Emery wants to boost that area of the team ahead of next season.
Barcelona Ready To Sell $136m-rated Coutinho
Premier League giants Manchester United are willing to listen to offers for unsettled midfielder Philippe Coutinho according to reports emanating from the British media.
A specific report from popular media outlet Goal claimed that the Catalan giants will listen to offers for the Brazilian international star amidst transfer reports linking him with a move to Manchester United.
It was revealed that the Spanish champions are willing to sanction a sale for him for at least 80 million euros (90.8 million dollars) which represents a significant loss from the 120 million euros (136 million dollars) paid for his transfer at the start of last year.
Philippe Coutinho has endured a frustrating time at the Nou Camp following his move from Premier League giants Liverpool.
The 26-year-old became the third most expensive footballer in the world following his Barcelona transfer but the former Inter Milan playmaker has not lived up to expectations at the club.
He has been heavily linked with a return to the Premier League.
English top flight sides like Chelsea and Manchester United are said to be keen on a move for him.
Coutinho has started just 16 games for Barcelona this season in addition to 10 substitute appearances.
He has not played 90 minutes for Barcelona since January.
Barcelona ready to hurt Liverpool with major decision
There are suggestions that Liverpool and their fans will be hurt seeing a former player and Brazilian international Philippe Coutinho return to the Premier League to join their old-term rivals ahead of the coming season.
And this is what could happen with reports that the Spanish La Liga outfit Barcelona are ready to hand him over to Man United for a fee of about £80 million as they are now winning to part ways with him.
The Brazilian international parted ways with the Merseyside outfit in the last two winter transfer window and has since become tired because of his lack of playing time and inability to blend in the team.
There are suggestions that he is no longer needed by manager Ernesto Valverde and could be realized because he is now being favored behind French star Ousmane Dembele in the team.
However, goal.com claims that the Brazilian international is now ready to quit the Spanish La Liga and might have a shock move to the Premier League with Man United keen on his signature.
It is understood that Barcelona will grant the player his wish to move away but will not take any fee less than £80 million for his signature, not minding where he heads to.
Champions League: Barcelona Overwhelming Favourites vs Manchester United
Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has tipped Barcelona to navigate past Manchester United in their Champions League quarterfinal tie.
Five-time European champions Barcelona were drawn against three-time European champions Manchester United following the last eight draw held on Friday.
Reacting to the draw in an interview monitored by popular media platform Goal, the Spurs boss revealed that Manchester United will pose a threat to the semifinal bid of the Spaniards before adding that Barcelona are a level above Manchester United at the moment.
Manchester United will host Barcelona at Old Trafford in the first leg on April 10 before the Catalan giants entertain their English opponents for the second leg on the 16th of April.
Mauricio Pochettino has been linked with the managerial job at Manchester United in the last few months but current manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is expected to keep the position permanently.
Former club striker Solskjaer was appointed the interim Manchester United manager in December shortly after Jose Mourinho was sacked unceremoniously.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has impressed a great deal since taking the job.
He has suffered just three defeats from the 19 games managed by him.
Mauricio Pochettino will also have his hands full in Champions League quarterfinals after Spurs were drawn against Manchester City in what could be termed as a Premier League Derby.
Why we need not worry about Salah, Van Dijk
Egyptian international forward and Liverpool star Mohamed Salah has not been in a good goalscoring form so far this season and that has raised a lot of concerns from his fans but there is nothing to worry about, according to defender Virgil Van Dijk.
Last season was a blast for the former AS Roma player as he emerged as the Premier League’s highest goalscorer and scored an average of a goal per game but that is yet to repeat itself.
What is most disturbing is that Mohamed Salah has not scored a goal in his last 7 games, the longest barren run for the star player in a very long time.
However, Virgil Van Dijk has stated that there is nothing to worry about expressing confidence that Mohamed Salah will soon start scoring again. He is of the opinion that the international break is a big advantage for the star player to rest, noting that he will return fresh to begin scoring goals.
Senegal international Sadio Mane has been the man providing the cover for the Egyptian international as he has been hitting the back of the net in almost all games. The Fulham game makes it his 11th goal in 11 games.
Champions League: Barcelona Suffer Double Injury Blow Ahead Of Man Utd Tie
Spanish La Liga champions Barcelona have been dealt a double injury blow ahead of their Champions League tie with Premier League giants Manchester United next month.
Manchester United will host Messi and co on the 10th of April at Old Trafford before the return leg in Spain on April 16.
Ahead of the game, Barcelona have received a double injury blow to two of their key players namely Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele.
Barcelona striker Luis Suarez sustained a tear in his right ankle during Sunday night’s La Liga win at the home of Real Betis and Barcelona expect him to be out of action for at least two weeks.
He went off injured against Real Betis after scoring a fine solo goal to make it 3-0 to Barcelona.
Luis pulled one back for Real Betis before Lionel Messi wrapped up the 4-1 win with his hattrick.
The win took Barcelona 10 points clear of nearest challengers Atletico Madrid in the race for the Spanish La Liga title.
Luis Suarez is expected to be fit for the Champions League doubleheader against Manchester United in April.
Ousmane Dembele has a more serious injury after he sustained a hamstring tear during the 5-1 win over Lyon in their Champions League last 16 second leg clash on Wednesday night.
The French World Cup winner is expected to miss both games against Manchester United.
Ronaldo Exit Made La Liga Title Challenge Easy For Barcelona
Barcelona defender Nelson Semedo has revealed that the La Liga exit of Cristiano Ronaldo made the league challenge easy for the Catalans.
Semedo told Portuguese media outlet SIC that the former Manchester United player would have made the La Liga title difficult.
Ronaldo and Barcelona right-back Nelson Semedo are teammates at international level.
Barcelona are the team to beat in the Spanish La Liga at the expense of the likes of Atletico Madrid and arch-rivals Real Madrid.
The Spanish champions have a seven-point lead over Atletico Madrid in second place and a 12-point lead over Real Madrid in third place.
Real Madrid have struggled a great deal following the exit of Cristiano Ronaldo last summer.
The Los Merengues have sacked two coaches this season following the series of poor performances that has seen them crash out of all the three competitions.
Ronaldo joined Real Madrid from Manchester United in 2009 in a then world record deal of £80m.
The 34-year-old spent almost a decade in Madrid before leaving for Italian Serie A champions Juventus at the start of this season.
Real Madrid’s loss has been Juventus’ gain after Ronaldo scored 24 goals in all competitions in his first six months at the club.
Man United Face Favourites Barcelona In UCL Quarters
Premier League giants Manchester United will face favourites Barcelona in the quarterfinals of this season’s UEFA Champions League (UCL) after the draw was held on Friday afternoon.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his players will have to face Barcelona in their bid to win a fourth title after the 1968, 1999 and 2008 triumphs.
Spanish La Liga giants Barcelona are one of the top three favourites to win the Champions League this season alongside Italian champions Juventus and Premier League champions Manchester City.
Manchester United will host Barcelona in what’s the first leg of their last eight tie on the 10th of April.
The game will be played at the Theatre of Dreams before Barcelona take on the Red Devils at the Nou Camp on April 16.
Barcelona sealed their quarterfinal passage earlier this week after they thrashed French club Lyon 5-1 in their second leg clash at the Nou Camp.
Both teams had played a goalless draw in the first leg.
Barcelona skipper Lionel Messi was the hero for the Catalans after he scored two goals and provided two assists to lead his side into the quarterfinals.
Full Quarterfinal Fixtures:
Manchester United vs Barcelona
Ajax Amsterdam vs Juventus
Liverpool vs FC Porto
Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester City
Mane joins Ronaldo, Messi for UEFA Champions League awards battle
Liverpool Sadio Mane has now joined the list of those that have been pencilled down for the UEFA Champions League award ahead.
The Senegal international will now battle Barcelona Lionel Messi and Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo for the UEFA Champions League player of the week.
This is after the starve player bagged a brace against Bayern Munich to help his side with a historic qualification to the Champions League quarterfinals.
Sadio Mane did not only score a brace but he was instrumental in ensuring that his side secures a 3-1 win in Germany after a goalless draw at the Anfield in the first leg of the round of 16.
Lionel Messi of Barcelona was also instrumental for his La Liga outfit’s qualification to the next round as they destroyed Ajax by 6-1 while Cristiano Ronaldo also scored a hat trick against Spanish La Liga outfit Atletico Madrid.
However, all of the four English Premier League clubs, including Man City, Man United, Liverpool and Tottenham have now qualified to the Champions League quarter-finals which speak well of the standard and quality in the league.
However, a draw is expected for the next round with suggestions that two Premier League sides will have to face each other.
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