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Barcelona call up midfielder Matheus Fernandes for the first time

Udhav Arora

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Photo via Imago

Barcelona confirmed the signing of Matheus Fernandes from Palmeiras for a fee of €7 million + €3 million in variables on the last day of the January transfer window on a four-year contract, with the release clause set at €300 million. The midfielder would join the Barcelona camp after the end of the 2019/20 season.

This transfer was regarded as a sketchy transfer as he was not touted as good enough for a club of the stature of Barcelona. In fact, the Brazilian was barely able to make it off the bench for Real Valladolid during his time with the club on six-month loan stretching from January to July this year.

During those six month, Matheus made only three appearances, registering a total of 166 minutes with starts against Atletico Madrid and Eibar, and a one-minute cameo against Real Betis. He also suffered a hamstring injury during this tenure, ruling him out for four games.

After his arrival to the Catalan capital, Matheus was not even presented as a Barcelona player unlike the signings of Pedri, Fransisco Trincão, Miralem Pjanic, and Sergino Dest. In fact, Matheus did not even participate in the pre-season friendlies as he was ruled out from a hamstring injury.

News surrounded his departure as early as January, without him even getting a chance to play for the club. However, against all odds, Matheus has been included in the squad that will take on Dynamo Kyiv in gameweek four of the UEFA Champions League. This, in all probability, stems from the exclusion of Sergio Busquets – who is injured, and Frenkie de Jong – who has been rested.

Ronald Koeman has named just four central midfielders for the trip to Ukraine, with Miralem Pjanic guaranteed a spot. However, with the lack of any natural defensive midfielders, Koeman might have to readjust his tactics, and field one of Riqui Puig and Carles Aleña in the centre of the pitch as part of the midfield.

Editor-in-Chief. | I have devoted my life to two arts — photography and writing. They say a picture says a thousand words, but my idea is to click it and then write a thousand words about it myself.

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Gerard Pique appoints Eder Sarabia as head coach for his team Andorra

Udhav Arora

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Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

In an interesting turn of events, Barcelona centre-back Gerard Pique has appointed Eder Sarabia as head coach for his team Andorra. Sarabia served as Quique Setien’s assistant during the Spaniard’s six-month tenure at Barcelona ranging from January to August before the coaching staff was sacked for a humiliating exit at the hands of Bayern Munich.

Pique’s Kosmos Holding Group bought Andorra, who operated in the Tercera Division – the Spain’s fourth tier, in December 2018. After raising enough funds, and going on a 22 match unbeaten run, Andorra replaced CF Reus in the Segunda Division B.

After the dismissal of Gabri Garcia following a poor run of form, Nacho Castro was appointed as the head coach. After nearly a year in-charge, on January 18, Andorra announced through a press release that Castro would not be continuing at the club. Three hours later, Eder Sarabia was appointed.

This appointment has come as a surprise to Barcelona fans considering Sarabia’s controversial tenure with the club. The Spaniard had been on the end of several heated discussion with club captain Lionel Messi, with videos releasing of the assistant shouting and cursing at the players during a game against Celta Vigo last season.

Andorra currently sit second in Group III-A of the Segunda Division B, three points clear of Barcelona B. The two are set to meet on 7th February in Round 15 of the third division. The Encamp outfit won the last meeting, held in November 2020, between the two with a goal from Carlos Martinez Rodriguez enough to scrape a 1-0 win through.

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