Striker Martin Braithwaite was somewhat of a surprise inclusion in the Barcelona teamsheet on Wednesday. The Dane was called up for his first start since the last time Barcelona faced Elche late in January. He rewarded Ronald Koeman’s faith in him with a very solid display.
Braithwaite had a hand in two of Barcelona’s three goals, setting up Lionel Messi’s opener with a wonderful backheel. He then selflessly squared a header across goal for Jordi Alba to cap off the scoring in a 3-0 victory.
The striker had previously managed just one assist as a Barcelona player, but in just under 75 minutes he managed two last night. Antoine Griezmann later came on to replace the 29-year-old.
Barcelona desperately needed the three points in a bid to keep pace with Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid at the top of the La Liga table. The Blaugrana now sit in third with 50 points, two behind Los Blancos and five behind Atleti in first.
Braithwaite spoke to the media following the win, stating his content with his display ahead of vital league match against Sevilla on Saturday.
On the result and team’s performance: “I’m very happy. We had a good game and now it’s time to focus on Saturday’s game against Sevilla.”
On his performance: “I think this is the first time I have given two assists in a game, but I hope it is not the last.”
On assisting his teammates: “I saw Messi and I tried to help him score, as with Alba in the third goal. I feel good giving assists.”
Source: Barça TV+
Report: Barcelona accept defeat in pursuit of Inter Milan striker
According to reports from Corriere della Sera (relayed by SempreInter), Barcelona have now given up on their pursuit of Inter Milan striker, Lautaro Martinez. The 23-year-old has enjoyed a phenomenal season upfront with Romelu Lukaku, and he is a hot prospect in Europe. He has several skills that make him suited to a team like Barça, who have been chasing him for over a year now.
Inter were initially demanding northwards of €100m for the striker before the start of the 20/21 season. With their financial struggles, the Catalan club were unable to cope with their demands. However, the rumours linking Martinez to Barça did not die down in the months that followed. This is due to the Blaugrana’s dire need for a striker.
The Garnet and the Blue have been considering several options, with the Argentinian striker being only one out of a talented bunch including Aguero, Depay, Haaland, and more. Martinez was hotly tipped to join Barça, apparently wanting a union with his fellow Argentine teammate Lionel Messi.
However, with Inter’s meteoric rise to success, and Martinez’ key role in the team, it seems that he is no longer going to leave the club. The Milan based club is head and shoulders above all other teams in the Serie A, and look set to win their first title in eleven years.
The Argentine forward has played a huge part in Inter’s incredible campaign, scoring fifteen and assisting five in 30 matches this league campaign.
Antonio Conte has done a brilliant job with Inter, and he has also developed Martinez into a phenomenal striker; one who can both score goals as well as drop deep and create the play. With his immense pairing with Lukaku and the inevitable success of Inter, it seems impossible that a transfer is on the card for the young striker any time soon.