Barcelona have been host to a plethora of good news over the week, with more to come as the presidential elections set to get underway tomorrow. If that was not enough, CONMEBOL, the South American football association have postponed World Cup qualifiers that were set to take place in March for the 2022 tournament. This decision comes on the back of safety concerns regarding the Coronavirus.
In the past, Barça have enjoyed the services of several legendary South American talents, including the likes of Neymar, Luis Suarez, Arthur, Dani Alves, Rafinha, Adriano, among several others. The quantity has gone down, but the club still hosts Lionel Messi, Ronald Araujo, Philippe Coutinho, and Matheus Fernandes in their squad.
The postponement of said qualifiers will especially please Araujo and Messi. While the latter has been playing continually without rest for over a decade, and is quite used to the same, the former has had a breakthrough season for Barcelona, albeit with a few injury obstacles across the way. The Uruguayan has picked up four injuries this season, two of which have come to his ankle in the past month alone.
Thankfully, these have been labelled as sprains without any future impact. Any rest to his ankle right now will be of great help to a team where defenders have been underperforming for one reason or another. Araujo was the rock at the back for Barça this season, but has not been able to constantly display his ability at one point.
For Leo, well, at 33, any form of rest from travelling, or not playing in insane altitude will be greatly appreciated. The man has been leading Argentina and Barcelona since the dawn of his career, but the pressure mounted on him right now is greater than ever owing to his contract renewal. In fact, the last time, he visited Argentina, there was an entirely new magazine of controversy with his name courtesy of Antoine Griezmann’s uncle/ex-agent.
This March would have been the chance to see Messi go head-to-head with Araujo, who has spoken in the past about defending against the six-time Ballon d’Or winner. La Albiceleste were also going to face a Neymar-led Brazil, but both fixtures will be rescheduled by CONMEBOL in the near future.
Source: Samuel Marsden
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.