Wednesday Kickoff: Neymar makes Barcelona preseason debut; Man United to make third Fabregas bid; and more

Wednesday Kickoff: Neymar makes Barcelona preseason debut; Man United to make third Fabregas bid; and more

South American Soccer

Wednesday Kickoff: Neymar makes Barcelona preseason debut; Man United to make third Fabregas bid; and more

NeymarBarcelona1-LechiaGdansk (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

Just one day after arriving at Barcelona for the upcoming season, Neymar made his preseason debut for the club.

In a friendly match in Poland against Lechia Gdansk, Neymar came on as a second-half substitute, playing 11 minutes in a 2-2 draw, clearly showing that he was lacking in fitness and physicality after taking the better part of the last month to organize his personal life in his move to Spain.

Lionel Messi, who scored one goal in the match, wasn’t on the field at the same time as Neymar due to starting the match and the Barcelona brass wanting to keep him fresh for later in the season. .

As Neymar and the Barcelona squad return home, he’ll get prepared for his next preseason friendly when he takes on his former club Santos in the Joan Gamper Trophy, set for this Friday at the Camp Nou. After that Barcelona has two matches in east Asia before opening their La Liga season on August 18 against Levante.

Here are some more stories to get your Wednesday started:

MAN UNITED TO OFFER £35 MILLION FOR FABREGAS

After a week of deliberations, Manchester United look to continue their pursuit of Cesc Fabregas.

The English club is reportedly ready to submit an offer of £35 million ($53 million) for the Barcelona midfielder, a fee that would break Man United’s previous transfer record, when they spent £30.75 in 2008 to sign Dimitar Berbatov.

Reports in England state that Fabregas would be interested in playing with his former Arsenal teammate Robin Van Persie at Old Trafford, although the new Barcelona boss Gerardo Martino has made it clear publicly that he would reject any Man United bid.

PSV AND LYON OPEN CHAMPIONS LEAGUE ACCOUNTS WITH WINS

Tuesday marked the start of the third round of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League group stages, where former group stage regular Lyon of Ligue 1 and PSV of the Eredivisie entered.

PSV took a commanding 2-0 lead in their tie with Zulte-Waregem of Belgium, scoring second-half goals through Memphis Depay and Jurgen Locadia to win the match. Former AZ Alkmaar midfielder Adam Maher made his debut in midfield for the Dutch club, starting and playing the full 90 minutes.

Serbian defender Milan Bisevac was the hero for Lyon at the Stade Gerland, heading in the only goal of the match in a 1-0 victory over Grasshopper of the Swiss Super League. France U-20 World Cup winner Samuel Umtiti started in central defense and looked very solid for the French club.

Other results on Tuesday include Zenit St. Petersburg defeating FC Nordsjælland, 1-0, FC Basel defeating Maccabi Tel Aviv, 1-0, Viktoria Plzen defeating Nomme Kalju, 4-0, and Dinamo Zagreb defeating Sheriff Tiraspol, 1-0. The rest of the first leg finishes on Wednesday.

QUICK KICKS

FC Barcelona has reached an agreement with EA Sports and their FIFA video game franchise to become the club’s official video game partner for the next three years. (REPORT)

QPR bad boy Joey Barton, who spent last season on-loan with Marseille, would take a 50 percent pay cut to play at his boyhood favorite club, Everton. (REPORT)

Bayern Munich President Uli Hoeness has officially been charged with tax evasion by the German authorities. (REPORT)

Galatasaray midfielder Wesley Sneijder has been left off the Dutch squad by Louis Van Gaal for their upcoming friendly match on August 14 against Portugal. (REPORT)

Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain, and Ezequiel Lavezzi will lead the line in Argentina’s squad against Italy on August 14 in a friendly. (REPORT)

Former Real Madrid midfielder Fernando Gago has completed a permanent move back to his first ever club, Boca Juniors, in Argentina. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? What did you think of Neymar’s debut? Do you see Man United succeeding in their bid for Fabregas? Do you believe PSV can make it to the next round?

Share your thoughts below.

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