By DAN KARELL
Since the start of the year, Barcelona have seen their form dip on and off the field.
On the field, the club have lost each of their previous two road matches, first to Real Sociedad and second to Real Valladolid, while off the field the club has dealt with the Neymar transfer tax fiasco. In an interview with the BBC, president Josep Maria Bartomeu even went as far as to say that the Spanish tax authorities claim’s were “embarrassing” for the club.
“It’s embarrassing because we think we are right,” Bartomeu told the BBC. “We think we did things properly, that everything was done in the correct and best way. Barcelona acted in the proper way but if somebody thinks that there is damage to the name of Barcelona then there is damage to be repaired. We are not happy with the situation but we will defend our club very strongly.”
Last month, Barcelona paid €13.5 million to the Spanish authorities over their tax fraud allegations, despite Bartomeu and the club maintaining their innocence and claiming they followed the law. In all, the club have reportedly shelled out €111.7 million in costs pertaining to Neymar’s transfer. The club announced last June that they had spent only €57 million on the Brazilian forward’s transfer.
For Neymar, the season has been mixed with success and disappointment. He’s scored seven goals in 20 La Liga matches but struggled last Saturday against Valladolid following a long trip back from South Africa, where he scored a hat-trick with the Brazilian National Team in a friendly match.
Here are some more stories to kick off your day:
INTER CHASE FOR NEW FORWARDS
With a new owner in tow, it’s no surprise that Inter Milan are ready to open the checkbook this summer.
According to a report in England, Inter Milan are interested in signing Chelsea forward Fernando Torres, and if unsuccessful, then they’ll look to sign Manchester City forward Edin Dzeko. Torres, despite his own struggles at Chelsea, could be too expensive to sign for Inter, making Dzeko a better option for Inter as he heads into the final season of his contract this summer.
Inter Milan are currently in fifth place in Serie A but have struggled overall to score goals this season. Rodrigo Palacio leads the team with 14 goals in all competitions this season and is the only Inter player with double-figure scoring.
COURTOIS COULD BE SOLD FOR €30 MILLION
It’s no surprise that Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is once again subject to plenty of transfer rumors heading into the summer window.
Though he has denied an agreement is in place with any club, the on-loan goalkeeper from Chelsea is currently linked with a move to crosstown rival Real Madrid. If Chelsea were to sell the Belgian international, Diario AS reports that it would take a bid of at least €30 million to allow Chelsea to let him move on.
Courtois joined Chelsea in 2011 and signed a five-year deal, though he’s been on-loan each season at Atletico Madrid. In that time, he’s blossomed into a world-class goalkeeper who is expected to start for his country at the World Cup this summer.
A match between Turkish clubs Fenerbahce and Trabzonspor was abandoned in the first half due to crowd trouble. (REPORT)
Arjen Robben admitted in an interview with Gazzetta Dello Sport that he rejected a move to Juventus via text message. (REPORT)
Despite his club being in second place in the Russian Premier League, Zenit St. Petersburg manager Luciano Spalletti was sacked on Monday. (REPORT)
Everton are looking into re-signing Jack Rodwell from Manchester City after the England international has failed to earn a first-team place since moving to the Etihad Stadium. (REPORT)
The DFL Supercup, contested between the Bundesliga and German Cup champions, is expected to be postponed from it’s current date of August 9 because Bayern Munich, who will almost surely play in it, only return from their tour of the U.S. on August 7. (REPORT)
What do you think of these stories? Do you believe that Barcelona’s stature has taken a hit from the Neymar transfer? Do you think that Inter could sign Fernando Torres? Do you see Courtois moving to Real Madrid?
Share your thoughts below.