Luis Suarez to Serve Two-Match Ban after Barcelona’s Appeal is Rejected

Luis Suarez will miss the Copa del Rey final on May 27, after Barcelona’s appeal against his sending off  during their 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid on Tuesday  was thrown out.

Suarez has also been handed a two-game ban by the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), for his actions after being sent off in the final minute of the game. This means he will miss the final and also the first game of Spain’s domestic cup competition next season.

Referee Jesus Gil Manzano wrote in his report, that Suarez was sent off for throwing his arm in Koke’s direction after he received a yellow card for a foul on Juanfran.

He also wrote that Suarez delayed his exit from the pitch, ignoring repeated warnings from the officials and then refused to leave the tunnel area when asked to do so by the fourth official.

The Uruguay striker was the third player sent off against Atletico Madrid, after Sergi Roberto and Yannick Carrasco also saw red.

However, Sergio Busquests’ yellow card for kicking the ball away, has been rescinde

Barcelona Ready to Make Coutinho their Number One Summer Target

Barcelona are ready to ramp up their interest in Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho – and are looking to land him for £65million.

That is according to Spanish newspaper Sport, who have put the Brazilian on their front page with Barca reportedly lining up a bid.

The report comes just the following morning after Coutinho and Barcelona forward Neymar combined to lead Brazil tao a 3-0 win over fierce rivals Argentina.

It has been suggested that the Reds playmaker’s long-standing friendship with compatriot Neymar, who has recently committed his future to Barca, could be key to luring him to the Nou Camp.

Coutinho has emerged as arguably the best player in the Premier League this season, scoring five goals in 11 appearances, which has helped fire Liverpool to the top of the table.

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp is desperate not to sell the Brazilian Magician, but Barca have now firmly made him their number priority for the next summer transfer window.

It is claimed the Catalan club believe a fee of around €75m – £65m at the current exchange rate – would be enough to land him, although Liverpool will surely hold out for much more given the player’s importance and star quality.

However, Barcelona are not the only Spanish giants hopeful of landing the former Inter Milan man, with their bitter rivals Real Madrid also keeping close tabs on the situation.

Eden Hazard Eyes Ballon d’Or Award

Chelsea playmaker, Eden Hazard, has admitted that he wants to win the Ballon d’Or prize next year.

The Belgian’s form dipped dramatically, after he won the PFA Player of the Year award, as the Blues clinched the Premier League title in 2014/2015 season.

Hazard has rediscovered his form under Antonio Conte and scored twice, as Chelsea hammered Everton 5-0 on Saturday .

The brace took his Premier League tally to seven goals in 11 matches this term, having only netted four times in 2015-16.

“Last season I was not good, so for me it was normal that I was not on the list,” Hazard said.

“But I want to come back on the list, and give everything to be on the list, not to be in the top 23 but to be in the top five.

“Yes, I want to reach that level.”

“Last season was difficult for me. I tried to be the same player that I was two years ago,” he added.

“But now I am trying to play like when I was a kid. I am enjoying playing now, my position is a bit different from before, I go inside more. It gives me more freedom, and I’m good for the moment.

“Conte has not change a lot, it is just that I have a little bit more freedom when we have the ball and without the ball.

“Because I don’t need to defend against the right-back, because Marcos Alonso is there. I just focus on staying in my position. And when I have the ball I have more freedom and I can go where I want to go, and be decisive.”

Suarez Rules Out Neymar Leaving Barcelona

The former Liverpool striker insists there is no chance of the Brazil international leaving the Spanish champions despite reported interest from Real Madrid and Manchester United

Luis Suarez insists there is no chance of Neymar leaving Barcelona in the summer, despite the mounting speculation over his future.

The Brazil international is currently involved in a protracted wrangle over a new contract which has alerted the likes of Manchester United and even Real Madrid.

The 23-year-old’s situation has been further complicated by the ongoing investigations into alleged fraud and corruption relating to his move to Barcelona in 2013.

But Suarez, speaking after he and Lionel Messi scored all seven goals in the thumping Copa del Rey first leg win over Valencia on Wednesday, dismissed any notion of Neymar swapping Camp Nou for the Bernabeu or the Premier League in the near future.

“I am convinced that Neymar will remain at” Barcelona,” he said.

“The club supports him, and I am sure that he will play here for many years.”

Suarez: “Real Madrid Players Will Not Target Messi’s Knee”

The Uruguay international striker has scored 13 goals in all competitions this season thus far and says that the Argentine will not be unfairly targeted by Real’s defenders

Barcelona striker Luis Suarez does not expect Real Madrid players to target Lionel Messi‘s knee in this weekend’s Clasico.

Messi has been out of action since injuring his knee against Las Palmas in September, but has returned to training ahead of Saturday’s clash at Santiago Bernabeu.

Madrid captain Sergio Ramos is also set to feature despite struggling with a shoulder problem, and Suarez says neither player will be subjected to rough treatment.

“I don’t think anybody will try to hit Sergio Ramos’ shoulder and I do not think anyone will try to hit Messi’s knee either,” Suarez said at a news conference on Wednesday.

“We are colleagues and professionals. Messi has been training with the squad, but it is up to the coach to decide whether he will play.”

Barcelona hold a three-point lead over Madrid at the top of La Liga heading into Saturday’s match, but Suarez does not feel this weekend’s game will be decisive in the title race.

“We have to be happy with our recent performances, because we have been doing a good job without the best player in the world, travelling to the Bernabeu three points clear of Madrid,” the in-form Uruguayan added.

“Games like the Clasico are the ones that are decided by great players, but it will not be decisive in the race for the Liga title.

“There are still a lot of games left and Atletico Madrid also have a role to play.”

Saturday’s match represents a special occasion for Suarez as he returns to the stadium where he made his debut for Barcelona last October.

He continued: “It is always a special feeling to play in a stadium like the Santiago Bernabeu. It is even more special because I made my debut for Barcelona at the Bernabeu.

“Madrid are Madrid. We know what we have to do and we must be very focused right from the start.”

I’ve Taken Over From Suarez As Premier League Villain – Costa

The Spain international feels he has assumed the mantle of the league’s bad guy from the now Barcelona star, voicing concerns over his treatment

Chelsea striker Diego Costa believes he is unfairly treated by some in England and has now taken over the role of Premier League villain from Luis Suarez.

Costa has been the centre of controversy on a number of occasions during his time in London – most recently earning a three-match ban for his clash with Laurent Koscielny in last month’s derby with Arsenal.

The 27-year-old also tangled with Gabriel, attracting criticism from Arsene Wenger and sections of the media, and Costa has now echoed complaints made by ex-Liverpool man Suarez before his move to Spain.

“I think Luis Suarez left this country because of how he was treated and made out to be the bad guy,” he told the London Evening Standard.

“Do I feel like I have taken his place? That is crystal clear. It is obvious that there are people after me. If you do something wrong and it makes the papers, then okay, that’s fair.

“But when people are after you all of the time, when you’re always the headline that’s not fair. I hope they’re not after me. I hope it’s not the case. I hope it’s something that’s just in my head.”

Costa’s behaviour against Arsenal was branded “unacceptable” by Wenger prior to his ban, with the Brazil-born frontman always ready to make his presence felt among opposition defenders.

“The critics have to carry on what they do but they should always be truthful,” he continued.

“If I do something wrong, I am the first one to accept the criticism, I have no problem with that.

“For example, my behaviour in the game against Arsenal [where he earned his ban for raising his hands towards Koscielny] was not the best. I know that, but it was not just me. There was someone else involved.

“Many, many times I get kicked, I get elbowed – that’s part of football. It happens on the pitch but I never complain. Football is a contact sport and people have to understand they can’t change it into theatre.

“Football has always been a contact sport, these things have always happened. But we are professionals and what happens on the pitch stays on the pitch. So after the game it’s all good.

“But if I keep getting banned for three games, it’s going to be hard to maintain my level.”

Pedro: I Won’t Be Missed At Barcelona

The new Chelsea signing believes Luis Enrique’s squad boasts more than enough quality to cope without him and admits facing them would be difficult

New Chelsea signing Pedro does not believe he will be missed at Barcelona due to his former club’s quality within the team.

The Spain international enjoyed a memorable debut for the Blues when he scored in the 3-2 victory over West Brom after completing his transfer from the European champions last week, having grown tired of a role among the substitutes at Camp Nou.

Speaking at a farewell press conference, the 28-year-old claimed he never thought the time would come to leave Barca but accepts his absence will not be keenly felt.

“At the start it felt strange to wear the Chelsea shirt, because I had never imagined I would leave Barca,” Pedro said.

“I’m going with my head held high. I have always given my best, in every game and every training session. But I’m happy with what I have achieved and everything I have learned from my team-mates.

“I don’t think the team will miss me as there are great players here. I will miss them though, that’s the sad part.”

Pedro lifted five Liga titles and three Champions Leagues in a glittering career at Camp Nou but he was reticent to name a favourite moment.

“There are many [great memories]; it’s hard to single out one. I have shared so many great times with some great players,” he said.

The Tenerife-born forward also underlined that the Barca board were eager for him to stay at the club, before admitting that facing his old team-mates would be an unwelcome feeling.

“The board and the staff at Barcelona insisted that I stay, and for that I thank them,” Pedro added.

“I prefer not to return to the Camp Nou wearing another shirt. It would be strange. But if that’s what destiny holds…”

I Was Right To Leave Liverpool For Barcelona, Admits Suarez

The former Reds striker left the club last summer and, after winning four major honours since his arrival at Camp Nou, he is sure that he made the correct choice to move to Spain

Luis Suarez says that winning the treble in his first season at Barcelona more than justified his decision to leave Liverpool last summer.

Suarez made the switch from Anfield to Camp Nou last August and was immediately rewarded with silverware as Barca swept the board last term.

Luis Enrique’s side added the Uefa Super Cup to their bulging trophy cabinet on Tuesday, meaning Suarez has now won four major honours in a little over 12 months at the club – a feat that convinced the Uruguayan a move away from Anfield was definitely the right option.

Speaking to Sport360, Suarez revealed: “It was the right decision [to sign for Barca].”

“Winning trophies was a part of my decision in joining Barcelona, but also as a family we knew it was the right decision even before I won a trophy.

“I am very happy at Barcelona – I am at the best club in the world.

“It couldn’t have gone better, to achieve what we did in my first season was a dream.”

And Suarez is eager to replicate last season’s success.

He added: “If you look at some of the players here they have won trophies season after season, and that is my aim now.

“We enjoyed our moment last season, but now it is about a new challenge.”

Neymar Deserves Uefa Award Over Ronaldo – Luis Enrique

The Barcelona boss argued that the top three places in the Best Player in Europe gong should go to his all-star forward line and talked up the threat posed by Supercopa rivals Athletico madrid

 

Barcelona head coach Luis Enrique believes that Neymar was more deserving of a place in the top three of the Uefa Best Player in Europe award than Cristiano Ronaldo.

The governing body announced on Wednesday that the Real Madrid star would be on the podium alongside Barca stars Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi.

However, the former Celta Vigo boss believes the Brazilian forward would have been a better choice than the Portuguese attacker, following his exploits in Barca’s treble-winning campaign.

“Who decided that Neymar isn’t one of the candidates for the Uefa trophy?” he asked at a press conference.

“I think it should be Neymar, Messi and Suarez, without a doubt.”

Luis Enrique went on to say that he feels his side are the team to beat in Spain and in Europe as he prepares for the first leg of their Supercopa tie against Athletic Bilbao on Friday.

“The pre-season schedule was set up so we can be the best we can be,” he said. “We have to be competitive from the start of the season and still be the team to beat. I would also say the same in Europe.

“The sextuple is a goal we have in mind and one that motivates us but we are focused on is winning the fifth title first – the sixth is still far away.”

Luis Enrique is expecting a tough game against Athletic and feels the Basques could try to man-mark Lionel Messi.

“Both teams know each other well, it [man-marking Messi] may be an option, but there are others,” said the former Camp Nou midfielder.

“They press very well and always make things difficult for their opponents. It will be an uncomfortable match and it will only be resolved over the two games.”