Video Score: 4 / five
Chelsea boss José Mourinho has revealed that he tried to get Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric a few months ago. The Croatian international moved to Madrid for £ 35 million from Tottenham only two years ago. After a first season of numerous troubles, Modric has established himself as one of the first-team regulars at Madrid. He is vital in the counter-attacking style of football employed by manager Carlo Ancelotti. It was Mourinho who brought Modric to the Santiago Bernabeu.
Interestingly, Chelsea tried to get Modric even when he was at Tottenham. Before moving to Madrid, Chelsea are believed to have made a £ 40 million offer for the midfielder. After rejecting this transfer, Mourinho was able to get the player for £ 35 million next summer. Modric would have been the perfect replacement for Frank Lampard, but Mourinho says that he respects the decision of the 27-year-old. It is now understood that Modric has been the first choice to replace Lampard, but since the player wanted to stay at Madrid, Chelsea went on and signed Cesc Fabregas from Barcelona.
The 27-year-old comes from Barcelona for just £ 28 million and it has all the makes a great transfer. Fabregas, just like Modric, is well experienced when it comes to playing in the Premier League. “I called Modric only privately but he doesn’t want [to join] Chelsea. You know I really appreciate Luka Modric and his qualities. But he stays in Real Madrid,” said Mourinho. After moving to Madrid, the Croatian international has won several major trophies including the Champions League last season. It is understood that he will remain a key part of Carlo Ancelotti’s plan even after the Spanish club brought in the likes of Toni Kroos.
James Rodriguez has also been signed for more than £ 70 million.
Online video Ranking: 4 / five
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Online video Rating: 5 / 5
Athletic Bilbao will be taking on Barcelona and Lionel Messi in the league match this weekend. Ahead of the match, Lionel Messi has come under increasing criticism for his below par performances in the last three outings for Barcelona. The Catalan club have lost the last three matches and as a result of also effectively out of three different competitions. The disastrous week for the club has been compounded by the reports about Messi being unhappy at the club. The 26-year-old has been regarded as the world’s best player for several years now.
He has now gone more than four matches without scoring, which is the worst run of form he has endured since 2011. More than scoring, his performances on the pitch have attracted a lot of criticism. This started in the 1-0 defeat at the hands of Atletico Madrid in the Champions League. Messi famously covered just a kilometre more than the goalkeeper Pinto. Manager Gerardo Martino had come to his rescue by saying that the club wanted to make Messi have less influence on the ball so that he does not become a target for the opposition.
Athletic Bilbao coach Ernesto Valverde has also said that the criticism for Messi in the last few matches has been over the top.
“The thing is that Messi is asked to pull a rabbit out of the hat every game, when he is the most marked man of all, and that’s hard. He is not enjoying the form he had before, but he can unbalance a match at any time,” said the Bilbao manager. The 3-1 win over Real Betis is the only win Barcelona have got in the last five matches. Failure to win against Bilbao at home will effectively ended the slim title hopes that they have at the moment.
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While it might be true that Barcelona has one of the most potent attacking forces in all of Europe which is leaded then who other than the 4 times Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi, the same cannot be said for their defence which has been a topic of criticism throughout these modern times.
The lack of options that Martino has at his disposal has even forced Adriano on being placed as a makeshift defender and even though Bartra and Montoya have been playing rather well in the Spanish league, it comes into doubt if they can perform accordingly when the Champions League arrives and they will have to play against some of the best squads in Europe.
It is no surprise why Barcelona is still in search of someone that can truly fit in the gap that was left by Puyol. Pique can be considered to be the best defender that Martino has at his disposal but even he has shown signs of inconsistency.
Chelsea’s David Luiz is a player that has been in superb form and has the qualities of not only being deployed a centre back but can also blast upfront with his quick sprints and deliver powerful shots upfront.
The Brazilian is wanted not only by Barcelona but also PSG who are looking for someone that can replace Alex as he is expected to leave the French club at the end of current season. PSG is willing to offer €21 million for the Brazilian defender of Chelsea and this means that Barcelona will have to make an improved offer if they even want to compete and have a chance on signing David Luiz from the Premier League.