The Hard Tackle takes a look at some of the key stories regarding Barcelona from the day.
Here’s a roundup of everything happening in and around Camp Nou.
Neymar weighs in on Messi’s contract situation
Barcelona forward Neymar has had his say on teammate and the team’s talisman Lionel Messi’s contract situation, insisting that he’s confident that the Argentinian will soon sign a new deal with the Blaugrana despite rampant speculations surrounding him at the moment.
As reported by ESPN FC, Neymar told reporters: “We hope that Messi will stay in Barcelona with us. I expect that he will sign a new deal soon.” The Brazil international’s views echoed those of club president Josep-Maria Bartomeu who also added that the club is yet to enter negotiations over a new contract with the Argentina captain.
Messi’s current contract expires in 18 months. However, several reports have claimed that Messi might be open to a move away from Camp Nou and could refuse to extend his current contract. It remains to be seen how this intriguing saga surrounding the magical forward unfolds in the coming months.
Neymar’s views on winning the Ballon d’Or in the future
Meanwhile, Neymar also spoke about the possibility of winning (or not winning) the coveted Ballon d’Or in the future. He claimed that he will be satisfied with his career even if he never won the prize and won’t “kill” himself to win the Golden Ball.
In an interview with La Liga’s official website, Neymar said: “Of course, it is my goal to win the Ballon d’Or, but I am not going to kill myself for it. I want to be happy and I am happy here at Barcelona. It is not a problem if I do not win the Ballon d’Or. I do not play football to win the Ballon d’Or. I play football to be happy, because I love it and want to play football.”
Neymar ended up as fifth in the running to win the Ballon d’Or in 2016, which was eventually won by Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of his teammate Lionel Messi. In the 2016/17 campaign thus far, the 24-year-old has provided four goals and seven assists in 13 La Liga encounters apart from two goals and a record seven assists in the Champions League.
Southampton make a move for Aleix Vidal
According to Spanish newspaper Sport, Premier League club Southampton have made a move for Aleix Vidal with a view to signing the Barcelona misfit in the summer transfer window. The report, however, also added that the Spaniard isn’t keen on a move to the club as the club doesn’t fit his “sporting goals” and he looks for a club playing in Europe.
Vidal joined Barcelona from La Liga rivals Sevilla in the summer of 2015 but was unable to play for the club until the second half of the 2015/16 season owing to the transfer ban that had been imposed on the club.
Vidal though, hasn’t enjoyed a particularly good time at the Catalan club since then, managing just nine outings in La Liga last season. And this season has been even worse as the Spaniard has appeared just thrice for Barcelona, having fallen below Sergi Roberto in the pecking order.
Other Barcelona News
According to reports in Spain, Southampton midfielder Oriol Romeu would be open to a move back to Barcelona if the La Liga champions decided to offer him a deal in the future. The 25-year-old had made his senior Barcelona debut in 2011, before being sold to Chelsea for just €5 million.
Meanwhile, former Barcelona forward Pedro spoke out about the differences in challenges at Chelsea and his former side, claiming that sometimes it was “too easy” to win with the Blaugrana. He also stressed on how the unpredictability and difficulty of the Premier League makes it a tougher challenge.