Jamaica Premier League
Jamaica Premier League
Jamaica Premier League
ICC Test Championship
ICC Test Championship
Real Madrid cannot afford to be complacent despite Barcelona’s early season struggles, defender Dani Carvajal says.
Barca are ninth in LaLiga heading into the November international break, already 11 points behind leaders Real Sociedad and 10 shy of second-placed Madrid.
The Blaugrana are winless in four as a miserable season, which began with Lionel Messi leaving for Paris Saint-Germain, continues at Camp Nou.
Club great Xavi will take charge when the campaign resumes, with Sergi Barjuan having overseen two league matches since Ronald Koeman was sacked.
Xavi, who won 25 major honours in his Barca playing career, said as he was presented this week: “We have to work hard to get back to winning trophies.”
Most commentators expect, at least in the league, silverware will have to wait until next season, but Madrid stalwart Carvajal is not ruling Barca out.
“Far from it,” he told Marca. “We respect all rivals. We are surprised to see Barca so far behind, but no one can rule them out for any title.
“Respect is essential. Teams have better and worse moments, but everything comes out.”
Indeed, Carvajal expects a big impact from Xavi, saying: “It is a safe change. The arrival of a figure like Xavi for Barcelona will fill them with enthusiasm.
“Although he is a rival, I wish him all the luck in the world – not against us – because he is a colleague.”
Paul Pogba’s future at Manchester United has been the subject of widespread speculation.
The 28-year-old midfielder will be out of contract at the end of this season.
Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid are among the sides linked with the World Cup winner.
TOP STORY – JUVE TO PRIORITISE POGBA DEAL
Juventus have made signing Manchester United midfielder Pogba their top priority, reports Calciomercato.
Pogba has regularly been linked with a move away from Old Trafford as he stalls on a new deal with the Red Devils.
The Frenchman spent four years with the Bianconeri from 2012 to 2016 and they are dreaming of his return.
– Mundo Deportivo reports that Roma are leading the way to sign Mexico international Hector Herrera, who is expected to leave Atletico Madrid at the end of this season.
– Milan have swooped in on Newcastle United target Sven Botman and are set to beat them to the Lille defender’s signature, claims Calciomercato.
– Milan midfielder Franck Kessie‘s next destination is becoming more likely, with Barcelona moving closer to sealing a deal for the Ivorian on a free transfer, reports SPORT.
– Fichajes reports that Crystal Palace have enquired with Real Madrid about their asking price for midfielder Dani Ceballos .
– Robert Lewandowski is out of contract in 2023 and wants a new deal with Bayern Munich but no talks have yet taken place, claims Fabrizio Romano.
Barcelona head coach Xavi compared Pedri to Blaugrana legend Andreas Iniesta, while he hailed the performance of Ousmane Dembele against Athletic Bilbao.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s fourth goal in his past two LaLiga appearances put the Catalan side in control against Athletic on Sunday, before a late flurry added deserved gloss to the scoreline.
Substitute Dembele, whose future remains in doubt after failing to agree to an extension on a contract that expires at the end of the season, scored one and assisted two more for substitutes Luuk de Jong and the fit-again Memphis Depay.
With those involvements, Dembele become the first Barca substitute to play a part in at least three goals in a single LaLiga game in the 21st century.
After moving back into LaLiga’s top four with a 4-0 success, Xavi reserved special praise for midfielder Pedri and Dembele.
“How [Pedri] understands the game, it’s wonderful to watch him play,” Xavi told reporters. “He reminds me a lot of Andres Iniesta, I haven’t seen many talents like that.
“I see many scenarios for Dembele, we have seen the Dembele that we want and know he is capable of doing.”
Asked whether the France international will stay at the club, Xavi added: “That is no longer my thing, I have always said that he has been very professional.”
Barca sit level on points with Atletico Madrid, who ran out 2-0 victors against Celta Vigo on Saturday, and moved just one shy of third-placed Real Betis after they fell to Sevilla.
The Blaugrana still boast a game in hand over their fellow top-four contenders and Xavi refused to give up hope on any possible outcome in LaLiga.
“The feelings are getting better and better,” he continued. “The team is training very well, that’s why the results come.
“We have worked very well and it has paid off against a team that has a very good middle and low block and that defended very well.
“Even with the [seven] changes they made, they are a strong team. Putting four goals past Athletic is not easy at all, Marcelino’s teams are always very hard-working and difficult.
“We’re fourth, we’ll go for third, then second and if it reaches us we’ll go for first. You have to be realistic and humble and keep working day by day, nothing more.”
Barca have lost just one of their past 15 top-flight fixtures and will look to continue their impressive run of form when they visit Elche next Sunday.
Luciano Spalletti was delighted to have quietened Napoli’s critics after Fabian Ruiz’s 94th-minute strike saw off Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico and propelled the visitors to the Serie A summit.
After Lorenzo Insigne had opened the scoring, Pedro’s superb late volley looked to have denied Napoli a crucial victory, only for Fabian to curl in a brilliant last-gasp winner to put Spalletti’s men ahead in an enthralling title race.
Napoli’s return of 18 points from their eight league matches in 2022 is the best in Serie A, as they bid for a first Scudetto since the Diego Maradona era, while the late goal condemned Lazio to just their second home defeat of the league campaign.
Spalletti, who joined in with his players’ wild celebrations after the goal, said after the contest Napoli deserved the victory, but he seemed more concerned with quietening those who have criticised his men.
“I think overall the team deserved the victory,” he told DAZN.
“I want to underline that everyone keeps moaning that this team doesn’t have character, it’s soft, it’s sluggish; I want to hear them say that now.
“This team definitely has character. We lost to Barcelona [4-2 in Naples] after getting a result at Camp Nou, it was my fault because I told them to take that approach.
“I see an ugly atmosphere around this team, people trying to say we lack character. I want to see them say that now.
“We got knocked down, we got straight back on our feet again and poured forward to find the winner. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to say this was a deserved victory.”
Fabian has now scored the most goals from outside the box in this Serie A this season, with all six of his strikes coming from range. Moreover, the midfielder has now netted as many goals this term as he did in the 2019-20 and the 2020-21 campaigns combined.
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