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Late blow for Barcelona as key player ruled out of Copa del Rey clash

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Barcelona head coach Xavi Hernandez has announced his matchday squad for the upcoming Copa del Rey clash against fourth-tier side Barbastro.

The squad sees the return of Inigo Martinez, who has been sidelined due to injury since the start of December. Martinez’s return comes at an opportune moment, considering the upcoming Spanish Super Cup in Riyadh.

In addition to Martinez, several youngsters, including Marc Casado, Pau Cubarsi, Aron Yaakobishvili, Pau Victor, and Hector Fort, have been included in the squad.

However, there is a setback for Barcelona as Alejandro Balde has missed out on the squad. The left-back was unable to train on Saturday and has not recovered in time for the match against Barbastro.

With Joao Cancelo and Marcos Alonso also unavailable due to injury, Barcelona will be without a recognized left-back in their squad for the upcoming match.

Martinez and Cubarsi could potentially fill in at left-back if needed, but this situation presents a challenge for Xavi, especially with the Spanish Super Cup on the horizon.

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Euros

Euro 2024 squads ranked by value with England at £1.29bn [Details]

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Euro 2024 squads ranked by value with England at £1.29bn [Details]

England boasts the most valuable squad at this summer’s Euros, with Gareth Southgate’s team valued at a staggering £1.29 billion.

Despite a disappointing 1-0 loss to Iceland in their final warm-up game at Wembley, England remains the favorite to win the tournament, thanks to their roster of superstar players.

Key names contributing to this high valuation include Harry Kane, Jude Bellingham, Phil Foden, Declan Rice, Cole Palmer, and Bukayo Saka.

Notably, the squad’s value could have been even higher had Southgate included Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish.

England’s squad is worth £250 million more than the next highest, France, which is valued at £1.04 billion. This substantial valuation helps explain why England and France are the top favorites for the tournament.

Following England and France are Portugal with a squad worth £890 million, Spain at £820 million, and hosts Germany rounding out the top five with a valuation of £722 million.

Portugal’s squad features highly valued players like Rafael Leao, Ruben Dias, Bruno Fernandes, Bernardo Silva, and Joao Palhinha, each valued at over £50 million.

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EPL

Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s fresh stance on selling Fernandes after Man Utd contract demand

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Sir Jim Ratcliffe's fresh stance on selling Fernandes after Man Utd contract demand

Sir Jim Ratcliffe and the Manchester United hierarchy are open to offers for Bruno Fernandes as they aim to raise funds and cut wages.

Despite Fernandes’ consistent performance since joining in January 2020, financial pressures are pushing the club to consider his sale. According to the Guardian, Manchester United acknowledges Fernandes’ key role in the squad but needs to inject money back into the team and manage the wage bill.

Fernandes’ agent, Miguel Pinho, has been in discussions with potential buyers, including Bayern Munich. Although Barcelona has been mentioned, their financial issues make them a less likely option.

Fernandes, who currently earns around £220,000 a week, is seeking a contract extension with improved terms, aiming for parity with top earners like Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho. Rashford’s basic salary is approximately £365,000, while Sancho and Casemiro are in the £300,000-a-week bracket. At 29, Fernandes sees his next contract as potentially the most lucrative of his career.

Additionally, Fernandes wants clarity on the club’s direction, especially with the uncertain future of Erik ten Hag, following Manchester United’s worst Premier League season. The potential managerial change could influence several players’ decisions about their futures, including Fernandes, who has emphasized the need for the club to match his ambition.

“I love to step out at Old Trafford more than anything in the world,” Fernandes shared with the Players’ Tribune. “I don’t want to leave. This has always been my ultimate dream. I just want my expectations to fit with the expectations of the club. If you go talk to any fan, they will tell you the same thing. We want to compete for the league. We want to be playing Champions League football. We want to be in cup finals. That is the standard.”

Given their significant market value, both Rashford and Fernandes could be considered for sale if substantial offers come in, especially as Rashford has struggled to maintain top form over the past year.

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BUNDESLIGA

Real Madrid defeat wasteful Dortmund to claim 15th Champions League crown [VIDEO]

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Real Madrid Punish Wasteful Dortmund To Claim 15th Champions League Crown

Real Madrid’s Champions League journey is akin to a high-wire act, where they often appear on the brink of disaster but rarely falter.

Under the guidance of Carlo Ancelotti, who claimed his historic fifth Champions League title, Real Madrid secured their 15th win in the tournament by overcoming Borussia Dortmund with late goals from Dani Carvajal and Vinicius Jr. at Wembley.

As Ancelotti and his players celebrated, hoisting the giant trophy amid pyrotechnics and fireworks, the scene felt familiar.

It echoed the many dramatic victories of Real Madrid in recent years, where they have often left their opponents heartbroken, including the likes of Atletico Madrid and Liverpool.

Dortmund’s disappointment was palpable as they walked past their passionate fans, who had filled Wembley with color and noise.

Real Madrid struggled in the first half, rattled by Dortmund’s pace and intensity under Edin Terzic. They were fortunate to reach half-time on level terms, living on their nerves and luck.

Dortmund’s Karim Adeyemi might question his decision-making when he attempted to dribble around Real’s goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois instead of shooting.

He also missed another opportunity that Courtois saved. Niclas Fullkrug was equally unlucky, seeing his shot rebound off the inside of the post and another powerful header saved by Courtois.

Throughout the match, there was a growing sense of inevitability that Real Madrid would find a way to survive and ultimately prevail, just as they did against Manchester City in the quarter-finals and Bayern Munich in the semi-finals.

Dortmund vs Man Utd Highlights

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