Gundogan flirts with Barcelona transfer

The midfielder branded the Catalans “a great team” but insists he isn’t hell-bent on ditching Dortmund in 2015 if the right offer isn’t tabled

Borussia Dortmund star Ilkay Gundogan has described Barcelona as a “great team” but revealed he could remain at Signa Iduna Park until 2016.

Reports last month claimed Manchester United had agreed a deal to sign the midfielder this summer, only for BVB to deny that any agreement was in place.

The Germany international’s contract expires next summer but Gundogan says he could still see out his existing deal even if he doesn’t sign new terms, while flirting with Barca.

“Barcelona are a great club, but there are many great clubs out there,” he told SID.

“If I don’t renew my contract that doesn’t mean I won’t stay until 2016. I’m not hell-bent on leaving by force and would be prepared to stay for another year if that suited both sides.

“If not then it is important that my current club gets an appropriate compensation – that’s one of the reasons I extended my contract by one year last season.

The 24-year-old was also asked about the rumours surrounding a move to Manchester United and replied: “I think if they were true, I would know about it.”

Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski have both left Dortmund for Bayern Munich in consecutive summer transfer windows and the player refused to rule out following in their footsteps.

“I cannot say anything right now,” he answered regarding Bayern. “First and foremost the club has to suit me.”

The former Nurnberg man missed almost all of last season with a back problem before returning this term and has scored three goals in 29 appearances in 2014-15.

Messi just like Maradona – Sacchi

The ex-Italy coach believes the Barcelona star is a “true football genius” after his man-of-the-match display on Wednesday night

Arrigo Sacchi says Lionel Messi just like Diego Maradona after watching the Barcelona star’s masterclass in the Champions League win over Bayern Munich.

The 27-year-old scored twice in his side’s 3-0 win in the first leg of their semi-final tie at Camp Nou on Wednesday, before creating Neymar’s goal that effectively decided the tie.

“Messi has overcome a difficult period and has found back his extraordinary form,” Sacchi was quoted as saying by La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“He is a unique and very complete player. He is a lethal finisher, but he is also able to drop into midfield and help the team.

“It is impossible to man-mark someone like him. The entire team and tactics have to be perfect in order to keep him quiet.

“We are looking at a true football genius. He is like Maradona. There is no one around in the game with his abilities.”

The Barcelona forward has netted 53 goals in 51 appearances in all competitions in 2014-15.

Ter Stegen: Barcelona's third goal was an injustice

The German shot stopper feels the final result was a bit harsh on the Bundesliga champions, while he praised Lionel Messi following his sublime display

Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen has stressed his side’s 3-0 Champions League win over Bayern Munich was not as easy as the final score suggests.

Two goals from Lionel Messi and a single Neymar strike in the final 15 minutes of the game helped Luis Enrique’s men to a vital win at Camp Nou in the first leg of their semi-final tie.

However, Ter Stegen has admitted it was not an easy game for Barcelona and feels the final scoreline was harsh on Bayern.

“It wasn’t as easy as the score might suggest,” Ter Stegen was quoted as saying on the official Bayern website.

“We kept going after opening the scoring and made it 2-0, but the third was almost an injustice, hard on Bayern but fantastic for us.

“A 3-0 lead sounds comfortable, but you always have a fight on your hands in Munich. I think the return will be very difficult.”

The German shot stopper then went on to praise Messi following his man-of-the-match performance on Wednesday.

“We regard Messi as the best in the world. It’s great having him in the team.”

Messi: Barcelona were lucky

The Argentina international helped his side to a crucial home-win, but he has acknowledged things could have gone differently had they not had a bit of luck

Lionel Messi has admitted Barcelona were somewhat fortunate in Wednesday’s 3-0 win over Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-final first-leg.

The Argentina captain once again stole the show on his 100th European appearance as his late double set Barca on their way to victory at Camp Nou, before he provided the assist for Neymar’s goal well into stoppage time.

The 27-year-old ‘s performance ruined the homecoming of Bayern coach Pep Guardiola, but the attacker has admitted things could easily have gone differently, before warning that the Bundesliga champions still pose a threat in next week’s return leg at the Allianz Arena.

“We were lucky to score the first goal,” Messi told reporters.

“Then the others came after that in quick succession and we have come away with a great result for the second-leg game, which is just what we wanted.

“Germany will be a tough venue. We have got a great result, but we must now go there and we can’t drop our guard.”

The forward then went on to explain that his jubilant celebration after his first goal was a result of Barca finally finding a way past Bayern.

“It was just my happiness about what the goal meant. We hadn’t been able to score and it was an important goal in the tie.”
 

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Messi guarantees success, says Busquets

The Spain international singled out the Argentine for special praise after Wednesday’s win over Bayern, but has insisted Barcelona cannot afford to start celebrating yet

Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets believes the presence of Lionel Messi is almost a guarantee for success following his virtuoso performance against Bayern Munich at Camp Nou on Wednesday.

The Argentina international scored twice and set up one more to help Barcelona to a 3-0 win in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final and Busquets was in awe of the prolific forward’s display.

“Having Messi in the team guarantees everything,” the midfielder told the official Barcelona website.

“He doesn’t just score goals, he gives assists, he works and wins the ball. He’s the best player in the world.”

Busquets then went on to admit that Barca are in pole position to make it to the final in Berlin, but stressed they cannot afford to take the second leg lightly as Bayern can still cause them trouble.

“We knew we’d have our chances. We had confidence in ourselves. We now know that if we get a goal in Munich then we’ll be in a great position. We’ll approach the game in the Allianz Arena like any other – looking to win. 

“Even though everyone says we’re the favourites, we’ll go step by step because Bayern will know how to cause us problems at home, especially with the coach they’ve got.”