Suarez rejected better offers to join Barcelona, says Bartomeu

The Blaugrana president says the club made a move for the player before the World Cup and described Lionel Messi’s value to the Camp Nou side as “limitless”

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu claims Luis Suarez turned down more lucrative offers in favour of joining the Spanish giants.

Suarez joined the Blaugrana for close to €88 million shortly after Uruguay’s exit from the World Cup this summer following a three-and-a-half-year spell with Liverpool.

Bartomeu has revealed Barca first made contact with the player prior to the tournament in Brazil and says the Premier League player of the year in 2013-14 had received better financial offers from other clubs.

“Barcelona made first contact with the player before the World Cup. I told him he was at the right age and experience to take the plunge,” he told CNN.

“We knew many years ago that Suarez loves our club, that he loves the city. As such, everything was perfect to accept Luis Suarez.

“We knew he had better offers, but Suarez decided to come to Barcelona.”

Suarez incurred a four-month ban from football for biting Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup but Bartomeu insists the incident did not make them doubt whether to push through with the deal.

“No, it did not make us reconsider and we told him that after the incident. He knows it was wrong, he accepted it was wrong and apologised, and that was very important for us,” he said.

Bartomeu then went on to describe Lionel Messi as invaluable to Barca due to the example he sets to other young players at La Masia.

“Messi represents more than goals and trophies. He represents the spirit of a young player who arrives at La Masia and grows at our club,” he said.

“The value of Messi to the club is limitless.”

Finally, Bartomeu claims he himself learned a significant amount from former coach Pep Guardiola and hinted that the current Bayern Munich boss could be among a number of ex-Barca players who could consider returning to the club in the coming years.

“I’ve learned a lot from Pep Guardiola. He’s a genius. People who carry Barca in their heart come back to help the club.

“After 2022, many of the players who are here now, or are at other clubs, will come back as coaches, sporting directors, presidents because, at the end of the day, we’re one big family.”

Bayern reach agreement with Liverpool for Reina

Club chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has confirmed the German champions have settled on a fee to bring the Spain international to the Allianz Arena

Bayern Munich have reached an agreement with Liverpool for the signing of Pepe Reina, chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has confirmed.

Reports emerged on Tuesday that the Spain international – who spent last season on loan at Napoli – was in negotiations to join Pep Guardiola’s German champions and Rummenigge has now revealed the two clubs have settled on a fee for the goalkeeper.

“We have reached an agreement with Reina and Liverpool. [Technical director] Michael Reschke could prepare a few things back home while we were in the USA,” the Bayern boss told Bild.

“Reina is an established and experienced player who fits the profile of the technical staff,” he later added via the club’s official website.

Reina is expected to serve as back-up to Manuel Neuer at Bayern, who have become short on goalkeepers following the elbow injury suffered by veteran Tom Starke.

Reina was Rafa Benitez’s No.1 choice last season as Napoli clinched third place in Serie A and the Coppa Italia, after the Liverpool shot-stopper left Anfield for first-team football following the arrival of Simon Mignolet.

The player himself stated at the end of last month that he intended to see out the remaining two years of his contract with the Reds, specifically after Benitez had conceded that Napoli could not afford to sign him on a permanent deal.

Reina’s fee is reportedly around the €3 million mark, with the former Barcelona man set to reunite with Guardiola following their spell together as players at Camp Nou.

He is due for a medical and to sign his contract in the coming days.

Guardiola: I'm not trying to turn Bayern Munich into Barcelona

The Catalan coach has denied attempting to force his players at the Allianz Arena to adapt to his footballing philosophy, insisting that he is not married to a set system or style

Pep Guardiola has dismissed the suggestion that he is trying to transform Bayern Munich into a German version of his all-conquering Barcelona side.

The Catalan coach won three Liga titles, two Champions Leagues, two World Club Cups and two Copa del Reys during his four-year spell at Camp Nou between 2008 and 2012, utilising a brand of possessional football that revolutionised the game.

However, even though Guardiola won a domestic double in his first season at Bayern, he was heavily criticised after their Champions League semi-final elimination at the hands of Real Madrid for allegedly attempting to implement tiki-taka at the Allianz Arena – a charge he flatly denies.

“I have to adapt to my players, I can’t play like I want,” the former Spain international told reporters on his club’s pre-season tour of America.

“Of course, I have an idea, but I have to know when we talk about the tactics first of all we have to talk about the skills of our players.

“We can’t talk about the tactics without the skills of my players; that is the most important thing: to analyse their talent, their mentality and after to make an agreement together so in that way it is the best for the team and for these players.

“I have to persuade them how is the best to play our football, but I have to adapt because I’m not here to change their mentality.

“I’m not here to change the culture of Bayern Munich or the German mentality and I have to learn to adapt to each other and in the same way to look forward.”

Kuba plays down loss of Lewandowski for Dortmund

The striker has swapped Signal Iduna Park for the Allianz Arena this summer but his fellow Pole does not feel the 25-year-old will be missed by BVB

Borussia Dortmund winger Jakub Blaszczykowski has played down the significance of the loss of Robert Lewandowski to Bayern Munich.

Lewandowski announced in January that he would be departing for the Allianz Arena upon the expiration of his BVB contract this summer and he has wasted little time in impressing his new employers in pre-season.

However, Blaszczykowski insists that Dortmund, who have moved to cushion the blow of Lewandowski’s exit by signing forwards Ciro Immobile and Adrian Ramos, can cope without the top scorer in the Bundesliga last season.

“It’s normal in this business that some top players leave but Borussia still lives on because new good players arrive,” he told Kicker.

“Everyone decides for themselves what is right for him. Nuri Sahin, Shinji Kagawa, Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski now have left Dortmund but Borussia but still lives on, because every year good new players have come.

“We will be helping Adrian Ramos, Ciro Immobile, Matthias Ginter and Ji so that they can be integrated quickly and we find ourselves as a team.”

Blaszczykowski, of course, has been out of action since January with cruciate ligament damage but he is confident of soon being in a position to help BVB reclaim the Bundesliga title from Bayern.

“I feel good. Although I’m still not completely pain free, I realise that it will get better by the day in training,” he added.

“I am pleased with how [the recovery] has developed and I am glad that it will not take a long time.”

'Forget Messi and Ronaldo – kids should copy Muller' – Henry

The former France international believes the World Cup winner and Bayern Munich team-mate Franck Ribery are two perfect player role models in the modern game

Former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry thinks Germany forward Thomas Muller is the perfect role model in modern football.

Muller was one of the stars of this summer’s World Cup as Joachim Low’s side lifted the trophy in Brazil having overcome Lionel Messi’s Argentina in the final.

Henry, now with the New York Red Bulls, is part of the Major League Soccer All-Star team set to face Bayern Munich this week, and he believes the forward does not get the recognition he deserves due to the presence of football’s “freak” talents of Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

“Stepovers, tricks, that’s not the game,” Henry told a press conference. “The game is what Thomas Muller is doing. If I had a son right now, playing, I would say to him ‘look at them, look at [Franck] Ribery, look at Muller.’

“What Ronaldo does, and Messi, they’re just freaks. Don’t try to copy those guys. You can copy from Ribery, you can copy from Thomas Muller.

“What he did at the World Cup, people don’t talk about it. They don’t talk about it, but they should talk about it. He plays the game the right way: he defends, he attacks, he controls the ball when he has to control it, he reverses when he has to reverse it. When he has to finish, he’ll finish.

“He doesn’t do stepovers, but when he has to perform, he performs. He does what the game asks him to do.”

The MLS All-Stars face Bayern at Providence Park on Thursday at 03:00 CET.